Social networks are an increasingly important tool for professionals, helping with finding jobs, networking, and remaining up to date on the latest industry trends. It’s no secret that LinkedIn is the go-to for nearly every industry when it comes to professional social networking sites.
According to a 2018 CareerBuilder survey, 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates during the hiring process, with half stating they are less likely to hire a candidate if they can’t find their profile online.
The spread of Covid 19, has further accelerated this trend by restricting physical contact and making online interactions even more important. This post will outline some helpful ways to strengthen your LinkedIn profile and how you can better leverage your existing network.
1) Keep your Private and Professional Social Media Accounts Separate
Social media is generally viewed as being informal and fun; it's easy to blur the lines between your private and professional life online. Including photos of your family and friends can help make you appear more authentic, but be mindful that the record of your actions often outlasts your feeling of fondness towards them.
To stop any unwanted impressions, make your personal social media accounts private and ensure the content posted on them are within the scope of your professional image.
2) Ensure your Image is Consistent and Professional
Having a high quality photo and accurate profile description is the minimum standard for LinkedIn profiles today. Your picture should be a recently taken close up, showing you smiling genuinely and in clothes that you wear to work. Be sure to use the same photo consistently across your LinkedIn profile, emails and other communicational tools you use, as this will make it easier for others to recognize you.
Cover photos are a great way for you to stand out and set your profile's context. Make sure to change the default banner and choose something that you personally resonate with. Also, check the image's specifications as it is common for pictures to be distorted by the LinkedIn's cover photo dimensions.
3) Have Detailed and Specific Descriptions of your Work Experiences
The more detailed a picture your profile paints, the easier it will be for companies and other professionals to understand what makes you different. Ensure you have comprehensively filled out all of your skills and experiences so even those with little industry experience can infer what you’ve done at each of your previous jobs.
4) Be Generous with Recommendations and Skill Endorsements
One of the best ways to increase your profile's believability is to have recommendations from former colleagues and bosses. While it can feel difficult to ask for public declarations of competence, a great way this can be achieved is by providing recommendations and endorsements to those in your network you feel are most deserving. Once completed, you will likely receive expressions of thank you for your recommendations. Depending on your relationship with this person it can present a great opportunity to ask for a recommendation in return.
5) Become Comfortable Sharing your Opinions and Professional Milestones
As with other social media platforms, LinkedIn was made for the sharing of content. Your connections are interested in what's going on in your professional life, and posting often is a great way to prompt connection opportunities. A common hurdle for posting is the tendency to doubt if our posts will add value to the lives of others. While this isn't always the case, developing a sense of confidence in expressing yourself online will increase your potential to add value later on.
6) Share Articles and Posts that you Find Interesting
Not everything you post on LinkedIn has to be your own work. Sharing content relevant to your industry and area of expertise is a great way to provide value to others as you act as a quality filter. Just be sure to know the entirety of content in the posts you share, as these will become an extension of your personal brand.
7) Engage with your Network via Likes and Comments
When you’re not contributing to the LinkedIn community directly, be sure to support others with likes and comments. As well as providing positive feedback for others, this will evoke the need for reciprocity and increase engagement with your own posts.
Having an outstanding LinkedIn profile isn’t a one-time fix. It takes time to build your online presence and needs to be a continual endeavour. Whether you want to develop your personal brand or secure work with a leading organization, having a professional online profile conveys that you are informed and engaged with your industry.
To do this, use these tips above and keep your profile up to date so that when the time comes when you need a solid LinkedIn profile, it will be there for you to use.
Interested in learning how to set goals that really stick? Check out this blog post on SMART Goals.