LinkedIn is and has become the go to network for professionals within the last few years or so. At one time, I remember referring to it as the “black sheep” of the social networking family. What a transformation. LinkedIn is a bit different from the other social networks (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram). It has a more professional interaction and for good reason since it allows potential employers to see who you are and who you associate with.
I’ll share with you some great tips, advice and observations that have worked for my colleagues and me; things that you may think don’t have a huge impact when they really do. Let’s do this.
Keep a lean network
Who are you?
You are who you hang around…or rather, who’s in your network. LinkedIn does a great job of letting your know your connections by degree as well as who you should connect with. I will say that over the past year, more and more people are requesting to connect with me, yet it seems more like a social thing rather than professional. For the record, you don’t have to accept everyone’s invitation to connect. Be an active accepter/rejecter. This is your network. Just because you’re friends with someone on Facebook doesn’t mean you need to invite that person into your professional space.
Show your face
Your face is the first thing people look at before reading details about you…it’s important. I would even venture to say that people don’t trust profiles without a photo. It may have something to do with spam accounts of the past and present that usually have the avatar set to default. You are not a spam account and you want potential connections to know this.
I can’t tell you how many LinkedIn profiles I’ve seen with the following:
- No profile photo
- A blurry photo
- A dark, poorly lit photo
- A photo with a friend (which one are youuuu?)
- A stretched or distorted photo
C’mon people. If you’re active on LinkedIn, at least have a decent photo up. You don’t have to setup a professional photo shoot (however feel free to email me if you’d like to scheduele one), just have a well-lit, clear, un-stretched photo. The first option is unacceptable. If you’re reading this and you have the default avatar on LinkedIn as your profile photo change it NOW! According to some stats, by having a photo, you increase the likelihood that your profile will be viewed by a whopping 11x more. Not getting any views? This may be the reason…or any of the reasons I just listed.
Endorse, endorse, endorse
After setting up your profile, list some skills that you’re proficient in. Then connect with people you know and ask them to endorse you. An endorsement on LinkedIn is like someone vouching for you. Saying, “Hey, I know Vaughn and he’s good at xyz”. To an employer, the more endorsements you have, the better chance you have at connecting with them and landing that job/contract. In turn, endorse the people in your network too. They will likely return the favor….and so the cycle will continue.
Accurate contact info
Make sure your contact information is clear, concise, and accurate. If you don’t have an email in the form of firstname.lastname@example.org (or some variation), you need to get one as soon as possible. Yes, you can send messages via LinkedIn but this is a digital résumé platform. Make it easy for people to contact you. If they can remember your name, they have a better chance of remembering your email. Call it microbranding.
You want to make sure you have working website links and social media links (go check them now). If someone is even clicking on your links, that’s a good sign so you want to make sure they’re working.
You want to remind people that you’re active and that they have useful people in their networks. To do that, make sure you post articles and other information. You can also like someone’s post as well as comment and share. Be as active as possible if you’re in the market to land a job. Connect with people in your industry that you don’t know personally. This can go a long way as long as you’re not a creep in your intro message. Just quickly state who you are and why you’d like to connect.
Relevant work experience
Don’t go listing every job you ever had. We’ve established that this is a digital résumé. You should only have your last two or three relevant jobs listed along with your role and contributions. People are scanning your profile and they want to see key things jump out at them. Make it easy. If you have no relevant work experience maybe list some projects you’ve helped with or are working on personally. Nothing says initiative like personal projects.
So here’s a rundown of what will make your LinkedIn profile awesome:
- Be selective in who you allow into your network
- A good photo of you and only you
- Clear and accurate contact info
- Profile activity through: posts, likes, and comments
- Relevant work experience
By using these simple things, your profile will get the boost it needs to standout. Make sure you keep connecting with people on and offline!