If you’re currently searching for a new job, chances are you’ve updated your CV, signed up with a recruiter, and maybe even completed our free Job Ready short course (don’t skip this step!) But if you’re not using LinkedIn, you’re missing out on a job seeking trick. LinkedIn is not just a social network for CEOs and entrepreneurs, people at every stage of their professional journey are welcomed and supported. As the name suggests, it’s a channel for ‘linking in’ with the right people for the right reasons, and here, we’ll cover exactly how to do that. Now, assuming you’ve already created a LinkedIn account, the following steps will help you utilise the power of LinkedIn...
Update your LinkedIn profile and bio
First and foremost, you need a headline that will make you stand out, but you only have 120 characters to do so. Though, bear in mind that it’s not a creative writing competition and recruiters will still search for keywords to find you. Here are some examples:
‘I empower people to transform their lives as a Life Coach with 10+ years' experience and over 3000 thriving clients.’
‘Marketing executive experienced in closing sales, driving profit margins, boosting website traffic, and generating happy customers.’
Next, it’s time to write your profile summary! The first 50 words that sit under the ‘About’ section can really sell you as a professional. Not only should you highlight your experience and achievements, but you should express passion for what you do, state your ambitions, and make people curious to find out more about you.
Select the perfect profile pic and cover photo
The ideal profile picture for LinkedIn is professional but not ‘stuffy.’ By that, we mean you’re allowed to smile, you don’t have to look too serious. On the other hand, please don’t use selfies and or pictures from your summer holiday (even if your glowing tan does wonders for your eyes). The best headshot is cropped from just below the shoulders, has a plain or blurred background, and good lighting of your smiling, friendly face. The image quality should be high resolution (and filter-free). Remember, you want to show off just how approachable you are. Last but not least, this photo should be current, not 10 or 20 years old...
Cover photos aren’t necessary but it will give you more of a professional personality if you add one. Just make sure it showcases your achievements or represents something that makes you suitable for your job. E.g., if you work in events, a photo from a conference you’ve organised would be perfect!
Ask for LinkedIn recommendations/endorsements
Did you know you can ask people to give you a shining review that will be public on your LinkedIn profile? It’s an ideal way to both promote your achievements and add credibility to your claimed skills. Simply reach out to former or current employers and colleagues asking them to kindly leave you a recommendation. These are called endorsements and they’ll help you to build your professional status.
Make yourself ‘discoverable’
LinkedIn is a hub for listed job vacancies, and you can even subscribe to job alerts for certain professions or keywords. The first thing you should do is enable the ‘Open To Work’ feature in the settings of your profile, which will let recruiters know that you’re actively looking for job opportunities. On top of this, depending on how comfortable you are with making details public, it’s a good idea to list your email address or phone number on your profile to make it easy for recruiters to contact you.
Promote all experience, including internships and voluntary work
It might feel tough to find a job if you’re straight out of school, college, or university, as you have no employment history. However, there’s always a way to promote yourself, especially if you’ve undertaken work experience during your time in education. Most people forget to mention internships and voluntary or unpaid work, or they think that it’s not important. Well, we’re here to tell you that it is! Listing any experience shows your dedication to developing skills and participating in the working world.
Prioritise impact over actions
When writing about your roles and responsibilities, don’t just state what you did, but how your action led to a positive impact. Did you drive sales? Save on budget? Or generate brand awareness? What skills led to that outcome, and what was the result? Facts matter, so keep a record of your successful stats.
Link to your work
Whether it’s a blog you’ve written, a social media page you’ve managed, a video, or a media portfolio, linking to your work is a great way to give people direct access to your talent. You’ve put the work in, so why not show it off? Evidence is the best way to verify what you’re capable of.
Build your LinkedIn connections and network
Your LinkedIn network is like a more sophisticated Facebook friends list... You should connect with anyone that you’ve previously worked with or studied with, as they may have connections in the same industry that can help you out, inspire you, or offer new ideas. So, reach out! If you have similar interests and contacts, it’s likely that they’ll accept your request. It also adds a friendly touch if you send a message to new connections, introducing yourself and your career background. This will express your interest in sharing industry-related news. Talking to other professionals is a springboard for career growth!
Use your voice
Now you have connections, it’s time to use your voice and share your successes, your insight, or industry opinions as a status or post. This is your chance to present yourself as a thought-leader, but also as someone who’s engaged and involved in their professional community. Discussion shows intelligence, whether it’s about issues your industry faces, or topics that inspire others, it’s your space to have a voice in the professional world. That being said, remember to engage with other people’s posts too, by liking and commenting, because the digital world loves an active user!
Check out private groups on LinkedIn
If you’re a university student, you can join an exclusive job portal on LinkedIn for finding internships, graduate opportunities and work. Here you’ll find high-quality, entry-level jobs advertised that can make all the difference to your CV. For everyone else, think of LinkedIn as Google for jobs, using it to search for the kinds of roles you’d be interested in by joining private groups in your area.
Do your research on LinkedIn before an interview
You can check out who’s most likely to be interviewing you by searching for the company and looking through their employee list. There's no harm in doing your research! And if you can find out a bit about that person’s career path and personal interests, it gives you something to talk about, especially if you have something in common. Likewise, you can use LinkedIn to follow up with whoever you spoke with after your interview, sending them a private message to say thank you for their time. It’s a gentle reminder of who you are, and it shows a little extra enthusiasm for the job.
Project confidence in everything you post
Encourage engagement by directly asking a question; it’s a surefire way to suggest that you have the answer that others are looking for. For example: ‘Do you need someone to write click-worthy ads for you?’ ‘Would you like me to save you money?’ ‘Are you looking for a manager you can trust?’ Don’t be afraid to be confident in your abilities and offer your skills freely.