LinkedIn has become the second biggest social media platform for both business and personal connections. Most entrepreneurs and authors even claimed it to be better than other networking platforms.
This post is going to explain the basics of this platform, but even if you consider yourself a frequent user, this post will give you some tips to optimize your profile. If you are a marketer or a business owner, you may also want to read the guide to LinkedIn for Business.
How to use LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a multifunctinal platform that allows you to form meaningful and strategic connections to promote yourself or your business.
Unlike some other social media platforms, LinkedIn features an in-depth personal profile, headlines, and your education and experiences. It is the place to find and to be found.
Linkedin is the best place to build connections and keep a professional network. It is designed for people who want to represent themselves professionally, so when employers come looking for you, make sure they don’t find you holding a bottle of beer in your profile picture.
There is going to be a mention of how, and what kind of photo you should upload, as well as a summary and other things related to housekeeping your profile.
Over the years, LinkedIn has incorporated likes, shares, and comments to resemble other social media platforms. Basically, LinkedIn is like a more multifunctional Facebook, where you can look for work and apply. Despite, LinkedIn taking huge steps to de-professionalize the platform, making it more open and user-friendly you still can’t upload pictures of your lovely cat 😉.
How to write an exceptional headline for LinkedIn
Headlines! They are the most important part of your LinkedIn profile. They are the biggest contributors to your search results and to what the recruiter first lays his eyes on. To impress both the search engine and the recruiters, it’s important to be very strategic and use your limited 120 characters to the best of your advantage. To write a good LinkedIn headline there are a few things to follow:
- Write it in accordance with your audience
- Include how you provide value
- Speak in the language of your prospect
- Stay away from puffery or overstatements
1) What we mean by the first line is that you need to write your headline so that you would be easily understood. For example, if you are an IT Specialist, or work in computing, saying you are a Java Specialist or work on WordPress. Even Php is far better than a vague “IT specialist”. Your customers might not know about these terms, but your potential employers will. An extra tip is to include keywords or professional terms that will make it easy to find you with a simple search.
2) You must include what kind of value your customers or employers will get out of you: simply stating that you’re an IT Specialist working on Java is still not quite there in terms of what the company can actually get from you. You must let them know that you are the best possible candidate out there. While there are a lot of IT Specialists with Java knowledge, some work within the medical field, some work in programming making apps, while others develop games. Specifying precisely the field you are most qualified in, or in what ways you’ve had experience providing services is something that employers want to know.
3) If you were to talk to a little kid, you would not be speaking in a scientific language, right? It’s the same here; you need to address your prospects in the language they understand best. Perhaps you could use some terms that only they would know, plus tailor it specifically to their language. It will make you stand out from the rest of the crowd. It’s important to do this because not only does it make you different, but also puts you higher on the list as someone who knows what he is looking for.
4) Overstating is always bad, no matter where or in what sense it is used. You want to seem modest and likable; bragging or complimenting your accomplishments will give the opposite impression. Even if you were the top-performing employee for three consecutive months, skip it in the headline. When talking about your achievements, try not to overly bore the readers with the excess of statistics, percentages and numbers in general. It’s good to quantify your achievements, but don’t overuse it.
What kind of photo to upload
The simple and obvious one is to make it professional. You could be wondering: should I look straight to the camera, or face with one of my shoulder forward.
Should I have a white background or perhaps a blue background, and countless other worries and uncertainties could be bothering you.
A photo from your distant overseas vacation might be a good idea to post on social media, but not this one. So, some tips to upload the right photo:
- Make sure to have the latest photo depicts your current appearance. It should not more a few years old. If you used to wear glasses and you don’t anymore, or your hair color used to be different, any other drastic change should be exposed or reflected in your photo
- Use a good quality picture. One no-no here is taking a picture off of a picture, then it would not be of good quality. The best way is to take a new and close-up shot.
