10 steps to reach LinkedIn mastery
Recent studies suggest that 90% of recruiters now use LinkedIn when assessing a candidate’s suitability. If you think you’d be better off without any sort of digital footprint, approximately 50% of employers indicate that they would not progress a candidate through to the job interview stage if the candidate does not have a social media presence. Additionally, 80% of recruiters now rely on LinkedIn when posting job opportunities. So, if you don’t have a LinkedIn Profile, but spend all of your time looking through SEEK and JORA, there’s a high probability that you are completely unaware of many wonderful opportunities, currently available. Furthermore, did you know that 60% of employers have rejected candidates based solely on their social media profiles? The bottom line? You need a LinkedIn Profile, and if you want to maximise your professional success, you better make it absolutely awesome. We are here to help you do just that, because LinkedIn is not a chore, it is a gift, and by far your best opportunity to showcase your professional image. A well-crafted LinkedIn Profile will go a long way towards attracting recruiters and potential employers.
1. Turn your summary into your story
Your summary is your short story. Many people ignore this section and choose to leave it blank. If you have taken the time to build it out, there is a great chance that it can be improved. We are yet to come across a profile that could not stand to benefit from at least some improvement in this section. It must be visually ordered and appealing, structured into 2 or 3 paragraphs, and the language should, as always, be sharp and creative. Do not use this section as yet another excuse to list your skills or job titles. Instead, bring your career to life – this is your most personal piece within what is your most important page of personal and professional branding. Maximise it. Go into your most notable achievements, why your character traits matter to the workplace, and how you help others. Give it the attention that it deserves.
2. Optimise your profile for search engines
A well-optimised LinkedIn Profile can spread your name, not only towards the edges of LinkedIn, but beyond. To increase the likelihood of your name appearing in search results, be sure to include keywords for which you would like to be found, throughout numerous sections of your profile. Your summary, specialties, job descriptions, skills, and personal interests are all wonderful areas to optimise.
3. Grow your network
Why is LinkedIn the one platform in which people are reluctant to make connections? Common people! Of course, the key here is quality connections, but too often we see very weak numbers within an extremely easy to improve area. As silly as it sounds, a page with less than 500 connections is looked upon unfavorably, especially for those of you sitting in senior roles. If you have more than 500 connections, LinkedIn represents this as 500+. We suggest that all of our clients, at the very least, reach this level. It simply paints you in a much brighter light when a visitor is assessing your page, and LinkedIn makes this process very easy by offering you a suggested connections section. Each day, sit down for just 10-minutes, and connect with people that you deem to be appropriate. In doing so, you will reach this seemingly elusive number in no time.
4. Detail your history (to a point)
This is a section that almost everyone blunders, and some quite terribly, so don’t feel too bad about your efforts here. Add all of your professional experience in a contiguous manner, but only add a detailed position description to your current role. You see, your LinkedIn Profile is not your resume, and so, it shouldn’t be treated as such. You want to entice the reader just enough that so that he or she is excited to contact you, but not provide so much information that they make a decision after only viewing this one page. Yes, it’s certainly a balancing act, but one that you can execute with just a little practice. Remember, the point of all of this is to land an awesome professional opportunity, and the necessary next step towards achieving that goal is to sit down for some type of job interview, or in-person meeting. Aim your efforts towards that next step here.
Adding your educational qualifications is so simple, which is why it is so frustrating to watch so many individuals fail to complete this section effectively. Why would you put in the work necessary to earn something, and then neglect to show others the depth of your success? If you hold a master’s degree, that doesn’t make it acceptable to ignore your bachelor’s degree. Both are very important for different reasons. Whatever your educational qualifications, include all of them, and represent the true upward progression of your educational journey. It is never a negative thing to have earned a wonderfully broad education.
Additionally, LinkedIn have made it very easy to add certifications to your profile and doing so will surely give you a slight competitive advantage over those who either don’t hold the same certifications, or who have simply been too lazy in adding all possible certifications to their profile page. If a talent scout, media representative, or related potential prospect is looking for someone experienced in google analytics, a certain CRM, or maybe a very specific web development language, detailing your certifications will paint you in a very positive light, and will form an excellent addition to your already impressive page. Of course, then adding this ability as a skill will only boost your profile even further, which we will look at next.
5. List your relevant skills
LinkedIn offers you the ability to add up to 50 skills. However, it is rare to come across a client who has maximised all 50. Finish off this section correctly by adding a total of 50 skills. It is a very easy improvement and will help you significantly with things such as being tagged in certain search results and encouraging others to endorse particular skills that you choose to list, thereby further adding to you credibility as a professional. This is one of the quickest wins on LinkedIn, but the key here is staying relevant. A long list of skills that aren’t really core to who you are, or what you do, might start to work against you, and will likely confuse readers. Lastly, spread the love. Give endorsements to others. Doing so will prompt others to give you the same in return. Be sure to only offer endorsements to those who genuinely deserve them, and don’t be afraid to ask for some love in return. We are all trying our best to progress here.
