Last week we dived into the exciting world of social media and gave you some hints and tips on how to use it to your benefit and avoid some of the less desirable outcomes. Social media is an incredibly powerful tool and we want to help you get the most out of it.
This week we are turning our attention to one particular platform – LinkedIn – a social media site for professional and career development. LinkedIn is an excellent platform to build your professional profile and open new doors in your career path. Here’s how you can get the most from this valuable platform.
Launched in 2003, LinkedIn is one of the older social media platforms and is the premium social networking site for business and career focused services. As of the beginning of 2018, LinkedIn had over 500 million users in more than 200 countries and is now one of the most popular websites in the world.
How does LinkedIn work?
The idea and basic functionality of LinkedIn is fairly straightforward. It allows individual users to create a profile which serves as an online CV while companies can create a profile which advertises its employment opportunities to potential employees and its services to potential customers. But there is a lot more to the platform. Not only does LinkedIn facilitate connections between individuals and companies, it also allows individuals to connect with each other to create professional networks and develop professional relationships. Another great feature of this platform is that it allows users to create interest groups. Currently, there are over 1.2 million groups on LinkedIn with membership numbers ranging from 1 to 744, 662. These groups focus on anything from professional and career issues to university and school alumni, and they offer a great way to reach a wide audience. The site has also become a premium online recruitment tool with advanced functionality that allows recruiters to target candidates with specific skill sets and experience.
How to get the most out of LinkedIn
If you don’t already have one, we highly recommend that you start a LinkedIn profile. Visit the LinkedIn site, create an account, and then browse around a bit to familiarise yourself with the site. Then follow these 3 handy tips to ensure you get the most out of LinkedIn:
- Make sure you profile is complete
It sounds obvious but having a complete LinkedIn profile with comprehensive information is key to helping you get noticed. Not only does an incomplete profile look unprofessional, the search algorithms on LinkedIn favour profiles that are more complete and so you are more likely to appear in searches the more complete your profile is. One great feature of the platform is your profile dashboard, which is only visible to you, and which tells you how complete your profile is and how you can improve it. Your profile should Include a recent, professional looking photo of yourself as well as enough information to tell people about your education, skills and experience (but not too much that they’ll fall asleep scrolling through it!). It’s also very important to keep your profile up to date – you never know when your future boss could be searching for the right candidate.
- Put effort into building your network
One of the most valuable features of LinkedIn is that it allows you to connect with other individuals to form a professional network. Much like you have a network of friends on Facebook, you can create a network of professional connections on LinkedIn which can greatly enhance your own professional profile and open up many opportunities. It’s important to connect with the right people on LinkedIn. Start with your friends and colleagues who have studied something similar or worked in industries and companies that interest you. Then look who those people are connected to and reach out to the ones who you find interesting or you think will be valuable professional connections. You should also search through the LinkedIn groups (remember, there are 1.2 million of them!) and join a few that interest you. You will then be able to reach out directly to the other members of that group and grow your network even further. Remember to have a complete profile before reaching out to increase your chances of connecting with the right people.
- Get recommendations and endorsements
Another great feature of LinkedIn is that the people you are connected to can include recommendations on your profile. Ask two or three people who you have worked with to write a brief recommendation outlining your key strengths and how you added value to a specific role or project. You can also ask your connections to endorse certain skills you would like to highlight. This adds some credibility to your profile and shows you have legitimate professional connections.
LinkedIn is a powerful social media tool that can greatly enhance your professional profile and connect you with a huge number of exciting, relevant people. We encourage you to invest some time in using LinkedIn to its full potential and we’re confident you will see results. Good luck!