- Upload a photo where you take up the most space in the picture, of course, 100% of the frame being your face will be way overdone, inappropriate but 60% must be fine, like showing a little of shoulder and face with a smile.
- Don’t take our above advice word for word and occupy 60%, and leave the other 40% to your significant other or someone special, even though it could absolutely be otherwise in real life. 🙂 So, be the only person in the photo.
- Again, being alone does not mean selfies. It is better
to have someone else take your photo while you look straight to the camera.
- This one is very important, and you need to choose the right impression. Most people would choose to smile and it’s a good tactic. It gives away a positive impression. However, we do not insist, you could be a very creative person but not that talkative, so you could choose all kinds of different looks that are positive. And, if it is something you can do, you should definitely do it. Because it will instantly set you apart from the million other people posing with the same old smile.
- Choose your background accurately. When it comes to business with pictures, you don’t want the view to be looking at anything but you, so don’t have a distracting background. It is even better if you can take a photo of your uniform or what you wear at your current job.
- Don’t filter the photo too much. Like putting on hearts or Instagram filters, you don’t want to look cool or up to date, but you want to look you and professional.
How to write a killer summary
Have you heard about 30-second commercials? It is the theory that within 30-seconds of your first encounter with someone important, you need to make the best impression. This is as true for the real-world as is for virtual. We use it as the basis for your summary on LinkedIn. People usually have neither time nor the desire to read through your list of jobs you have done in the past. That is where summary comes to play. You need to play it simple, brief and to the point. Simply tell them what you are all about, and what changes can you bring.
Apart from being brief and to the point, there is this thing called first impressions, right. They are very important in real and virtual life. Moreover, this summary is where you make the best first impression. This is the only section on LinkedIn where you can directly communicate to your reader. So, let your communication speak through your individuality and make you seem different.
This one is more of a trick than a tip. You need to include as many keywords as you can so when recruiters look for candidates you could show up on top. Because the LinkedIn algorithm weighs the summary of the way it does the headlines or job titles. You could have worked in various fields. You can target a certain field by communicating it though.
This part is only for you to know and keep in mind. It is not a “must” like if you find it hard to write a 30-second type of summary, and include all the keywords you are aiming, then leave the keywords but not the short and sharp summary. It is still okay to show up later in the list and get picked then to be the first one to come up on the search only to be dismissed.
Now let us see what you can include in your 30-second intro:
1. Your position and company
2. What you did and how you helped others
Go a bit deeper if necessary but not like two paragraphs deep or something. For example, you worked in an IT field or worked with a specific system, then name the exact software you worked at and what is it you did in as much brevity as possible.
Finally, now that the reader knows who you are and what you do, you just need to add a bit of décor to your personality, thus your passion and what you mean to do.
How to upload your resume in LinkedIn
Although the name of this paragraph suggests, this is not going to be a how-go-guide leading you step by step through the process of uploading your resume, it has been named so only for the purposes of being higher on the search results. However, this section is going to include even more valuable tips and advice that are very useful and applicable to help you land the right job.
Should you upload your resume on LinkedIn?
Should you not upload your resume on LinkedIn?
The answer to the first question can be “YES” and “NO” depending on your specific job application. You might be getting what we are hinting at, if not, read on, it will be explained further.
It would have been counterintuitive to everything we were talking about if the answer to the second question were “No” too. So, the answer to the second question is “YES”.
First off, it is common for most resumes to have your personal information such as your address, phone number, email. This sensitive information shall not be shared with anyone on the social media platform, after all, LinkedIn is one of them.
Did you know that others can download your resume on your profile? You probably did. If you did not, now you do. This is another reason to not upload it on your profile, why add resume to a resume when your LinkedIn profile is like your social media resume?
You can share it with potential employers, and in this very case, you can upload your resume. There is a function in LinkedIn to upload a resume before applying, using what would be recommended with each application.
