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How to maximise your LinkedIn profile
As of 2016, LinkedIn, the largest professional network in the world – surpassed 8 million members in Australia. The growing momentum and influence of this online network of professionals reflects a changing professional landscape and drives home the point that a great paper resume and impressive career trajectory is no longer enough – not even for executives.
But neither is simply having a LinkedIn account that you don’t use or update.
Whether you’re a graduate or an executive, it’s important to maximise the potential of the LinkedIn platform to network, engage with existing contacts and outline your expertise to a wide range of connections, acquaintances and possible future employers.
According to LinkedIn research, 80% of LinkedIn members influence business decisions at their companies. Having an active presence on LinkedIn, therefore, gives you access to companies’ decision-makers and a professional audience. It has completely reshaped the game when it comes to networking, and for many professionals, it’s a prerequisite before they’ll consider a new relationship.
What are the benefits of a LinkedIn profile?
LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to create an online brand for yourself. It allows you to make public your work experience, strengths, skills and training where anyone in the professional world, from past colleagues to future employers, can see it.
LinkedIn also ranks highly in Google, so by crafting your LinkedIn page you can control the information that will likely pop up first for your name in search engines. It’s also an important indicator that you are staying current in the social media space and are an active participant in your sector.
By optimising your LinkedIn profile, you increase your visibility to hiring managers and recruiters who now actively use the site to seek appropriate candidates. This is important whether you are seeking new employment or just want to keep your options open and give recruiters a passive invitation to see your credentials, get in touch and perhaps start a relationship.
Here are our top tips for getting the most out of your LinkedIn profile:
Optimise your profile
Make yourself easier to find on LinkedIn by strategically using keywords in your summary. Think about keywords that describe your goals, personal brand, skills and competencies – you can search job descriptions to get some ideas of what kinds of skills and experience people in your industry are looking to hire. This will help you show up in search results for these keywords.
Keep your professional headline concise
Your headline does not have to be your current job title, but it should be concise and steer clear of buzzwords or overused phrases. Make it indicative of your goals and skills, and make sure it covers the qualities you can offer.
Having trouble fitting all that into a short phrase? Check out some other headlines for inspiration, particularly those whose careers you wish to emulate.
Choose a suitable photo
Make sure your photograph is professional and suited to your industry. If you work at an executive level, think twice about uploading your latest sky diving photo.
If you have the resources, hiring a professional to take a nice headshot is a good move. If not, a well-lit head and shoulders picture against a blank background will do the trick. Make sure you look approachable and authoritative – you should be smiling confidently and ideally wearing professional attire.
Keep it updated
The more current your information, the more visible and searchable you are. Update your status if you publish a new article, are featured in the news, change roles or are attending events or conferences. Share relevant articles that provide insights in your industry.
If you’re busy and social media sharing doesn’t come naturally, set regular reminders for yourself to give your page an update once a month. You can also stay active by liking, sharing and commenting on others’ posts.
LinkedIn’s Pulse platform is a great way to share more complex thoughts and ideas in the form of a blog post. This helps create better connections with your existing network and also helps grow your network, as posts may get you noticed from new contacts.
Recommendations from past employers or colleagues give weight to your value proposition. It’s also a testament to your maintenance of good business relations. LinkedIn provides an easy template for asking for recommendations.
Link to appropriate websites
You can include up to three links on your profile. Make sure these link to websites that reinforce your personal brand. This might include your blog, your Twitter account or your current employer’s website.
Share rich content
LinkedIn supports content like slides, PDFs, video and image, so use them to form a full picture of your professional life.
Join relevant groups and answer industry-related questions
Engaging with LinkedIn can help you become a thought leader in your industry. By answering LinkedIn questions or starting groups, you can help foster conversation and become recognised as an industry expert.
Create your own success story by optimising your LinkedIn account and establishing yourself in the world’s largest professional network.
For more advice on how to broaden your career network, check out our career advice blog.
Maximising your LinkedIn profile increases your visibility to hiring managers and opens opportunities to connect with like-minded and similarly skilled individuals.
Things to consider include choosing a suitable photo, writing a compelling headline, securing recommendations, linking to appropriate websites, joining relevant groups and keeping it up-to-date.