LinkedIn - Top tips for job hunters, careerists and business owners
By Julian Childs, Career Coach & Business Mentor
- Think of your LinkedIn profile as a next step towards intimacy with someone who has just read your formal CV ... consistent but more informative so that a reader can feel they know you a little better or more personally from considering it.
- If LinkedIn is a high street, then your profile is like an individual shop from which you are selling expertise and experience services under your personal brand. Use your first name and surname as simply as possible and in the same format as on your CV, business card, email address and signatures. Variations confuse.
- Promote your business pitch succinctly next to your name and make it as unique as possible but not inauthentic or unbelievable. Currently mine reads ‘Careers Expert + LinkedIn Marketer + International Connector + Talent Catalyst + Start-Up Advisor’ and at the time of writing is the only one out of over 756 million users in more than 200 countries and territories listed on LinkedIn, which includes tens of thousands of people who describe themselves simply as ‘Career Coach’ or similar.
- Upload a pleasant, friendly, approachable, smart and professional looking photo of yourself. Colour or black and white is fine but do not use holiday snaps, arty poses, cartoons, symbols, company logos or avatars.
- Edit the URL that LinkedIn allocates to you so that it mirrors your name and personal brand. Then copy this detail on your business card, email signature and CV to encourage people to visit your profile. Mine reads www.linkedin.com/in/julianchilds
- The Summary section of your profile allows you to craft, test and communicate a powerful elevator pitch. Use the Specialties sub-section to list your areas of expertise and interest for search engines.
- Write a brief, positively worded description of your responsibilities and achievements in each position along your career path and, if possible, ask your clients and colleagues to enhance each role listed with credible recommendations. Collectively these should paint a positive and consistent picture of you and thus act as a powerful reference. Don’t confuse this with ‘Endorsements’ which lack gravitas and impact.
- Join and follow the ‘Alumni’ groups for everywhere you have studied and/or worked. Monitor these daily for jobs and influential contacts and participate in group discussions to feed your expertise and interview prowess. Similarly, join the largest relevant special interest ‘Groups’ to participate tactically in their discussions and monitor for any vacancies posted there.
- Link the Update box to your Twitter account and use this occasionally to share your views, opinions, inspirational quotes or authoritative articles sourced for relevance from your LinkedIn home page or credible external sources. You can also promote your involvement or attendance at industry events here - and, similarly, you can see more and more people using this facility to upload photos or short punchy videos. You will look better if you create decent content of your own, and not just re- post that of others.
- Frequency of decent quality content is the name of the game and done well, regular updates can make you look expert and raise your profile. By the same token, be mindful and careful not to look silly by posting inaccurately, clumsily, inappropriately or so often that you bore readers.
- Identify people you would like to connect with and personalise the template invitation message to introduce and contextualise your interest. If you do not already know them, perhaps start by following their activity for a few days and comment intelligently in the discussion threads under their posts to get onto their radar and seed your later approach.
- Research target companies via the search bar, then ‘Follow’ for news and contacts in those you want to apply to. A company’s LinkedIn page also shows you who “people also viewed” which is a fast way to identify and begin to follow their competitors.
- Using the search bar, enter an ideal job title and company to identify relevant vacancies. Then see if you already have or could readily create any connections inside the firm to chat with before you apply. You never know but this could trigger a personal referral that effectively puts you ahead of any lesser known candidates being considered for the job.
- Use the search bar to reveal people with your ideal job title, organisation and location. Their profiles will indicate how they got there and identify any friends in common. Ask your mutual acquaintance to introduce you, then arrange an informational interview perhaps using the REVEAL method that features in John Lees’ excellent book “How to Get A Job You Love”. This technique is brilliant for establishing useful allies inside target organisations and can win you fast access to decision-makers and success in the elusive hidden / unadvertised job market.
- LinkedIn’s “Help Center” page (U.S. spelling) can answer most questions about LinkedIn. Typing “use LinkedIn to...(insert your query)” on YouTube can introduce you to many more tricks too.
About the author
I am a seasoned Career Coach & Business Advisor.
I wrote these tips for the best-selling careers book, “How To Get A Job You Love” by John Lees, available from Amazon and good book shops. They are reproduced and shared here, slightly edited, with his permission.
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