We bet you have one form of resume. Well, we might be wrong but when you upload your resume to your LinkedIn account, you can only choose one of them. That would’ve made right if we said, one form of resume on your LinkedIn profile 🙂
When you intend to apply for various jobs, which happens, by the way, quite often with everyone. If you have only one form of resume on your LinkedIn profile, the chances of you landing that job decreases. It shows as if you have put zero effort to apply to that vacancy which is absolutely not pleasing to see for any employer.
How to look for a job in LinkedIn
You could look for work in various ways on LinkedIn. One of the most popular and easiest ways to search is first by clicking on the job tab, where you will already have suggestions based on your profile. There is also a search bar on top of the page, not like at the very top of the page but more like a panel below. The panel that is located right beneath the other tabs along the same line as the symbol of LinkedIn. Well, you find it, you will see it easily. It is going to have “search jobs” written within the bar 😉
The second way to search is actually not quite searching. Because there is an update feed at the center of your LinkedIn homepage. You will be shown a bunch of features, posts, and activities of the people or pages you follow, plus recommended job alerts too, and of course, personalized ads.
Groups are a runner up way of finding the kind of job you want. You have a chance of joining up to 100 groups maximum but you can maintain only 30 of them, which means you will need to leave one before joining another.
Being active in your desired group helps you in a lot of ways such as to network, collaborate, or simply just show off your expertise, or even find a job. Just be careful to not be spamming or over-promoting your product and service if you are offering one.
At “GuideMeHow”, we use the company pages to do some research on the company, and its activities and things that they do, look for possibilities for any partnership, naturally, we don’t check out Google’s page and email them about collaborating since we are a slightly smaller blog than them.
So, the same logic applies here, almost. You have to find a group that you like and be a bit active until you find a job you want to apply. Then do the company research, and then apply. Even better if you are able to apply through a referral program many companies have now. To be referred you need to network with a person that works in that company of your interest. Have a look at the person posting the vacancy.
See if you know him or someone from his connections, this is very likely if you have been active and connecting with many people. Even if you can’t connect to him directly, you still can connect to him through one of his connections. And simply message or show your interest then ask if he or she would be willing to bring your resume to light. Be careful to not be stingy, or seem overly desperate or rude.
How to apply for a job in LinkedIn
Isn’t it easy and faster to be just clicking away on the job posts to apply? It is, right. But you should not do it unless you want your resume to be clicked away from the list too.
As mentioned before, people have higher chances of acceptance if referred through someone who works at the company already.
You might not know someone who works there, but it is easy to find out. But you should not straight out ask for a job, that won’t work. Ask about the job, requirements and recruitment process and slowly ease your way of asking for a referral
It is important to fill out each section of the career interest, to let the potential employers know what you are looking for. And being specific and to the point makes you stand out from the rest and increases your chances of visibility as well as chances of your resume being short-listed.
Reach out to common connections if you cannot find them try looking in the groups as we mentioned. If in case you still cannot find any mutual connections, you can try the below.
Reach out to recruiters personally, show your interest, your skills and qualifications, more importantly, what and how you can contribute to the betterment of the company, or the project. When reaching out directly, write a succinct personalized message.
The more personalized and unique it is the higher chances you have of landing the job. Keep in mind, you are not the only visiting their page or gathering information about them. So is with reaching out to your potentials, that is why let your personality shine through your message too. If you get them to read your letter that is 50% what you need to do.
We got your profile set up nice and neat. Wrote an exceptional headline, uploaded a beautiful professional picture, killed it with the summary, and turned your page into a unique, creative, and professional resume, surfed through the platform looking for the job of your dreams.
- How to use LinkedIn
- How to write an exceptional headline
- What kind of photo to upload
- How to write a killer summary
- How to upload your resume in LinkedIn
- How to look for a job in LinkedIn
- How to apply for a job in LinkedIn
Now, our ways must part, reader, apply all these tips and advice, and you are to be one of the few who figured LinkedIn out. All the best in your future endeavors.