LinkedIn 101: How to Master the Professional Network
Beginning the long and uncertain road to finding new employment is as intimidating as it is thrilling. The prospect of a new city, a new role, or even a complete career 360 can make your stomach churn, but thanks to technology, there’s a clear place to start. LinkedIn is the virtual networking tool we didn’t know we needed, and now it seems like we wouldn’t know how to find a job without it. If you’re trying to land your dream job, step number one should be making yourself attractive to recruiters and employers on your LinkedIn profile.
Make sure that your LinkedIn profile is up to date, that you’re actively engaging on the platform, and that you are strategic about your outreach. We’ve put together a few helpful LinkedIn tips for job seekers that will leave you with a seriously clickable profile and the skills you need to master the site’s networking landscape. Your dream role exists—make these seven profile changes to take your career to the next level.
Nothing quite says carelessness as blatantly as spelling errors do. Make sure to give your complete profile and summary a read-through before you publish so that a) it makes sense and b) there aren’t any glaring spelling or grammar mistakes. Then ask a trusted friend to look over it once more. You can never be too careful when it comes to spell check.
Aim to Share, Not Vent
Share your point of view as it relates to your area of expertise. You want to come across as an engaging, thoughtful professional with a particular point of view. That said, don’t publish rants about annoyances or current events in your field. Your words should be carefully curated, not reactionary.
Create a Home Office
Be Strategic With Your Connections
It’s never a bad idea to accept all the invitations you receive on LinkedIn, but do be careful about when you go on a requesting binge. If you’re in the middle of a career transition or have a lot of updates that you want to make to your profile before directing a lot of traffic to your page, make sure your privacy settings are on. You don’t want to ping the LinkedIn universe every time you make a change. Then, once you’ve finished your important updates, then invite anyone you’d like to connect.
Always check out the competition and the employees at a company you’re considering working for. You can find out a lot about company culture through LinkedIn; for instance, you can get an idea about turnover rates by researching past and present employees. Before you go on a snooping expedition, however, be sure to make yourself “anonymous”—you don’t want to be obvious about your detective work—and generally, avoid looking at the same profiles again and again. This can cause you to look like a stalker, which is never a good idea.
Engage With the Site Regularly
You should never be finished with your LinkedIn profile. Try to add a status update at least once a week. Maybe it’s about something notable that happened in your industry or a summary of your recent blog post. Whatever it is, you want to come across as a highly engaged user on the platform. Also, make sure all your accomplishments are up to date. If you’ve been given a promotion, won an award, or recognized in some way for the quality of your work, don’t be shy. No one will know about it if it’s not on your profile. In this case, bragging is a good thing.
Nail Your Head Shot
First of all, you should always have a head shot. LinkedIn career expert Nicole Williams has seen the same mistakes made over and over again on the social network. One of those mistakes is not having a photo. “You’re seven times more likely to have your profile viewed if you have one,” Williams tells Forbes. “Like a house that’s on sale, the assumption is that if there’s no photo, something’s wrong.” Make sure your head shot is clear and that you are dressed in professional attire or whatever clothes best suit your industry. Cropped photos and images with pets are no-nos.
Self-Promote Across Your Social Platforms
Whenever you write an interesting article on LinkedIn, especially if it’s an engaging piece on a topic relating to your industry, you are boosting your credibility. Make sure to share thoughtful articles to your other social platforms. You may gain followers that are relevant to your career, and those connections are invaluable.