They say, “It’s all about who you know,” when it comes to landing a job. With LinkedIn, the network of “who you know” only gets larger. That’s why it’s increasingly important to make sure you’re representing yourself accurately and professionally online. Working with a TDS Talent Acquisition Specialist in Human Resources, we came up with seven essential tips for using LinkedIn.
- Make sure your profile picture is professional
It doesn’t need to be professionally taken, but it should be a good picture of only you. That picture with you and your cat doesn’t scream “hire me.” Leave out duck lips, sunglasses, and inappropriate gestures, and keep it classy.
- Fill out your profile completely
This is your online resume, and it’s important to include a short statement, along with some bullet points of what your responsibilities are. It’s also good to highlight any successful projects or awards you have achieved. Be sure to fill out the profile summary as well. This is a great place to go beyond the basics of your job history. Showcase your entire career and where you want to take it. Filling out the education section is also important, because it allows you to stay connected to what’s happening at your alma mater, and it allows LinkedIn to recommend connections from your school.
- Endorse connections
When filling out your LinkedIn profile, there is a section for skills. This is where you should include any relevant professional skills that help people understand who you are and what you can do. If you haven’t received many endorsements, the best thing you can do is to start endorsing some of the connections in your network—some of them might return the favor.
- Follow organizations
Companies, schools, and nonprofits are important to follow as this easily helps to grow your network. Any content these organizations decide to share will be in your feed, so you can stay updated.
- Be visible
Share articles, videos, and podcasts that you find interesting. It’s a social network, so be social! Now I’m not saying take over the newsfeed and post every five seconds (LinkedIn is not Twitter or Facebook). An insightful, relevant article is always well-received. Sharing pictures or good news stories about the company you work for is also a great practice.
- Personalize Connection Messages
It can be tempting to just click the “Connect” button, but resist the urge. It takes less than a minute to write a quick message to the person you’re requesting to connect with. Since LinkedIn is about connecting people, be sincere!
- Reach out to Connections
Congratulate that friend of yours on their work anniversary or when they land a new job. Look to connect people with one another too. Social capital is invaluable, and if you take a “pay it forward” approach, chances are it’s going to come back to you when you need it.
It comes down to being genuine and maintaining an air of professionalism. Networking can feel like a chore at times, but if you take a positive approach, you just might enjoy it. “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson