Social media is always changing – so much in fact that you may wonder if what used to be ‘in’ is now so ‘out’ you don’t need to bother with it. The case in point: LinkedIn. Launched in 2002 as the social media network designed exclusively for professional purposes, you may wonder if LinkedIn is still relevant to your career search today. In short, the answer is absolutely.
As of January 2019, LinkedIn reported 590 million users (154 million in the US), plus a growth rate of 2 new members per second. 61 million users are senior level influencers and over 40 million members are in decision-making positions. While only 58 million
millennials use Facebook (another ‘older’ platform), nearly 88 million millennials use LinkedIn. To sum things up, a cohesive and noteworthy LinkedIn profile is a crucial element of any employment presence. Your peers and position competitors are likely to be on the platform, as well as your prospective employers.
With the acknowledgement that LinkedIn is just one facet (albeit an important one) of your overall employment profile, here are 5 tips to keep your profile in top shape without taking a ton of your time.
KNOW WHERE TO USE KEYWORDS (AND WHICH TO USE)
What your job skills are, and which results demonstrate your performance are likely to be showcased throughout your profile. But keep in mind that similarly to any online content, your searchability is impacted by the elephant in the room known as SEO. Your accomplishments may never be seen if your profile is not found. Be sure that your most relevant and powerful keywords are used in your headline and in your summary. Employers will not be looking for a mere listing of relevant keywords separated by commas, but how well they are integrated into your profile.
Utilize your summary as an elevator pitch infused with congruent keywords. Not sure which keywords to use? Gather ideas by taking a look at professionals in your industry who have the type of job you desire.
One more trick: scroll through positions in LinkedIn’s job posting boards and review the qualifications under the job descriptions. Note the difference between these high-value keywords and generic traits that solicit less traction.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
It’s an unfortunate reality that SEO algorithms change all the time and can be hard to keep up with. One of the newer and more notable reported SEO LinkedIn trends is related to location. Renowned LinkedIn Trainer Mark Williams reports that location is now a critically important factor even when no location filters are applied. The message for users is to update your postal code to where you believe the jobs will be.
CREATE A CUSTOM URL
A polished LinkedIn profile isn’t only about being noticed, but also about demonstrating your commitment to a professional presence to employers you have found. By updating your automatic (yet gibberish filled) LinkedIn URL to one that you select (such as your name without all those wired numbers and letters!), you also end up with a simple website you can add to your resume or input on your email signature when following up with job prospects. You may stand out from the candidate who does not provide a link to their profile or from those who have not updated their given LinkedIn URL’s.
Have you ever noticed that when updating your LinkedIn profile, you have the option to add media to your summary and employment sections? That’s right, you can use videos, PowerPoint presentations, images and documents in these sections to validate and provide examples of your skills and accomplishments. 1-3 carefully selected media uploads per your summary and most recent experience sections can speak volumes. (Be sure to use material that is disclosable and not in violation of any agreements you have with your employer about content ownership.)
RELATE & RECIPROCATE
The next two sections that add value to your profile are most powerful with a little third-party assistance. Both skills and recommendations are eye-catching and search-worthy. While your skills can and should be maximized to 50, note that skills rank higher in recent search tests when they have been endorsed by your peers. The best way to promote this is to endorse the skills of others and hope that professional courtesy dictates a similar response. The process is similar for recommendations; while you cannot recommend yourself – you can provide a compelling recommendation of a colleague who will be so thrilled that they ask if they can return the favor. 😉
Whether you are already an established LinkedIn user or have just uncovered the relevance of this platform in your job search today – we hope the tips above will help you with focused and efficient investment of your time and energy. A cohesive and polished profile is just one spoke in that steel wheel of career success that is already turning. Don’t be afraid to give it some momentum!