Why Your LinkedIn Presence Matters and How to Enhance Your Profile
On its face, LinkedIn seems quite straightforward. You type in the details of your work experience, post them online and share the page with potential employers. As it turns out, though, the social media site has so much more to offer than a digitized version of your CV.
LinkedIn plays host to approximately 500 million professional pages like yours. With so many users come ample opportunities to widen your network, find new opportunities and further your career, all from the comfort of your computer. Here’s why you should log onto LinkedIn — and how to make your LinkedIn presence as effective as possible.
Why Is LinkedIn Important?
There are plenty of reasons to get on LinkedIn. Here are six:
1. Find a Job
LinkedIn isn’t just for promoting yourself. Plenty of companies use the site’s job boards to advertise their openings. With an updated profile, you can easily click and apply for the right positions.
The website’s job search is easy to use, too. Simply type in the city where you want to work and what you dream of doing. You can set an alert for yourself so that when something fitting opens up, you’ll be the first to know.
On that note, the site also has a button to press signaling to recruiters that you’re looking for new work. Tick the “I’m Interested” button if you’re ready to move on from your current position. You might be wondering how you can alight such a signal while in your current role. Well, LinkedIn has thought ahead on that subject — only recruiters will see that you’re open to new work, so you can discreetly find out what’s out there.
Plus, LinkedIn does more than let you look for a new employer it lets potential employers find you. In fact, 89% of recruiters reported using LinkedIn to secure a new hire.
2. Boost Your Standing on Google
What pops up when you search for yourself on Google? You should know the answer, as this is what potential employers will do when they receive your application.
LinkedIn is a powerful social network, and Google knows this. When you create a LinkedIn page, it will rise to the top of search results for your name. You can use this to your advantage by cultivating a sharp LinkedIn presence to impress recruiters.
3. Uncover Information About a Company Ahead of Time
Sure, an employer can find information about you via LinkedIn — but you can do the same with a few searches of your own. Most companies will have a LinkedIn landing page, which will provide you with more information about the business, its perks and its staff. Peruse the profiles of highlighted employees to get an idea of who’s working there and why. Such information can give you a clearer idea of what company culture’s like.
For a modern-day professional, this insight is probably vital to your job search. Most of today’s workers want to know they’ll fit in with the vibe at their new company.
4. Network Like a Pro
Not everyone likes to network in the traditional sense. LinkedIn makes it easy to meet other professionals and build meaningful connections without small talk or cold calling. Seek people whose career paths mirror what you hope to achieve. Then, send an invitation to connect — but don’t stop there. You might want to offer a favor or service to your new contact to show your value right away. That will open the door to future conversations and a stronger relationship, which might help you down the line.
Don’t just post your resume or look for jobs — rely on LinkedIn to forge new connections, too. With millions registered with the site, you’re sure to find at least a few people whose experience could help your career in some way.
On top of that, LinkedIn allows you to stay connected to people who you’ve already met and with whom you’ve worked previously. Without the site, you might forget your former co-worker’s name or lose their contact info. LinkedIn stands as a modern Rolodex — use its messaging system to reach out to others and maintain relationships down the line.
5. Keep in Touch With the Industry
You don’t just have to connect with people on LinkedIn — you can also follow industry leaders and companies. All the site’s users can post updates on their trials and tribulations, which you’ll see once you log in. The timeline mirrors many other social media sites, but it’s different because it provides valuable information to professionals like you. From the feed of updates, you will find plenty of industry news to keep yourself in the loop. In our ever-changing society, it’s imperative to remain current, and LinkedIn can help you do it.
6. Cultivate Your Brand
What makes you different from the rest of the applicants for a job in your field? Your LinkedIn can easily help you define who you are and what you have to offer. You could, of course, do the same with a personal website. However, maintaining such a page can be equal parts tedious and expensive. On LinkedIn, though, you have a user-friendly platform that allows you to tell employers exactly who you are — and it’s free.
Much of your brand cultivation will come from the information you choose to share on your page. We have plenty of suggestions to come that’ll teach you to do just that.
How Can I Improve My Profile and Presence?
Now that you know why LinkedIn’s important, you’re ready to make a profile. Brush up on these tips to ensure you create the best possible online representation of yourself:
1. Personalize Your Profile Link
Once you create a LinkedIn, the website will give you a generic URL. This sequence will work just fine in directing users to your page. However, you can give your profile a bit of finesse by personalizing the URL so it’s your name or the name of your business. Either way, potential employers or customers will see that you took the time to change such a small detail, thus denoting that you’re focused on making improvements. It’s a small step, but it’s one of many that can instantly elevate your LinkedIn profile.
2. Update Often
Don’t wait until it’s time to find a new job to update your LinkedIn page. Over time, you’re likely to forget all that you’ve accomplished in your current role. Instead, be sure to regularly log into LinkedIn and refresh your page with new accolades. That way, your resume truly reflects all that you have done and hints at what you’ll achieve in the future.
On that note, be critical about what you have previously chosen to use on your page — don’t be afraid to delete outdated information. For example, a recent college graduate might include on their CV a job they held in high school. However, if you’re a 30-something manager, you can cut the part-time job you had as a teen.
3. Add a Professional Picture
One of the biggest mistakes you can make on LinkedIn is foregoing a profile photo. Recruiters want to know that you’re a professional. The words on your resume can help paint a picture, but an image can solidify the fact that you’re a polished and put-together candidate.
Select a shot of yourself that shows you at your most professional. Try to find one where you’re dressed smartly — bonus points if it’s a headshot and not a selfie.
4. Ask for Recommendations
“References available upon request.” You probably have this typed somewhere on your resume. There’s no need to include such a statement on LinkedIn, though. Instead, you can reach out to former bosses or employees and ask them to write a recommendation for your profile.
Resumes and LinkedIn pages have a set of clear differences already. For instance, you might put more detail onto your LinkedIn profile than you would a one-page paper resume. The references section gives LinkedIn a leg up on a traditional resume, too. These testimonials to your work ethic, creativity, productivity and more can paint a clearer picture of who you are as an employee. They can persuade someone to hire you or work with you.
If you’re just starting out in your field, don’t be shy about asking for LinkedIn recommendations. Having people singing your praises on your page can help enhance your presence and improve your chances when you apply for new jobs.
5. Connect Wisely
Don’t say yes to every single invitation you receive on LinkedIn. Instead, sift through the messages you receive and do your research. Make sure you’re connecting with people who have similar experiences and goals as you do. If you work in a client-facing position, be sure you’re not linking up with a customer’s competitor, either — you could lose business with a careless connection.
6. Engage With Others
Once you’ve perfected your LinkedIn page, don’t just leave it to collect proverbial dust. Instead, log on regularly and engage with other users. Share articles and content produced by your company so your network knows what you’re up to. You can comment on other people’s posts as well, congratulating their hard work or contributing to a conversation. These actions will help you fortify your presence on the site — and build connections with new people who engage with your posts.
You might even want to share posts made by your connections with credit to their accounts. Once they see you’ve taken the time to share their work, they might do the same with your posts in the future.
Get LinkedIn and Move Up
LinkedIn is vital to your career, and the way you boost your presence and profile can directly affect your next professional move. Ready to start climbing that career ladder today? Your online resume — and the network looking at it — can help you get to the next level.
This guest post was authored by Alyssa Abel
Alyssa Abel is a college and career writer who offers advice on strategies to success. Read more of her work on her blog, Syllabusy.