Chances are someone has searched for you on LinkedIn at least once. Whether you’re marketing, recruiting, building business partnerships or seeking work, LinkedIn is a cost-effective and powerful way for any professional to make connections. Here are some ideas to get your profile noticed on LinkedIn, advice from LinkedIn’s own communications director and tips to help ensure other users view you in the best possible light.
It’s a shop window
LinkedIn is much more than just another place to post your CV. It’s a shop window for you to dress as you wish, according to Ngaire Moyes, LinkedIn’s Senior Director of Corporate Communications for the EMEA region. Draw attention to the highlights, and there’s no need to list every last detail of those dead-end jobs that got you on the ladder.
Identify your target audience, especially if you’re thinking of a campaign such as a job search or a recruitment effort. Design your LinkedIn profile to attract, engage and delight them. Make the most important points up front and make your star qualities shine and sizzle. It’s not a CV so you don’t have to follow structure, form or convention.
Write out loud
Write as you would speak in an interview, not in the more formal language you might use on an application form or CV. Write in the first person and say what I’ve achieved and how I’m doing this, consistently throughout your profile. Unless you regard it as appealing to talk about yourself in the third person, that is.
Hopefully you left any jargon and tired business clichés out of your CV. On LinkedIn, avoid them like the plague. Let your own personality and enthusiasm shine through, and let readers hear your real voice.
A snappy summary and headline is your opportunity to draw new followers and share your enthusiasm. Your work is much more than a job title to you, so share your excitement and tell your story with energy, keeping keywords and search terms in mind as you go. Above all, show your audience, don’t tell them. “I am passionate” and “I am a team player” won’t ring true, but explaining how and why will hit home.
In your own image
Like it or not, your profile is more than ten times more likely to attract viewers if it has a picture of you. Including one is highly recommended, as long as it’s professional, recent and suitably dressed. You’re not going to be working in your wedding dress or beachwear, and it should be you and no-one else. It’s not a social site like Facebook, and your professional audience doesn’t necessarily want to see your family, dogs or bike.
Browsing through LinkedIn, you’ll come across professional-looking headers and cover images that set off a profile without distracting from its content. If you’d like to add one to your profile, find a simple, attractive image on a licence you can use, or recruit some expert help among contacts and friends to help you design one to your specification.
Connect with people
The whole principle of LinkedIn is to make connections. LinkedIn recommend having at least 50 connections, and this should be achievable for most people. Once you have added colleagues, acquaintances and relevant contacts, look up people who fascinate or inspire you in your professional life.
LinkedIn has made networking easier than ever, so reach out to people and groups that interest you, join in discussions and start conversations. You never know where it may lead. But always listen and respond, don’t just treat it as a sales pitch.
Make your skills stand out by asking people for endorsements. These are what make you unique, after all. Remember you are in control. Don’t settle for a vague or irrelevant reference, and remove any that become outdated or don’t match your profile’s focus. Be specific and be demanding, most people will appreciate the guidance and be happy to assist.
Re-use content, while making it your own
Use an existing article or post as a starting point for a discussion. Frame an article with your own reaction and opinion. Start a debate on somebody else’s post. Upcycling is on trend at the minute in online networking as well as crafting. Vital LinkedIn advice here is to be positive, don’t let that stop you disagreeing with somebody but do it respectfully and constructively.
Keep everyone updated
Maintain an active and lively feed, and people will keep coming back and be there for you when you really want their business or their assistance. Statistically, the most effective time to post on LinkedIn is mid-afternoon on a working day, peaking at 3-4 pm on a Tuesday.
Use Private mode to your advantage. Use it considerately. Make your account private while you’re adding skills, updating profile pictures and overhauling your account. That way you’ll avoid flooding your audience’s feeds with updates that will only irritate them.
Think of all the annoying updates and posts you received while on a night out or over the weekend, and just scrolled right past them. Don’t be that guy – keep your audience on side by sharing only the best and most relevant new content with them.
Finishing touches: keywords and your own URL
Identify keywords you would like people to find you with, and make sure they are prominent in your summary, profile and headlines.
People arrive at LinkedIn profiles in many different ways. Most from searching LinkedIn or externally, by following links from connections, but also by typing an internet address. If there’s a URL available matching your name, business name or a specific skill or industry, then even better. It costs nothing and is an improvement on some random numbers.
While the tone of your LinkedIn profile can be conversational, it should never be sloppy. You are trying to open doors. Don’t turn any potential employer, employee, partner or customer away with an avoidable error. Get your content checked over thoroughly (and don’t forget to ask for feedback) by a professional proofreader or knowledgeable friend. Even if you think your grammar and spelling is strong, it’s easy to miss something when your mind is on the goal.