LinkedIn is one of the fastest-growing social media platforms today with, according to Hootsuite, two professionals joining LinkedIn every second, 3 million American jobs posted every month, and 45% of LinkedIn users in upper management (AKA: vice presidents, directors, and C-suite members).
In case it wasn’t already clear, it’s crucial for young career professionals to be on LinkedIn.
Is your profile holding you back?
Read on for how to make your LinkedIn showcase your best self from top to bottom.
- Your Headline Matters
When recruiters search for your profile, they want your experience and qualifications readily accessible and easy to find. They don’t have time to spend 4 hours scrolling on just your site, and, worse than that, they just won’t. Give recruiters what they need right off the bat by utilizing all 120 characters in your headline. Here’s a great example from FindSpark Founder and CEO, Emily Miethner.
What to Include in the Headline:
- Your role
- Your focus
- What you’ve done in the past
- Keywords you want to be found for
- Extra color (see: “diversity & inclusion champion”)
2. Use Rich Media for Context
LinkedIn offers space to add links to all large explanatory text, so take that opportunity. If you have a personal website or portfolio, attach that link to your bio. Not sure how? Check out this screencast.
This type of “rich media” gives your profile extra context for everything you’re involved in so recruiters and connections don’t have to go searching for each item on their own.
Volunteer experience, licenses and certifications, accomplishments, languages, and publications: all “nice to have,” but not necessary to your profile if you don’t have them. If you have been published or volunteer at your local soup kitchen, definitely add these experiences to your profile. However, if you don’t have these “nice-to-haves,” don’t make stuff up. It will look worse if a recruiter asks you a question in Spanish and you can’t actually respond.
Ask. For. Recs. You won’t regret it. Recommendations enhance your profile by giving a “third party” perspective to recruiters. Proof that others like to work with you encourages recruiters to want to work with you, too. Kind of like endorsements, but better.
5. Speaking of Endorsements…
These are so important. Endorsements give that “third party” perspective that recommendations do, but are more specific and concise. Recruiters are much more likely to scan your “skills & endorsements” section before hitting up your recs.
How do you get endorsements? Endorse others. When LinkedIn asks you if you want to endorse “so-and-so” for “social media,” don’t automatically hit the “x” button. That person will see that you endorsed them, and are way more likely to endorse you for skills. Big bonus.
6. What to Post on Your Feed
Besides the obvious, “I’m so happy to announce my new position at Awesome Company A and I’m excited for what the future holds” update. Think of it as “Professional Facebook.” Yes, your accomplishments are important and should be featured in a post, but your feed can also be home to helpful content in your career-world, interesting articles you read, or even shoutouts to others’ accomplishments. See number 5.
7. Be Helpful, Be Bold.
Is your company hiring? Post the listing on your feed for your network! Your connections will appreciate the opportunity, and your company will appreciate the shoutout.
Are you the one looking for the position? Comment directly on the post so others know you’re interested. The recruiter/position-poster will be impressed by your bold move and are more likely to respond to you!
LinkedIn makes it super easy to find and connect with recruiters or hiring managers, so find their profile after you apply for a job on their company’s site and stick to this follow-up strategy:
9. Always Say “Thank You”
After an event, after an interview, after a phone call, after every time you connect with someone, send them a “thank you” note on LinkedIn. WARNING: Try not to make your note “thank you and please give me a job.” These connections are people too, and they don’t want to feel used as much as you don’t. A simple thank you goes a lot farther than a “thank you, and.”
10. Your Network is the Most Valuable Asset You Will Have Throughout Your Career.
Treat it that way and get your LinkedIn into shape. Here are some actionable goals you can achieve right now: