Why should you use LinkedIn?
For some, LinkedIn can be a little daunting and a profile on this work-based social media is often left aside until the start of a new job search. But in reality, LinkedIn can offer so much more than just a job page and if used well it can help build and establish your professional brand and reputation outside of your immediate work circle and broaden your network, long before you ever need to use it for a job search.
A few of the key highlights of LinkedIn include:
- Networking. Broadening your professional network is always an asset. This year, more than ever it has been hard to make those introductions and widen your network, but LinkedIn is a great informal opportunity to branch out and make those new acquaintances.
- Business Opportunities. If you are based in a sales or similar based role, LinkedIn can be a fantastic prospective platform, to help make those initial introductions to new clients or customers.
- Opportunity to follow companies or influencers in your industry for the latest insights. Daily updates or posts from key opinion leaders, industry leaders or brands can help keep you up to date with the latest news and developments in your field.
- Join Groups. LinkedIn hosts thousands of brilliant groups were like-minded professionals can connect and discuss news, issues or topics that matter to them. A easy and informal way to branch your professional connections and build your industry awareness.
- Opportunity to build your personal brand. Often your professional reputation is limited to those who have worked with you directly. But by building a successful profile on LinkedIn, it allows others to begin to know and understand what you are about professionally.
- New Career Opportunities. What it is best known for and really a fantastic resource for those who are looking or considering a move. LinkedIn can showcase you current vacancies, allow you to alert others you are looking with profile updates and also give you exposure to hiring managers and recruiters who can find you the next perfect opportunity. However to maximise this potential, build and developed your profile before you need it for just that!
- Research Tool or Learning Opportunity. LinkedIn is fast becoming a relied resource for researching the latest projects, gaining customer insights, and connecting you with the new CPD or online training events available. LinkedIn themselves even offer a paid resource called LinkedIn learning with a Netflix style library of video on all areas of professional development.
What can I do to optimise my LinkedIn profile?
The presentation and content of your profile is a great place to start in building your presence on LinkedIn. If you’re making great progress with networking and sharing content, you want to make sure your profile page captures that detail too, so when people click through to find out more about you, they see the full picture. Areas to ensure you keep up to date are:
- Your Photo (Keep professional, no selfies, group photos, etc. Think what you’d like to have on your company work pass!)
- Make your headline more than just a generic job title – Be specific, or expand on what your title is. For example, here at Noble Futures, our consultants are Recruitment Consultants but with headlines like ‘Animal Related Industries, Specialist Recruitment Consultant,’ it can give people a better picture of what you do. Also, if you are actively/openly seeking work, this can be a great space to let others know you are open to opportunities.
- Your summary is YOUR STORY! This area is your opportunity to let your story and personality shine through beyond a job title. Let people know your hobbies and interests, your family life if you want to share or your values, work ethic etc. This area helps add a little personal interest to your profile.
- Your job roles – Similar to your CV, list your current and previous roles and be proud of the responsibilities and details of each role. Sell yourself here and reflect on how you grew and the targets you achieved in each role.
- Your qualifications & education – Similar to your career history, this is a great chance to sell yourself on any qualifications you’ve worked towards. Be sure to include any you’ve achieved in roles since your main education. Showing how you’ve pushed yourself with top up classes and further education can be a fantastic quality.
- Charity work – be proud of it and show it!
What about connections?
There are a few tips to stick to when it comes to building your connections and the first is don’t be intimidated by others with 500+connections. Keep yours to genuine and authentic connections, choosing quality over quantity, as these connections will be what fills your newsfeed. A healthy Linkedin profile will need you to interact with your connections, so make sure it is full of people who interest you, who inspire you or who you want to see more from.
It can be nerve-wracking to send an invitation to someone you’ve never met but think of it like networking at an event. When building those initial connections or sending out invites to new people, it’s great to personalise an invitation and let people know why you’re reaching out. A fantastic example of an invitation request is
“ Dear… Hope you are well! I’m just reaching out as I saw we share some colleagues/connections/interests, so thought it would be great to connect! Best wishes …”
When people accept, it’s also great to send a quick “thank you for the connection”
Don’t just aspire for more connections, be sure to engage with your current connections too. Interactions, like commenting, sharing, and liking posts all help to build your visibility on others newsfeeds as well as encouraging others to interact when you post, share or create content. So it is a real win win!
LinkedIn Recommendations? What are they and where do I begin?
Think of a recommendation, a little like a reference, however, this one is not just limited to your last two employers on a job application. These recommendations allow people who have worked with you, whether that is as managers, teammates, or even just business partnerships or interactions, to share their feedback and help reinforce the reputation of the great work you do!
When your profile is full of positive recommendations, it is a great step in building your online reputation as well as solidifying your reputation amongst customers and clients as someone they can trust. It can also help in improving your prospects as a potential candidate for any future jobs should recruiters or head hunters be looking at your profile.
How to go about getting them? Don’t be shy. Ask! You’ll be surprised how happy people are to do this small favour for you. It can be a good aim to try and have at least one from each direct manager and a few from your current team members. Don’t forget to reach out to recent clients, business partners you may have collaborated with or past colleagues to help build that recommendation library. Often when asking, it can also help if you let them know you’ll return the favour, and leave a recommendation for them too!
How do I start creating content?
Your first few posts can always seem a little daunting and feel like your talking into the abyss, but invest some time to build your content up and you’ll see it steadily build in interactions and become more natural to do.
An easy place to start is by sharing stories, news, or posts that are relevant to your industry. Make sure rather than just sharing a link, you intro the piece or give your opinion on the news to help make it more personal from you.
When more confident you can start conversations or post open questions! Allow yourself an opinion but make sure you’re willing to hear the other side of the debate and always be respectful.
As we mentioned above, engaging on others’ content will help the algorithms with the newsfeeds to make your content more visible to others too as an active user. Likes and emojis are a good start but it is really always best to leave genuine comments. Share your thoughts, say thank you for sharing or let them know you found that article interesting. Once you start putting content out yourself, you’ll be grateful when those interactions are returned too!
Hashtags. A bit like marmite but on social media platforms like this they can be really valuable. A hashtag can help get your content seen outside of your current connections and help to potentially build your audience and network. As they can be divisive, our best tip is to limit them to no more than 3 to 4 hashtags in a post and if not tagging someone or something directly with the hashtag, then leave the hashtags for the end of your post. Nothing is #quite so unenjoyable #to read as a #sentence full of #hashtags! So ideally keep them for the close of the sentence.. #hashtagmanners
Other positive ways to interact with your connections include congratulating them when you’re notified of their career developments. LinkedIn will create automated newsfeed posts when a connection gets a new promotion, role or they perhaps hit a career milestone with their current employer. Showing these moments of kindness to congratulate someone will continue to help build your positive brand on the platform.
LinkedIn can be a brilliant platform to offer you a chance to develop and grow your network and professional visibility and if you’d like any more advice from the Noble Futures team on how to build your profile or have any career-related questions, we would be very happy to help. You can talk to our consultants on +44 161 820 3510 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org !