If you’re on the job hunt or are looking to grow your career, LinkedIn should be part of your professional toolkit. From finding job opportunities to making new connections and learning about different careers, LinkedIn is the go-to platform for professionals. 24 Seven’s expert recruiters are sharing their best practices to help you master LinkedIn, and use it to land your dream job.
1. Include a high-resolution profile picture & cover photo
First things first, your profile should feature a high quality, recent headshot, that isn’t a selfie. Your profile picture lets recruiters and hiring managers know you’re a real person and legitimizes your profile, so make sure you choose something professional. If you don’t have something appropriate ready to go, you might have to setup a quick photo shoot at home, but don’t worry it’s not as difficult as it sounds. We recommend finding a simple background in a well-lit room and having a friend or family-member take the photo as opposed to using a selfie.
A cover photo is a great way to add more personalization to your profile. Lot’s of companies have a branded photo they like employee to add to their profiles, but if this is not the case for you, you can use this as an opportunity to get a bit creative. If you’re an author, marketer or freelancer, you can have your latest book on display via your cover photo, or feature an upcoming event or your personal logo. You can also choose a photo that you find aesthetically pleasing, just be careful not to use something that distracts or takes away from your profile.
2. Make a custom URL
Even some of the savviest LinkedIn users don’t realize there’s an option that allows you to customize your own URL. Because hyperlinks can be messy, LinkedIn allows you to make a simpler, user friendly URL, that looks more branded (ie: linkedin.com/in/johnsmith). This can be edited right below your profile picture.
3. Show personality by creating a catchy “professional headline”
A common misunderstanding about LinkedIn’s “professional headline” is that it has to be your current job title. While featuring your title is a great option, you can also get creative with the headline and make it something more personal. For example if you’re a Social Media Strategist you could make your headline Social Media Guru or Digital Media Maven. This is another opportunity to show your creativity and may get you noticed by a potential employer.
4. Optimize your summary for the job you want
If you’re looking to change roles or take the next step in your career journey you want to be sure your summary is tailored to your desired job and includes relevant keywords. A great way to figure out what to incorporate is to save a number of job descriptions for roles you’re interested in and then notate the responsibilities, tools and skills listed throughout. If you’re looking for a job in fashion merchandising you’ll want to put words like visual, fashion, product development, trends, merchandise, and inventory throughout your “summary”. Also be sure to add qualities that are found in fashion merchandising job descriptions like determined, quick thinker, and fast paced environment.
5. Don’t be afraid to add connections
We know adding connections on LinkedIn can be intimidating, especially if you’re reaching out to people at a higher level or in a different industry, but if you’re thoughtful in your approach it’s a great way to grow your network. If you’re concerned about adding new connections who you don’t know very well, we recommend using the custom message feature to make the outreach more personal. You can reference an article the person published, or a common interest. We also suggest reviewing your second and third party connections and then reaching out to people who you have a common connection with.
6. Join relevant groups and follow hashtags
Joining groups and following hashtags that are focused on topics you’re interested in will lead you to job opportunities and career connections you couldn’t access before. You can also promote your own work or recent projects so potential employers or recruiters can see your talent. LinkedIn groups are a great way to tap into the platform’s networking potential and following hashtags is an awesome way to stay up to date on current events and industry changes.
7. Track who has looked at your profile
If you keep your LinkedIn profile public you can see who has looked at your profile. Reviewing who has looked at your profile, will help you understand what types of searches you’re showing up in and which hiring managers are potentially interested in you. Once you have a sense of who is seeing your profile you can determine if you’re targeting has been successful or if you have more work to do. You can also tap into profile viewers as potential leads and start a warmer conversation.
8. Ask for recommendations and skill endorsements
If you want to go from amateur to all-star on LinkedIn you should ask your coworkers and previous employers for recommendations and skill endorsements. This will increase your chances of getting noticed by hiring managers and improve your credibility as a valuable candidate. It may be uncomfortable to ask a coworker for an endorsement but it is way more common than you think if you’ve never done it before.
9. Create a call to action (CTA)
If you want people to take action on your profile, then give them a clear call to action (CTA). For instance, you could have a place on your LinkedIn with a downloadable portfolio of your work or include in your summary “Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for writing samples”. Determine the action you want people to take and then formulate that into a CTA.
10. Publish thought leadership
If you have some downtime and are looking to make more connections in your industry or field, our creative and marketing recruiters recommend publishing your own content. Choose a topic, whether you want to focus on a recent trend or new piece of technology and come up with your spin. Once you have something ready to go that is authentic and adds value (and has been proofread), you can publish it to LinkedIn. Everyone is looking for information and content especially right now, by creating your own thought leadership you’ll provide value and a unique point of view. Sharing your opinion will help people get to know you better and feel more connected.
LinkedIn isn’t only for job seekers and it can be especially helpful for professional growth. Often a dream job may just find you on LinkedIn. If you’re looking for more resources to help you grow your career, click here.