How to get the most out of your LinkedIn profile.
It’s no secret: Whether you’re looking for employment or to expand your network, LinkedIn is arguably your best bet when it comes to online professional development. But with its myriad of tools and functionalities, it can often be a daunting task to figure out how best to navigate the platform and its services. We’ve taken some of the grunt work out of your search and narrowed down a list of the top five ways to best optimize your LinkedIn presence and properly manage your professional identity.
Put your best foot forward
Put the time into it that it deserves. It is, after all, your online resume. Here are some tips on what to include:
- Industry and location
- A Current position
- Two past positions
- Education information
- A Minimum of three skills
- At At least 50 connections
- A Professional profile picture (no keg stands or bathroom selfies!)
Remember you’re more than just the jobs you’ve held
If someone asked you to describe yourself, would you only list your job history? What you do out of the office says as much about you as anything else and also contributes to a higher search ranking. List interests, awards, volunteer experience, organizations and causes you care about. According to LinkedIn, 42 percent of hiring managers surveyed said they view volunteer experience equal to formal work experience.
Get your group on
Only 16 percent of LinkedIn members are in the maximum number of groups allowed (50). Find groups related to your industry then join them and, if at all possible, be an active participant in two or three of them. This will get your profile noticed by other industry contacts. According to LinkedIn, your profile is five times more likely to be viewed if you join and are active in groups. Just be careful not to sell yourself or your services in your interactions; the group is about the community, not you.
Bonus: If you’re a member of the same group as another user, you can bypass the need to be a first-degree connection in order to message them. In addition, group members are also able to view the profiles of other members of the same group without being connected.
SEO is your friend
You can always optimize your profile to get found by people searching LinkedIn for key terms with which you want to be associated. Add these keywords to various sections of your profile, such as your summary, specialties, job title, career history and personal interests, and you’ll be much more likely to pop up when someone is looking for a candidate with your skill set or job history.
Take advantage of the freebies
LinkedIn is big on incentivizing communities. Give your footprint a much-needed boost by signing on for the various free services they offer, such as a month of LinkedIn Premium, $50 toward LinkedIn Sponsored Posts, or other complimentary membership services. Also, reading through LinkedIn Pulse, the platform’s newsletter, often provides free tips and tricks for networking, interviews, resume writing and making connections. Bookmark their articles (along with this one, of course) to use as reference tools as you pave the way toward a successful LinkedIn profile!