Making your LinkedIn profile stand out.
Career Coach and Host of The Job Hunting Podcast writes about the power of LinkedIn and how to use the platform to advance your career.Download Renata's LinkedIn Check-list
Understanding the power of LinkedIn over our careers.
There is no question that in 2021 if you are looking for a "white-collar" job in the corporate, public, or nonprofit sectors, you need to be on LinkedIn.
In addition to the blog below, I'd like to invite you to download my LinkedIn check-list, so that you can review your profile top to bottom.
Linkedin is considered the platform for professional networking and job hunting. Furthermore, with the advent of COVID and many workplaces and coffee shops around the globe still shut down, LinkedIn is the new "High Street". On LinkedIn you can "bump" into a lot of interesting people, reconnect with old classmates, and find out who your future boss will be.
It's also very global in reach. With over 600 million users, it's the only mainstream western social platform that is available worldwide, including China, whereas Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are still out of reach in that country (at the time of publishing).
Here are some statistics that prove the point of maximizing and amplifying your presence on the platform:
- Less than half of people with LinkedIn profiles are actively using the platform. That is, posting links, sharing content, commenting and updating their profiles regularly. This is good news for you if you want to take advantage of LinkedIn to boost your professional connections and reputation.
- Linkedin users are high earners: Data shows that close to 44% of its users in the United States take home an annual salary which is above the national median. It's safe to say we can extrapolate that to other countries as well. So again, if you are in a white-collar profession, this is likely the platform for you to develop your connections and opportunities for work and business.
- Linkedin is excellent for discovering people: Who are the right people to connect in the organization you want to work for? Who are the right recruiters and headhunters for your expertise, and also to do your research before applying for a job (i.e. who was doing the job before you? Who will be your manager and co-workers?). By doing a bit of research, you can easily uncover all of the people listed above.
- Recruiters and hiring managers are heavy users and likely to be on LinkedIn every day. There are on average 14 million jobs advertised on LinkedIn at any one time. And I don't know a single recruiter or head hunter who doesn't rely heavily on LinkedIn to do their jobs - both to advertise roles and search for great candidates.
Despite all of the above, which when we put pen to paper shows the power of the platform over one's career, it's amazing to see how many professionals neglect their profiles and don't take the steps to make the platform work for them, instead of against them.
Linkedin is the new High Street
Imagine LinkedIn is the main business hub in your city. In Melbourne, that would be Collins Street. Imagine you are walking up Collins Street on your way to an important meeting which could have huge repercussions on your career. I'm assuming you would be dressed to impress, and ready to deliver your pitch, yes?
Well, that's how you'd have to be in 2021 when you are on Linkedin. Let's start with the basics:
1. You need a professional photo
The first step to impress on LinkedIn is not dissimilar from the first impression you want to have when you walk into a job interview. So investing in a professional photo is key and LinkedIn data shows it can get your profile 14 times more views than other types of profile pictures. A great photo needs to inspire confidence, convey work experience, and portrait you as a likable person.
I do LinkedIn Audits as a service, and it still surprises me how many excellent professionals have terrible profile photos. I cannot stress enough how important it is for you to find a great picture that shows your best self to your network.
2. Your work experience needs to be meaningful and relatable
A lot of people focus on writing a great headline for their profiles and on having a very inspirational About section. But when you check out their Work Experience section, nothing makes sense. You don't know the organizations they worked for, their job titles are a jumble of acronyms and abbreviations that means nothing. Even a job experience that lists you as a "Project Manager" working for KPMG, would leave me wondering: what area of KPMG? What type of project was this? How big or small? Was it internal or was it for a client? In sum, you have to add a paragraph to explain what you did and make it relatable, so a future employer will look and think "well, we may need this skill/experience" in the future.
In fact, LinkedIn profiles that have detailed work experience have 5 times more connection requests, 8 times more views, and 10 times more messages.
3. You need to be an active participant of the platform
The best way to use LinkedIn is to:
- maintain professional relationships by connecting with people you know,
- find people you may need to contact for business development or professional opportunities and to
- expand your reach and reputation.
The best way to do these things is to share great content on the topics that are aligned with your profession and expertise. This will ensure you are kept "top of mind" of those who already know you, that is, your connections. But most importantly, when they like and comment on your posts, your posts will show up on their connections' feed. And your reach is then many times bigger than your own immediate connections. Just think about that, and feed the LinkedIn algorithm with good content that is great for sharing:
- Have you read a research or business article that will resonate with other professionals? Share it.
- Has anyone in your feed posted a great article, opinion, or story that is related to your expertise? Like and comment on that post.
Pitfalls: be careful when using the platform
Be careful how you use LinkedIn, compared to how you may use other social media platforms. Here are some of the unwritten rules I personally recommend that you follow:
- Don't connect with people you don't know. You can always follow them if you want their content to show up on your feed. If you desperately want to connect, send them a written note explaining why. This is what I recently wrote on a note to Michael, an academic who studies career coaching: "Hi Michael, I read your recent article and loved it, and would be delighted to connect with you and keep in touch. LinkedIn didn't let me connect with you because I don't have your email! Cheers Renata" He accepted and we have been in touch since. My goal is to invite him as a guest on the podcast. A clear exception is if you want to connect with me: I'm giving you my blessing to connect with me, but please send me a note telling me how you found out about me!
- LinkedIn is not social networking: Today I read a post about someone who is really happy she's back on the pool. I'm happy for her, I'd love to go back to my local pool too. But that, in my view, is a post for Facebook. Whatever her professional expertise is, if it's not swimming, it's not LinkedIn material.
- Avoid being kicked out of LinkedIn: I speak from experience - it's a total nightmare. Can you imagine? Last night I watched a video of a woman who has half a million followers on YouTube, who teaches others how to become an Amazon Affiliate. And you guess it? Amazon kicked her out of the program. I related to her so much, as my profile was removed from LinkedIn for one day, just days after I launched my career coaching business. Why? Because I was sending too many messages to my connections, all the same messages, inviting them to subscribe to my newsletter (you should also subscribe, by the way - Click here!). I learned my lesson and I'm now very careful with how I use the platform. Another way you can get in trouble is by making a rude or racist comment. Two days ago I flagged one to LinkedIn. I reflected long and hard before I did so because I know the consequences. But it had to be done. And it's likely that person is now on the outside.
Don't forget to download my LinkedIn Profile Check-List and start working on your profile today.
Remember that I offer LinkedIn Audits and would be delighted to review yours for you. Find out more about my LinkedIn Audit service by Clicking Here.
Ciao for now
Career Strategist | Job Hunting Expert | Host of The Job Hunting Podcast | MD, Pantala Academy
- Mind-Blowing LinkedIn Statistics and Facts (2020), By Maddy Osman • Updated on April 10, 2020
- LinkedIn Stats as of 2020Q1
- 10 Steps for leading in the digital age, Executive Playbook, LinkedIn