6. Spotlight your services, and add projects and links
Services is a relatively new LinkedIn feature that helps consultants, freelancers, and those working for smaller businesses, showcase the range of services that they offer. Where appropriate, completing the services section of your profile can boost your visibility in certain search results. Additionally, adding a projects section to your profile allows you to list the various projects that you have worked on. This is an excellent way to generate inbound links back to your website, or multiple websites. Just ensure that your projects URL is relevant to the project listed, and up to date. If not, this will likely compromise your credibility, rather than assist your progression.
7. Request recommendations
LinkedIn recommendations have become increasingly popular. There are two ways in which you can obtain recommendations – you can send a request to a LinkedIn contact, and ask them to write a recommendation for you, or you can write a recommendation for someone, in the hope that they will write one for you in return. Just to clarify, recommendations are personal testimonials written to illustrate the experience that someone has enjoyed in working with you. You can find the option for requesting and writing recommendations by clicking on the More button, on a contacts profile page.
When giving a recommendation, we suggest that you keep it brief, but informative. Explain in what capacity you have worked with the individual, how this person utilised a certain skill set in order to assist your needs, and what a pleasure it was to work with them throughout this specific process. When requesting recommendations, take the time to really think about from whom you would most value a recommendation, and then personalise your request. This activity is well worth the effort as it will turn into an asset that you can then keep there forever.
8. Engage your community
The first step here is to simply build out your network, which is something we discussed in an earlier chapter. Once you have reached a level that you are happy with, for example, 500+, it is time to begin playing an active role inside the community that you have built. If you can appear within the feeds of your LinkedIn community in a way that provides value to them, both professionally and personally, it will drastically increase the stocks of your profile, and your position within the marketplace. The easiest way to do this, to begin with, is to share relevant content. Start by remaining up to date with the latest news, posts, articles, and overall trends in your field, within your own LinkedIn feed, and when you find something that genuinely interests you, share it with your network.
Next, once you are comfortable sharing, move on to adding comments, both to the content that you share, and other content that you enjoy. When sharing, add an opinion piece to your posts, and when simply commenting, again, look to add value wherever possible. If you are a confident writer, well-articulated comments will also help you in sharing a broad range of content, for nothing will scare you. Your well-expressed thoughts and unique opinions will draw additional comments, force others to sit up and take notice, and work to continually expand your network, as more and more people will be drawn in through digesting the value that you are continually delivering. An additional tip here is to help yourself by following relevant influencers within your specific space. Doing so means that you are both filling your own feed with interesting content, as well as sharing content that you know others will enjoy, created by people that many in your community are already familiar with. This strategy is especially helpful when first starting out. It provides additional context to your LinkedIn Profile, and very clearly reveals where your interests lie.
Lastly, but certainly not any less importantly, we suggest that you join groups on LinkedIn. As a best practice, you should be joining, and participating in, as many groups as possible, leveraging all of the methods that we have just been through. As a general rule, stay away from your personal or social interests here. Yes, LinkedIn can be considered a social platform, but it is a platform for working professionals, and we suggest that you build your profile with that understanding in mind. If you want to get personal, that’s completely fine, just move to one of the many platforms specifically designed for your social life. Once you have joined these groups, operate as actively as possible within them. This will help expose you to numerous industry contacts. In fact, according to LinkedIn, your profile is 5-times more likely to be viewed if you join, and are active within, relevant LinkedIn groups.
9. Edit your URL
Look at your current LinkedIn URL. Do you see a group of random letters and numbers hanging off the end of it? Yes, it looks very unprofessional and organised, and shows that you are not yet a LinkedIn pro. So, let’s take you to pro status.
Go to your profile page, and in the upper right-hand corner, you will find an option entitled Edit public profile and URL. Select this option. Again in the upper right-hand corner, you will have the option of editing your URL. We suggest that you clean it up by removing this random set of letters and numbers that have been automatically generated. We must always look for simpler, more professional presentations in everything that we do, and each little piece counts.
10. Publish long-form content
Your LinkedIn Profile is now completely ready to be seen, and quickly judged, by the public. Invite them to do so by posting long-form content, and then using this content to start conversations, and thus, further build your community, The more high-quality content that you post around your area of expertise, the more valued you will become within your community. Additionally, monitor your audience’s reactions to this content, and utilise this feedback to determine where to take your content next. Which subjects and unique perspectives tend to resonate with your audience? Are there any comments or ideas that you feel could be turned into a brand new post? Evolving your thought leadership in this way, through engaging with your community’s feedback, ensures that it will remain real, valuable, and topical.
From there, you should be engaging with every single share, like, and comment that engages with your content. If someone within your community has taken the time to react to your content, then you must take the time necessary to engage back with them. So many of us say that we want a larger audience, but then perpetually ignore the one that we do have. Don’t make this mistake. Engage with your current audience, whatever that audience might currently look like. This is how you successfully deliver increased value, and thus, further build your brand, credibility, and popularity with your peers. This is your audience. This is your fan club. Give them the respect that they deserve. This approach will ensure that you strengthen and solidify your relationships with your continually expanding network.
Building your LinkedIn Profile is not a chore. As we touched on earlier, it is a gift that must be embraced. It need not necessarily take up hours and hours of your time. Work through these ideas in a progressive manner and build one on top of the other. You will be surprised at just how quickly you really progress with it, and you’ll be even more surprised at just what an amazing impact it can have, both on your professional career, and hopefully, depending upon the level of value you can consistently deliver, the lives of others.
Do you still need some help?