How to Optimise Your LinkedIn Profile in 20 Steps – Part 2
Updated for 2017/18
This is the second in a 2 part series on How to Optimise Your LinkedIn profile. It is specifically targeted at job seekers but these tips will help anyone wanting to make their profile really stand out. Click on each point for more details.
Marketo.com found that up to 94% of recruiters use LinkedIn to find candidates but only 36% of job seekers are active on LinkedIn. This presents a huge opportunity if you use LinkedIn well and make sure your profile is up to date and well optimised.
If you’re in the market for an IT job, this article will help you stand out to recruiters.
This is true of your LinkedIn status updates. If you add value to your LinkedIn profile by not only publishing posts but by providing commentary on relevant topics, your profile is far more likely to get noticed and then shared with other networks. To increase the number of people viewing your profile, you need to be seen to be someone who can add value to the viewer.
It’s not just about sharing your own writing and blog posts, consider sharing other people’s blog posts, articles, videos and anything else that you think might be useful. Adding your own commentary and insights will ensure that your content is unique and you are not simply plagiarising other people’s work. Curating interesting and useful content is currently considered one of the best ways to get noticed online. i-Scoop describe content curation as being “about aggregating/discovering/gathering relevant content and then sharing or presenting it to audiences in a targeted and optimized way.”
Jeff Bullas recommends you update your LinkedIn status daily with new and interesting information that is both original and curated.
Don’t forget to inform those people whose content you have used so they can also share your post among their networks. Most people love to know that their blog post or content was useful and has been shared. Make sure you give full credit and a link back to the original content.
Make sure that you regularly comment, share and follow people and companies who offer relevant, valuable and useful information and content. By sharing their status updates you will add value to your own networks and gain friends and followers. People are far more likely to share your content if you reciprocate and share theirs.
This is called “building social equity” and is described by Juice Marketing as “sharing useful stuff in an unbiased way, whether it’s your own content or not – builds credibility and something I call “social equity.”
It’s very important to maintain the 80/20 ratio for sharing other people’s content to your own. It is important not to over promote yourself or you may find yourself losing followers.
Social Media Examiner has written a great article that demonstrates how and why this strategy is important. According to Social Media Examiner: “It’s all about becoming a valuable resource. When you can dig up great articles your audience is interested in–regardless of the source–you’ll become more respected and your content will be widely shared”.
Jeff Haden describes LinkedIn groups as informal communities that are generally built around a profession, niche or industry. Joining groups and discussions on LinkedIn is a great way to develop new connections.
It is important to only join groups that are relevant to you and your career. Make sure the groups are going to increase your chances of better networking, connections or understanding of an industry. It is not worth wasting your time (or the group’s) on joining with people who aren’t interested in what you have to offer and vice versa.
A very simple guide that shows you how to search for and join relevant groups can be found here. According to Sirona Consulting, social media recruitment experts, it is worth joining as many relevant groups as possible. You can join up to 50 groups on LinkedIn at the moment.
Apart from the obvious networking advantages of joining groups, it can give you the opportunity to not only look for a job but to build and foster relationships with hiring managers and other HR executives. Because you can message anyone in your group for free, you can use a group as a great way to network and connect with people who could be very useful for your career.
LinkedIn gives space in your profile for any past or current volunteer work you may have done or are currently engaged in. According to a recent survey by LinkedIn, reported by Emily Co, about 41% of professionals consider a candidate’s volunteer work experience when interviewing for a job.
Forbes reports that LinkedIn released the findings of a survey conducted in the US with 2000 professionals and found that, while 89% had experience with volunteer work, only 45% put it on their resume. Considering the number of managers who do look at volunteer work, it is definitely worth including it in your LinkedIn resume.
LinkedIn also provides opportunities to volunteer your “time and talent” to serve on a non profit board of some other type of skills based work. You can also help in online industry based forums where people ask questions and seek the advice of an “expert”. By setting yourself up as an expert in a particular field, you will increase your chances of being found by potential employers and headhunters.
There are a number of reasons to be very specific about your education in your LinkedIn profile.
Let prospective employers know your educational qualifications and attainments. It’s important to be completely honest and don’t embellish your achievements.
LinkedIn can find other connections from your past educational institutions. These people can often be excellent networking connections and may be happy to introduce or recommend you to other colleagues. It is not always easy to gain new connections on LinkedIn, if you have something from your past in common, you might find they can connect you to someone with the perfect job for you.
Forbes discusses why it is so important to stay completely honest when giving your educational background. As they say, you never know when your next interviewer might have gone to the school you’re not being completely honest about.
If you’re wondering how to add, edit or improve your educational profile settings, LinkedIn gives a clear outline of how to do this in just a few steps.
