Having a LinkedIn profile in today’s day and age is a must and is expected by employers, recruiters and professionals alike. It’s one of the most valuable and underrated social media apps out there. It’s a way for you to search for jobs, grow your network, connect with other professionals and showcase your work experience. But while you may have a LinkedIn profile already created, I have to ask – are you actually using it to your advantage?
Through my daily interactions on the platform, I’ve realized that so many of my connections aren’t utilizing all of LinkedIn’s incredible features. If you feel you’re one of those people, read on for tips of how you can and why it’s so important!
Treat your LinkedIn As a Version of Your Online Resume
You’ve already put in the work on your resume (and if you need a little help with that, I have a guide just for you!). So why not take advantage of the work you’ve already done and replicate it on your LinkedIn?
I see so many profiles that only have their job title and company, but you should be including your accomplishments and experience under each role on your profile. You can easily copy and paste the bullets on your resume onto your LinkedIn profile! Recruiters agree that they want to see those on your profile.
Make sure to include relevant education, certifications you’ve acquired, volunteer experience as that is able to showcase how well-rounded of potential job candidate you are. If you have a side business or passion project, include those on your profile too! The skills and experience you gain from things you work on outside of work can be admirable and enticing to recruiters.
Maximize Your Photos
I highly recommend including a photo of yourself on your LinkedIn. This should be a no-brainer, but I’ve come across many profiles that don’t even have one. Your photo is ultimately what is going to make the first impression when users land on your profile. Use a quality and professional photo of yourself. Avoid using a selfie as your photo or any photo with an odd background that may appear inappropriate (i.e. a beach, a bar, etc.).
Don’t forget about your cover photo either! Upload a photo that shows your personality and gives more insight into who you are for those who land on your profile. I personally used Canva to create my own, using a photo of some of my favorite things (aka lipstick and a pen of course) and then providing some high-level information about myself. Have some fun with it!
Write a Captivating “About” Section
Your “About” section sits right under your profile photo and job title, so it’s going to likely be the next thing recruiters notice. Utilize this section to your advantage and briefly share high level notes about your experience and accomplishments. I also recommend adding in personal tidbits about yourself to share a bit about who you are beyond your professional profile.
Utilize and Request Recommendations
Recommendations are essentially your online version of references that recruiters can have access to to understand how you’ve worked with others in the past and what they have to say about you. These aren’t necessarily a must, but it’s a nice touch especially when not everyone takes advantage of them. It could help you stand out to recruiters – especially because you know they will be reading them!
Reach out to fellow co-workers or managers and request that they write a recommendation for you and return the favor as a thank you. This has been a great strategy for me as I’ve built up my recommendations on my profile!
Showcase Your Thought Leadership
LinkedIn is a perfect platform for you to showcase your professionalism, expertise and thought leadership. There are two ways to do this:
- Include relevant articles that you’ve published and links to projects that you’ve contributed to under each role you’ve had so you can showcase your work
- Stay top of mind within your network and recruiters by posting relevant articles you find interesting about your industry or posts that you yourself have written
Case in point, a few weeks ago, I shared a link to an article from Harvard Business Review about working from home and shared my thoughts on it. My post ended up going viral, getting re-shared nearly 30 times and receiving over 9,600 views!
Make a Point to Check In Frequently
I’m one of those people who is on LinkedIn just about every day. I like to read updates and articles posted, see people in my network advance in their career, as well as check my messages to answer in a timely manner. How often are you checking in and more importantly, how often are you updating your profile?
Like your resume, make sure you’re updating it when you get a new role or promotion (and updating the dates) or have a new piece of work to share.
I recommend checking in frequently just to keep a pulse of what’s happening on the platform and how you can connect with those in your network and build stronger relationships. Consistently post on your feed and engage with people’s posts and work updates!
Entrepreneurs/Solopreneurs: Create a Company Profile
If you have a side business or a company of your own, it’s beneficial for it to have its own presence on LinkedIn. You can create a company profile, like I did for Lipstick & Ink. This way, users can find more information about your business and you can use that profile to post company updates. Tip: I tag myself in the photos I share on the L&I LinkedIn profile or will re-share a post on my personal profile to increase reach and gain new followers.
Convinced yet on the power of LinkedIn?
Kelly Nash is a Chicago-based writer, career coach, speaker and founder of Lipstick & Ink®. She also works full-time in technology as a Success Manager at Salesforce and has over 10 years of digital marketing experience. Kelly has been featured in Thrive Global, Chicago Tribune, International Association of Women, General Assembly, Salesforce, and SheFactor. She’s fueled by black coffee, sunshine, a good ink pen, and a bold lip.