8 ways to successfully optimise your LinkedIn profile
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There is an app for all your needs, a website for every job search and a social networking site for keeping up to date with current trends. But social networking has taken a whole new level in the past few years and rather than tweet, poke or upload an excessive amount of photos; LinkedIn takes a new spin on what social networking should be for; after all, it’s all in the name.
Networking is an incredibly important aspect of finding a job and keeping it. Your contacts will be your first point of call when you’re thinking about a change of career or thinking about how best to progress in your chosen field. From becoming an intern to your first entry level position, contacts are vital to career success. LinkedIn benefits all individuals to network on a professional level and find out more about the company you wish to join.
In June 2013, official data reports released from LinkedIn had shown the social networking site to have had 225 million members and growing at an astonishing rate.
So we have put together 8 ways to successfully optimise your LinkedIn profile.
You may be asking yourself why?
Well, your LinkedIn profile is effectively your online CV, so spend a decent amount of time updating it to the best of your ability. Think of it as bypassing the first stage when applying for a job. Rather than submitting your CV to a company of your choice, your CV will become the centre of growing attention. Head-hunters, freelancers and recruitment consultants will have direct access to your skills and expertise and can easily approach you for a job in mind.
With any social network, there are some basic ground rules to success. We have put together a guide to optimising your LinkedIn profile as best as possible; with a few examples of job offers, both fitting to your profile and not.
1. Your picture matters
Your LinkedIn profile is more important than you think. Unlike Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, where your photo has an intention to acquire as many likes as possible, LinkedIn needs to be simple, professional, appropriate and current if possible.
2. Keep it current and up to date
This is your time to shine, so don’t list work experience that is now four or five years old. Employers tend to look at the past two years and what you have been doing since. If you have a gap in employment, ‘beef it up’ and add areas in which it helped you land your dream job. When adding previous and current jobs, make sure you add only what’s relevant. If you’re looking to go into journalism and you used to work in construction, you will need to decide whether it’s relevant. Remember, if it’s up to date, your profile will be easier to find when employers are looking to hire.
3. Make it easy to find you
LinkedIn has a number of features to help people find you. One way you can make it easier, is to join groups and conversations. Groups exist in a number of guises and are specific to a particular industry. The more involved you are, the more visible your profile will become. Members on LinkedIn are thought to share insight and knowledge on more than two million groups. Groups has become a simple way to connect with others and to share your passion for your field.
4. Add links
LinkedIn is a fantastic self-publicising and publishing platform. If you are a blogger or a freelancer, LinkedIn allows you to add links and examples of your work. Not only will your articles be seen by your wider networking community, your connections can be shared, liked and commented on for feedback. You can add a link to your website if you have one and also connect your website’s social media to LinkedIn so anything published on your website is also seen on LinkedIn. Having examples of your work is fundamental when applying for any role and will open a door of opportunity if you are found through a simple Google search.
5. Follow your dream companies
LinkedIn can not only be a gateway to landing your dream job, but you must not forget that it is also a professional network for existing companies. Nothing screams passion more than following your dream companies. LinkedIn is a hub for professional stalking and it is there to be taken advantage of. LinkedIn offers information on companies of your choice; as to how many employees they have, what niche they specialise in and how many connections they have in association.
6. Handpick the right skills
What is so brilliant about LinkedIn is that a previous employer, friend or acquaintance whom you have worked with can endorse your skills and leave a public reference. When endorsing skills and adding the correct skillset, your reader can be reassured that your profile is trustworthy and accurate; which goes a long way in employment. Above all, make sure you are specific about your skills – don’t be too generic as employers have heard it all before.
7. Time to become a detective
According to research, two new members join LinkedIn every second. If you have an upcoming meeting with a client you’ve never met or you have been invited to a job interview, you can never fully prepare for what to expect. LinkedIn’s advanced people searcher enables you to search the database and find commonalities. It becomes easier to avoid any awkward conversations, small talk and above all you will understand their job description.
So do a little bit of digging, because if anything; employers love to know future candidates have torn apart what they do.
8. Time to connect
A good starting point when setting up your LinkedIn profile is to connect with friends and family and any colleagues of past and present. Optimise your connections using your personal email accounts – LinkedIn picks up any email contacts that have been flagged up to have LinkedIn.
It is an unwritten rule that the minimum number of contacts needed for a truly successful profile is 50, so if you don’t have 50, don’t panic as it just means the more your edit and publish, the more likely your profile will show up in sidebars.
So what happens next?
So once you have ticked off all eight areas to develop your LinkedIn profile, you may find job offers will start flooding in. A lot of the time, you will get PR agencies and a hell of a lot of recruitment agencies who have a plethora of job vacancies they must recruit for in a specific period of time. For the agencies, it is purely to hit targets but when looking into a job offer proposed, make sure you really dig deep. Often enough, recruitment agencies trawl through LinkedIn picking up individuals with a profile that matches a criteria; so despite having credentials that fit the bill, you may not like the job offer in question.
What’s more, the opposite may happen. Due to the number of members on LinkedIn, recruitment consultants will approach individuals with jobs that do not fit their criteria of experience at all to fill their quota.
Here are some examples of job offers that may be receiving. Remember, if it doesn’t help your prospects, ignore it. If it does, then your profile is the best it can be. Use your recommendations, experience, skills and connections to optimise your visibility.
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