Social media is a part of modern life. We check in to our favourite restaurants, tag our friends, create profiles, upload pictures, and share our thoughts online on a day-to-day basis. But when we’re sharing every part of ourselves online, how can we be sure that we’re perceived in the appropriate context when we’re using social media to facilitate our professional lives?
Are you a LinkedIn lightweight or a heavyweight champ? Follow the tips below to find out.
Use your full name so people can find you and customise your profile URL
Having a LinkedIn profile can help potential employers to find you, so make sure you’re not hiding behind a nickname or a screen name. Use your full name, or the name that you use at work, on your school certificates and on your CV. Make sure that all the right people can find you and become a part of your professional network.
Upload a professional looking picture
Your profile will be more engaging if other users can see your face. So use a nice clear picture of yourself. Avoid uploading pictures that aren’t of you – a picture of your favourite cartoon character might not be the best representation of you as a professional person.
Make sure that your profile photo is suitable for your professional environment. Are you wearing a work appropriate outfit in your photo? Are you smiling? Are you in a respectable location? No party pictures or bathroom ‘selfies’, please!
Use key words in your job title
What types of words would an employer use to describe the employee they want to hire? Think of the key terms that a recruiter might use to find you if they didn’t know your name. Be specific with the way that you describe your job title, so that people within your industry can easily find you using these keywords.
Write a summary that details who you are
Think of your summary as your sales pitch. If there are 100 candidates for a role, and they each have a similar employment background, how can you stand out from the crowd? Use the summary to tell employers what makes you different from those hundred other candidates. Write the summary as though you are pitching yourself to the CEO of the company you want to work with, and really promote your skills.
Gain credibility by connecting to people you’ve worked and studied with
LinkedIn is a social network, so don’t forget to add connections to your network. Search for friends that you wouldn’t mind being connected to professionally, as well as classmates from university and people you’ve worked with in the past or that you’ve met at industry events. This will help you gain credibility in a professional sense, as each connection will signify a potential reference or endorsement of your character or work.
List your successes and achievements with your work history
Don’t just list the dates you worked at companies in the past. Describe the successes and achievements you experienced within those dates. Detail the responsibilities you had at each of your previous roles, and tell your network about the things you’re proud of accomplishing in your professional life so far.
Show your qualifications
You’ve worked hard to graduate from your studies, so make sure that you list all of your qualifications on LinkedIn. This will help others to relate to you based on their associations and connections to different coursework, and different schools and alumni that they may have associated with in the past.
Remember that your LinkedIn page is a public profile that your colleagues and acquaintances will be reading. If you lie, it’s pretty likely that someone will spot the fib on your profile page and point it out. Not only would that be embarrassing, but it could give you a reputation for being untrustworthy or deceitful.
Just like a resume, make sure that there are no mistakes on your LinkedIn profile. Spelling mistakes and typos can give the impression that you lack attention to detail and patience.
When inviting people to connect with you on LinkedIn, try personalising your connection requests. You want the people in your network to feel as though you are choosing to connect with them in particular, and not as though you’re connecting with everybody to boost your network numbers!
Show that you have expert knowledge in your field and that you’re capable of having interesting discussions relating to your work or your industry by joining groups and participating in conversations with other professionals with similar interests and skills.