If you’re thinking social media is just for bragging about the fancy restaurants you’ve been to, or for sharing selfies of your new haircut – think again. Social media networks are crucial for:
- Finding job opportunities
- Getting noticed by HR researchers and recruiters
- Standing out from the competition
When applying for a job, you’re basically selling yourself as a product on the market and the recruiters and managers are the buyers. As part of the hiring and recruiting process, recruiters and managers will do their due diligence and 93% of them will thoroughly check your social media accounts, LinkedIn first.
This isn’t stalking! It’s every employer’s obligation to make sure that the experience on your resume corroborates your LinkedIn profile. What are they exactly looking for? Three main facts:
- Validation of your mentioned expertise
- Consistency between experience in your CV and LinkedIn profile
- Affirmation of your experience and technological savviness
There are many other factors that make one LinkedIn profile more appealing to recruiters than others. This article will share with you the best practices that will help you make the most out of your LinkedIn profile and network in four simple steps…
Step #1 Build your LinkedIn profile appropriately
Start by filling out all fields LinkedIn offers you according to your resume. Yes, literally all of them. LinkedIn has a very advanced algorithm in place and sometimes having even one volunteering experience can set you apart from the competition. Because of this, in addition to your education, make sure to include all relevant job positions you’ve held, all the companies you’ve worked for, skills that you’ve acquired, languages you speak, seminars and additional education programs you’ve attended, and any and all diplomas, certificates, etc. Additionally, if possible, augment the above facts with relevant photos, videos, documents, etc.
When it comes to other photos in your profile, the one that will garner the most attention is your profile image – make sure it is professional in appearance and that you look friendly in it. The second photo you should care about is your profile cover photo. This doesn’t necessarily need to showcase your expertise, but it’s better if it does.
The next thing that stands out on your profile is a line (or two) under your profile image where you can write your current job position and mention skills that you have to offer. Make the sentence is alluring but also keep in mind that this field is crucial for showing your profile in the LinkedIn search results when adjusting job position filters.
Next, there is the short summary section. Utilise these 2000 characters to tell a short story about yourself and to show off your expertise. Notice that the first two or three lines are visible and that the rest of the summary won’t be seen until the viewer clicks ‘See more’.
Don’t be shy to ask your current and former colleagues to give you recommendations. Or, even better – start by giving one. It is ideal to have recommendations tailored to your experience rather than about you as an individual.
The last thing you should ‘build’ on your profile are endorsements. Put the ones that are most relevant for your (desired) job position in front to encourage your profile viewers to endorse them first. Although this is also something others should do for you, you can apply the you-endorse-me-and-I’ll-endorse-you tactic.
Step #2 Add some (SEO) sparkle to it
Optimising for relevant keywords works well for LinkedIn too. Marketers already know this tactic, but if you’re not familiar with keyword research (don’t worry it doesn’t have to be that thorough like you’re optimising a website for Google) start with a generic keyword that describes your job position. Once again, for marketers, it’s pretty easy: ‘SEO’, ‘social media’, ‘PPC specialist’, ‘digital marketing’ and so on. Take this example for finding relevant keywords for your expertise and fill out your profile with them. Keyword padding you won’t get anywhere, so try to create sentences (when building your profile in step #1) that look natural but have relevant keywords included.
Step #3 Start networking!
Now that your profile is set up you’re ready to expand your network. Here are some tips on how to do it effectively:
- Try LinkedIn Premium (you can test it a couple of months for free) and utilise all its features, especially inMail. Social media influencers are usually not that swamped with messages on LinkedIn, so sending a message through LinkedIn may be the best way to grab their attention. Furthermore, LinkedIn Premium gives you an option to see and add people who viewed your profile within the past 90 days
- Don’t accept every connection request you get – check if that person is relevant to your professional interests. After reaching 10,000 connections (and believe it or not, that can happen pretty fast) you won’t be able to accept any new ones
- Find campus editors by searching the LinkedIn Campus Editor Program and interview the ones who are the most interesting to you. Editors don’t only have great stories – they are also very well connected. If they share your interview with their audience this could bring you lots of new, quality connections
- If you find an interesting person that works in your niche, not yet an influencer but one with plenty of connections, you can suggest to him or her to join forces and collaborate on an article or a video. That way the promotion would be spread to a much wider audience and this person’s connections very likely could become yours as well. There are a fair amount of collaborative groups looking for partners, so do thorough research and find ones that are relevant to your expertise
- When posting an update on your news feed don’t forget to tag people and companies, especially ones that are likely to like/share your post (try to avoid big influencers, there’s a big chance they won’t see it)
- Don’t be shy to comment on other people’s posts, especially ones that are viral. However, make sure that your comment is relevant and make it a bit longer so it stands out among all the others!
Step #4 Make the algorithm work for you
Although LinkedIn has a very involved algorithm, there are two main things you should focus on for results:
- Pay attention to targeting: No matter how good your content is, you won’t get everyone’s attention. Focus on the groups of people who are relevant to your industry and tailor your content for them
- Develop a posting consistency: People who follow you want to hear from you often. More than that, the LinkedIn algorithm will make your post visible to more viewers if you post consistently
- Respect your community: Answer all mentions and comments, thank people for their shares and likes, etc. Engage your community and they’ll give back to you!
About the author: Ana (Grasic) Karic has several years of experience in growth marketing and has helped startups and established businesses to achieve rapid and sustainable growth. Her experience ranges from being an Account manager and Growth hacker to leading a growth marketing agency, KickAssGrowth, as a Head of Growth. All of this experience lead to her new job role, as a Senior Growth Marketing Strategist and being a part of a growth marketing agency – FIVE from New York.