An in-depth guide to getting the most out of LinkedIn

LinkedIn

An in-depth guide to getting the most out of LinkedIn.


LinkedIn. Probably not the first social networking site that pops into your head, but it's definitely an important one. A lot of people view LinkedIn as simply an online CV for when you're job hunting, but it can offer you so much more than just this if you know exactly how to use it, and it can be a powerful tool to grow your professional network and bag yourself new career opportunities.

But, how do you use it best to get the most out of it? Have a read of our in-depth guide and see what you think.

THE BASICS

A professional photo. | Choose your profile photo carefully. Remember that this is a professional networking site and first impressions count. Try and use a clear head shot of just you, and put on your best 'I'm very friendly and trustworthy' face. You don't need to be in a suit or have your company's branding behind you, but that group shot from your most recent night out? Probably not such a good idea. This is also important for if you're planning to attend any networking events, it's handy if you're instantly recognisable.

Your headline. | For most people, this is just their current position at their current company. But this isn't really what this is for. You have 120 characters here to quickly grab people's attention. What exactly do you do? And what exactly can you offer? Putting something different in here could really help you to stand out. Use keywords for the job or industry you're passionate about, and this could help you get picked up by clients & potential employers.

Customise your profile URL. | Head onto your own profile, and click on 'Edit your public profile' in the right sidebar. There then should be an option to 'Edit public profile URL' from a url with loads of random letters and numbers on the end, to something like this; www.linkedin.com/in/yourname/.

This will automatically make your profile look more professional, and it's easier to share.

guide to linkedin


AN ADVANCED PROFILE

Profile summary. | This is your chance to expand on your headline and really sell yourself. Using keywords, tell us what you do, what you're passionate about, what motivates you and what your greatest skills are. Tell us about some of your achievements. What are you looking for? Why are you a value to your employer? Feel free to inject a little bit of humour in here too, and be a little less informal. Show off your personality and think of this as a way of showing people your personal brand.

Include job descriptions. | Remember that LinkedIn is not your CV, so don't just copy & paste. However, having a summary of what your current and previous roles have involved is helpful. Potential clients and recruiters will often search on keywords and not necessary by job title, as these can differ.

There's a general rule of thumb of 3 paragraphs or less so, be concise but ensure you're including the most important and valuable details.

Embed some of your work samples. | As well as text, LinkedIn also allows you to embed images, videos, documents and links to your work - so make the most of it! You can add these to your Summary, Education and Experience sections of your profile, so go ahead and show off the work, blog posts or projects that you're most proud of.

NETWORKING

Proactively reach out to people.| Do reach out to people. Reach out to people that you know, people who you think will be a valuable connection, that you think could really help and develop your career path, or people that inspire you. Don't just sit and wait for people to connect with you. Be proactive!

Send personalised messages with your connection requests. | This is particularly useful if you're trying to connect with someone who you might not necessarily know, but maybe you look up to them, have read some of their work or are inspired by them. Send them a personal note with your request, telling them why you'd love to connect with them. This way, they won't be left wondering who you are or why you've tried to add them to your network.

Join Groups. | LinkedIn groups can be a goldmine for networking opportunities. It gives you the chance to access a whole new network of people, to find great new content to share, to meet others in your industry and to also share your own knowledge and expertise.

Don't be Anonymous. | There's a great feature on LinkedIn that means you can view people's profiles anonymously, and while this is a great thing if you're trying to secretly figure out where your ex is at after you've blocked them on everything else, it's not that great for professional purposes. Why? Because if you're anonymous, LinkedIn won't tell you who's viewed your profile, either.

Being able to see who's checked you out could lead to those all important new and meaningful connections. They've viewed your profile for a reason, so if they haven't already, reach out to them!

Interact with your connections & be careful what you share. | LinkedIn is a professional networking site, so don't share or like anything you wouldn't want your current boss or colleagues to see or that could lead to some awkward conversations in the office in the morning.However, DO share things and most definitely interact with your feed. Look for articles or other posts that may be relevant to your industry or current affairs, or just simply something that you really care about. Just like any other social media site, being active is important!