With a little regular effort on LinkedIn, you can keep your profile polished while you strengthen your professional credibility and grow your network—and you never know when it will pay off. Shannon Goodrich, a Senior Technical Recruiter at Queen Consulting Group – a Talent Group company, offers solid, easy-to-implement tips for making the most of the ubiquitous professional social network.
Make Your Profile Shine
Without consistently working in-office, employees lose out on face-to-face interaction. While the need to be able to openly collaborate is very important, it is almost equally important as humans to allow ourselves to decompress throughout the workday. When in the office, you are easily able to spend a few minutes discussing your fantasy football team or the new restaurant you tried over the weekend with a coworker. With the new remote-centered work model, that ability has become hampered. In order to increase employee interaction – while also creating a productive work environment – Talent Group formed a couple different “committees” to collaborate on specific projects within the company. For example, one of the biggest needs of Talent Group (prior to the pandemic) was a rebranding of the company. As a result, the Branding Committee took form – consisting of employees sitting in both the United States and India – which required its members to connect once a week to present creative ideas, carry out votes on split decisions, and most importantly have a few laughs throughout the meeting. This approach allows your employees to be heard and represented, in addition to the opportunity to get to know their coworkers on a more personal level.
Your LinkedIn profile could make the difference between landing a great new role and not even getting noticed by potential employers. While it’s simple to set up a profile and start making connections, spending some thoughtful time on improving your profile is also easy—and will pay off in attracting more attention from hiring managers and other professionals.
A profile photo is a must. According to LinkedIn, a profile with a photo receives nine times as many connection requests as one without. Shannon recommends that your profile photo include only yourself, and feature a neutral background and good lighting. Keep it professional and inviting.
Shannon says that “your profile should read like a story.” She typically reads profiles from the bottom up. “I work my way up to make sure that the candidate’s education and work history make logical sense and weave themselves together to tell a story.”
Shannon strongly recommends that you include a summary of who you are in the About section, with relevant bullet points. She continues, “Your LinkedIn profile is not your resume, so don’t include every detail. Instead, your profile is a synopsis of your resume that invites someone to learn more about you.”
Recommendations from colleagues are an especially effective way to project credibility. Taking the form of short, informal references, LinkedIn recommendations validate the work you’ve done in a couple of sentences, while providing a glimpse of what it’s like to work with you.
Rather than waiting until you’re ready to look for a new position, Shannon advises that you ask for recommendations on a regular basis— “consistent recommendations indicate consistent quality work”—so after you’ve worked with someone for a while, go ahead and ask for a recommendation. LinkedIn makes it easy, with a Request a Recommendation button (under the More button on your connection’s profile). “Be sure to edit the template to make it personal,” says Shannon.
You should add skills to your profile, which your LinkedIn connections can then endorse. These skills act as search keywords— “they help recruiters find you,” says Shannon. Select appropriate industry buzzwords; you can prioritize and reorganize skills as your career evolves.
Among other options you may use to customize your profile are adding a custom URL and recording the pronunciation of your name.
It’s essential that you proofread your LinkedIn profile carefully. Your contact information should be accurate and complete. Shannon explains, “All the information, including dates of employment, must be accurate, with no typos. Be sure to spell company names correctly because you want hiring managers to be able to click through. And keep your profile up to date, with a recent photo and updated job descriptions.”
Finally, be sure to set your profile to Open to Finding a New Job if that’s the case. (Note: When working with our candidates, Queen Consulting Group will review their profiles and offer advice on improving the profile to make it more effective.)
REGULAR ACTIVITY IS BEST
Since most of us now have less face-to-face time in our jobs, using LinkedIn is a great way to maintain contact with coworkers and other connections. A little time spent regularly engaging and connecting with your network can pay off by keeping you top of mind with your colleagues.
“Like and comment on relevant posts—but don’t like everything,” cautions Shannon. “Don’t overshare. Try to strike a balance among likes, shares, comments, and posts. Additionally, make sure you read and evaluate a post before you share it. Then, try to add a comment of your own when you reshare the post.”
Another way to maximize your network is to like posts about companies that are hiring; not only does it spread the word to your contacts who may be interested in working at that company, but it also shows that you are interested in helping others advance their careers.
Joining LinkedIn groups will also help you forge stronger connections. You can ask questions to solve work problems within the group, giving you a chance to learn while you grow your network. And don’t forget that recruiters will often look within the membership of a particular group when searching for specific skills.
Finally, look for ways to connect people you know to one-another. For instance, you may see a post with a hiring opportunity that’s not right for you, but you know someone who would be a great candidate. Add a comment to the post with a short recommendation and tag your contact so that the hiring manager or recruiter can simply click through to that person’s profile. You’ll be doing them both a favor while strengthening your brand and growing your professional network.
BUILD A POSITIVE NETWORK AND REPUTATION
Shannon concludes, “It’s always important to project a positive, professional presence on LinkedIn. Hiring companies will check your social media (Instagram and Facebook, as well as LinkedIn), so keep anything of a negative nature off the site. Your name is your brand.”
“Everybody’s network is a lot bigger than they think,” says Shannon. With a little time and consistent effort, you can reap the rewards of LinkedIn by building both your reputation and your network.