LinkedIn is a great resource for careers-related information, and can be a great way to keep in touch with recruiters or people you meet at networking events. To maximise its potential, you should make sure that your profile is professional and up to date, and that you’re using its features effectively. Have a look at our list of the top ways to make the most of LinkedIn, and see if this can help you with your job search.
1. Make a great first impression
The first things people will see on your LinkedIn profile are your picture and your professional headline, so make them count. Your picture should be of good quality and should also look professional. That’s not to say you need a professional photographer: get a friend to take a photo of you with a plain background for this.
The professional headline often defaults to your current role and organisation that you work for, but you can edit this to make it more dynamic. This could include what you’re excited about now, and what you plan to do for the future.
2. Don’t forget your summary
Treat this summary almost like a very condensed cover letter. Include your qualifications and goals, and touch on your relevant work experience and extra-curricular activities.
Use keywords rather than buzzwords (though this will be covered later) to optimise your presence on LinkedIn. You can also add in rich media links such as audio or video to flesh this out with your other projects.
3. Tailor your profile
If you want to break into a certain industry, then you’ll need to focus on demonstrating your most relevant skills with your LinkedIn profile. Putting in every skill and every experience you’ve ever had may make your profile seem messy and confusing, but if you make sure that the things relevant to your industry are very clear on your profile then you should be in for a better chance. LinkedIn also have some advice on tailoring your profile, so look at this for more information.
4. Grow your network
A bigger network can lead to more opportunities, but this isn’t to say you should indiscriminately add everyone you’ve ever met. You shouldn’t just connect with people because you think they might be able to get you a job without you having to do anything either.
You’ll need to maintain a relationship with your connections to ensure that they can view you as a meaningful contact in return, so when you meet someone you want to connect with make sure that you can offer them something just as they can offer you.
5. Engage your network
If you’ve made some valuable LinkedIn connections that you think will help you with your career, don’t let them sit there without pro-actively showing your engagement in the relevant industry or company.
Try sharing articles to show your interest in a sector, or like and comment on your connections’ posts. The more you use LinkedIn, the more potential links will see your name and be aware of your interest and knowledge.
6. Personalise your invitations
When you’re in the process of growing your network, it’s easy to send out the standardised LinkedIn invitation to connect. However, with people you’ve met at networking events and similar, it’s best to personalise this message stating how you enjoyed meeting them (and where you met), and a reference to the conversation you may have had. This way you’re more likely to be accepted as your new connection will know who you are.
7. Use keywords in your profile
First, don’t mix up keywords and buzzwords. Keywords make you sound like you’re informed and focused, whereas buzzwords don’t really tell employers anything. If you say you are motivated, hard-working, and a creative problem-solver, then your profile is probably indistinguishable from numerous others using the same buzzwords.
To rectify this, instead of saying you’re a ‘team player’, for example, describe a team you’ve worked in recently and how you contributed to it. When it comes to keywords, familiarise yourself with the job descriptions for employers that you’re interested in, and lightly use the terminologies they use in your profile – provided that they’re relevant to your skills and experience of course.
8. Read your network’s posts
Don’t just pay attention to updates posted by your connections: you can find valuable insider information posted by and about companies you follow and groups you’ve joined.
LinkedIn is more than just about connecting yourself with people – gaining access to the most relevant articles, blogs, and beyond can help you find out more about your chosen career path.
9. Join relevant groups
Joining groups relevant to your interests is a great way to find people and information about your chosen career path. Not only that, but if you’re a member of the same group as another user, you don’t need to be a first-degree connection to message them.
As long as you’ve been a member of LinkedIn for at least 30 days and a member of the particular group for at least four days, LinkedIn allows you to send up to 15 messages to other group members each month.
10. Don’t be afraid to approach people
Messaging people you don’t know on LinkedIn might feel awkward, but as long as you’re polite and respectful then you’re likely to get a positive response. The worst that can really happen is that they won’t reply, so it’s worth sending a quick message to people whose career paths align closely with your goals to see if they have the time to help you with your own path.
11. Follow LSE Careers
LSE Careers has a showcase page on LinkedIn where we post the latest updates we have on employment news in addition to our events and application advice. Follow us for information on our services, job sectors, and more!