I wanted to write this post because I feel like LinkedIn is an underutilized platform, particularly for people in my age bracket. Oftentimes I hear people saying that they are going to update their profile because they have just started looking for a new job – and let me say, it really shows when you’re only updating it for a job.
If you’re interested in having a career and networking, LinkedIn is a really easy (and free) way to get into it. If you’re a millennial you probably already have the tools you need, growing up with platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
It sounds silly, but I’ve started treating my LinkedIn like any other of those social media platforms. I check it every day, and I try and engage with other people on the platform.
When someone shares that they have gotten a promotion, or completed a big project at work – make sure to comment and congratulate someone. Not just because that person might offer you a job one day, but because you genuinely care about their success.
This really basic networking allows you to build upon the relationships that you already have.
Keep it up to date
In my job, a lot of my customers give me a cheeky stalk on LinkedIn before going into a meeting with me. It’s probably just to get to know my experience and background to understand where my perspective comes from. I recently had a meeting with a new colleague who admitted that he had also checked my LinkedIn, just so he could get to know the kind of person I am.
Have a think about what people will think is important to you based on your LinkedIn profile. If it’s constantly out of date or missing information, you might look disorganised or uncaring. Whereas if it’s correct and thoughtful, the person can feel like they are getting to know you and your personal brand.
I don’t just mean making sure that all the jobs listed on your profile are up to date. It also means checking out the ‘About’ section of your profile, and making sure that it reflects what you want people to know about yourself. In my ‘About’ section I talk about my experience in customer service, and how I feel that it gave me invaluable experience from the perspective of an advocate. My job as a consultant is to be an advisor in customer experience, and I try to highlight my own unique take on it from my experience.
What is it that you offer that is unique?
The headline on your LinkedIn profile can also be a very powerful tool to get people engaged with your profile. There are lots of different schools of thought on this. Some people think it’s important to show your job title in the headline and some think it’s better to put your qualities and experience instead.
I’ve gone with a combination of both, but it is a good idea to check out what other people in your industry are doing. For example in a sales role, putting ‘Sales’ in the headline might not be very engaging. You might want to put something like, ‘building relationships’ or something similar so it sounds a little less commercial.
Show us your face
You’ll also note I have a profile picture and a cover image on my LinkedIn profile. Gone are the days where you would include a picture of yourself on your resume (unless your job is being a supermodel). But people still want to be able to put a face to a name, and the way they typically do that these days is via LinkedIn.
Make sure that the picture you’re using is professional and not one of you at a wedding where you’re cropping your partner’s face out of the picture but you can still see their arm around your shoulder. If you don’t want to have a professional corporate picture taken, you absolutely don’t have to spend to get this done. Just one day chuck on a blazer and ask someone to take a picture of you smiling nicely. No one is looking that closely, but they do want to know that you exist, and seeing a happy smiling person can only help, not hinder.
The cover photo can be a tricky one. I’m lucky enough that Zendesk provides some cover images for us to use. Have a search online and there might be some free cover images you could use. Also consider if there’s any pictures of you presenting at an event, or even if you work as a designer, an image of something you’ve designed.
Hopefully these tips give you a head start! The best piece of advice I can give you is to be consistent and authentic – let people get to know the real you!