In our increasingly interconnected world, a strong LinkedIn profile is an essential requirement for any professional looking to succeed in their chosen field. So many hiring managers research candidates' digital footprints to not only find out about their background, skills and experience, but also to discover the type of person they might potentially take on.
It's important to remember that your LinkedIn profile is a reflection of your professional self. And what would a bare-bones, run-of-the-mill profile say about you to a potential employer?
Just like anything else in life, the more time and effort you put into your LinkedIn profile, the more you'll get out of it. But don't worry, we don’t expect you to start sacrificing all your evenings and weekends! Working on your LinkedIn little by little whenever you have a spare 10 minutes in your schedule will really start to pay off.
So, how can you stand out from the crowd of over half a billion other users, and make your LinkedIn profile work harder, smarter and better for you?
1. Update the basics
This may sound obvious, but thousands of LinkedIn users don't have a profile that's 100% complete. We can all complain that we're 'too busy' to keep our profiles updated, but there's no excuse for missing or outdated information when it comes to marketing yourself and your skills. Always remember: you are your biggest investment!
So, make sure to include a professional, attention-grabbing headline that highlights your current role and expertise with strategically placed keywords. It’s also important to include your location and industry so that the right people in the right place will be able to find you.
2. Maximise your summary
Your LinkedIn summary is your chance to tell your story and really sell yourself to your potential connections. So, make sure you do yourself and your skills justice and go into more detail about what you've written in your headline; market your expertise, experience and personality in a way that's authentic. Don't overuse buzzwords or jargon as this might deter potential connections from truly understanding what it is that makes you unique.
3. Grow your network
Developing a relevant network of like-minded, reputable professionals is at the heart of LinkedIn. An easy way to get started is by syncing your profile with your email address book. You can also connect to groups of people in the same industry as you or people who might be interested in the same things as you. If you went to university, a good place to start is always your university's alumni network – you'll probably be surprised at the amount of people you can connect with!
Once you're a part of these specialised groups don't just remain a bystander – join discussions, start discussions and ultimately engage with others; it's what LinkedIn was made for after all.
4. Stay focused
Before you start updating your profile, have a good think about what your most valuable strengths are; both professional and personal. Next, think about how you have demonstrated these strengths through your previous jobs, qualifications, responsibilities and other commitments. This will help you to keep your profile clear, concise and focused on what you really want it to say about you.
By cutting out the waffle and honing in on the skills that make you a unique and talented candidate, you're sure to attract better connections and create a LinkedIn profile that's working harder to provide you with the opportunities you deserve.