It’s not easy to make new connections on LinkedIn. However, it is recommended to aim to get the maximum published (500). There have been a lot of myths over the years about different features getting unlocked when a person hits 500 connections. This is not the case, the only thing that happens is that your publicly displayed number stops increasing. Hubspot debunks this and other myths about the network.
The best way to request a connection is to make a personalised request. Make sure you tell them who you are, how you know them (did you meet at a conference, meeting or are they a connection with someone you know?), why you are connecting with them (give them a reason to connect with you). Julie Yates discusses the Do’s and Don’ts of asking for new connections on LinkedIn in this article.
It is important to be careful to only try to connect with people you know or you can show some sort of connection with. While you are entitled to try to connect with people whose email address you don’t know, once you have had a number of people hit the “report spam” or “I don’t know this person” you can get put in the “LinkedIn jail house” as Social Media Examiner describes it. Once this happens you will be required to include your email address in every future contact and this can greatly reduce your ability to connect effectively in future.
If you craft a personalised message, do your homework and know a bit about the person and mention who and what you have in common, you should be fine.
Once you are connected, stay connected. Don’t neglect those connections you worked so hard to get. Tech Hive discusses why this is so important. Find out how to become a “super connector” in this Undercover Recruiter article.
Using LinkedIn’s mobile app allows you a lot more freedom to check posts, make connections and update status posts. As Matt Kapko points out, LinkedIn’s figures show that a candidate is 10% more likely to get a job if they apply on the first day it is advertised. Having the LinkedIn mobile app on your smartphone makes it much easier to stay in touch and respond quickly.
Advisor Tech Tips considers the most powerful feature of the LinkedIn mobile app is its calendar. If you are attending an industry meeting or conference, you can sync your “device calendar to incorporate rich LinkedIn profile data about each attendee”. As you can imagine, this can provide a wealth of information and useful content to help you make the most of your time and networking.
LinkedIn has now moved into a mobile based multi app approach and has put an enormous effort into making its platform mobile friendly. NextWeb reports that the mobile app is under continual development to make it even more user friendly and efficient.
Business Insider published an excellent article that discusses all the many ways you should be using the LinkedIn mobile app (but probably aren’t).
With more than 40% of users now accessing the network by mobile devices, if you haven’t downloaded their app, it might be time to think about it and learn how to use it to maximum advantage.
Jordan Sundberg of the Undercover Recruiter says that only 50.5% of LinkedIn users have complete profiles (as defined by the social media network). This means that by ensuring you have a complete and well filled out profile and you keep an updated status and news feed, you will be considered a “power user”. This will increase your chances of being noticed, contacted and endorsed.
By using all the “tips and tricks” available to you, your status as a “power user” will be increased.
Jason Martin gives a list of some of the best ways to become a “power user” in just one hour per week. He suggests taking advantage of some of the extra features on LinkedIn such as advanced search, groups, answers (to showcase your knowledge and give back to the community), events (find out about events in your area that you might be able to join), news and updates.
LinkedIn also allows users to showcase their achievements. This is another great way to show future employers the awards, certifications and other accolades that you may have won over the years.
For a step by step outline of how to add or change your certifications, this article will guide you through.
The Muse gives some great tips for how to show off your accomplishments to make your LinkedIn profile stand out for potential employers.
Any certification is worth mentioning. Digital WPC considers that by providing all forms of accreditation and certification, you will not only show off your achievements but prospective employers can see how these might benefit their business. Consistently updating your profile as you achieve new accreditations keeps your profile fresh and relevant.
Another excellent way to showcase your achievements is to provide work samples. You can provide these in a range of formats, including PDF, image (jpeg, png), video etc. This is one of the best ways to show off your professional achievements. If you’re unsure how to add work samples to your profile, check out this PC World article that walks you through the process.
One of the most important parts of your profile is your summary. William Arruda, in his Forbes article, considers your LinkedIn summary to be the equivalent of a bio. He believes a bio to be the most important powerful personal branding tool you have. According to Arruda,“an effective LinkedIn summary makes people want to know more about you and ultimately connect with you one-on-one, so congruence is critical.” Make sure your online profile matches your real world self.
Your summary gives you the opportunity to show prospective employers what is important to you. If you don’t fill in your summary, the first part of your profile they will see is your experiences section. This does not provide a focus for recruiters or hiring managers. A summary will help point them in the right direction.
Careercast’s article, “5 Essential Tips for a Killer LInkedIn Summary” offers tips for making your summary stand out. By following these pointers, your summary will give employers the impression you want them to have.
Still not sure how to write an awesome summary? Check out these examples of great summaries to make your LinkedIn profile pop.