Did you know that your LinkedIn profile is one of the first results likely to come up when someone searches for you online?1 And that for many recruiters, LinkedIn is the primary research source for job candidates?2 These are some of the reasons that personal marketing experts say that being on LinkedIn is critical to your professional identity today.
And even if you’re not looking for a job, being active on LinkedIn can help you advance in your current career and can also benefit your employer. According to BlueSteps, a career service for executives, the personal brand or reputation of many executives and their companies’ brands are often viewed as being the same, making it important for them to leverage LinkedIn in the most effective way.3
The following strategies will help you create a strong profile, get the most out of LinkedIn’s networking features, and market yourself effectively to advance your career.
Develop a Strong LinkedIn Profile
The first step is to make sure that your profile is “complete,” which means that you’ve provided enough information to put LinkedIn features to work for you.4 A complete profile means that, at a minimum, you have included:
- A photo
- Your location
- Your industry
- Your education
- Your current work position and description
- Your past two positions
- Your skills
- At least 50 connections
To really reap the benefits of LinkedIn, here are four more key areas to pay attention to:1
- PHOTO: Having a professional and friendly photo adds a personal touch and also ups the chances of someone stopping to look at your profile. According to LinkedIn, profiles with photos get up to 21 times more views than profiles without photos.4
- HEADLINE: Use this personal branding opportunity to present yourself as you would like to be viewed professionally. With 120 characters, broadcast a descriptive title, your unique qualifications, appropriate keywords or buzzwords associated with your profession, or even a saying that represents what you are known for in your professional life.
- SUMMARY: Use the first person (“I”) to add some personality to your professional profile, as well as relevant keywords. You have 2,000 characters to summarize your career highlights, talk about why you do what you do, and even highlight volunteer work to show you’re well-rounded.
- EXPERIENCE: In this section, you can include more of your career history than you often can on a résumé and can also highlight job accomplishments, special projects, publications, and other professional activities. Include appropriate keywords in this section as well.
Build and Contribute to Your Network
Being active on LinkedIn can also help you expand your network. You can invite others who can be a resource for you, or for whom you can be a resource, to be a part of your network. One of the best ways to do this is to send a personalized invite—as opposed to the default invite—stating the reason you want to connect with them. Mention something you have in common to increase your chances of getting your invite accepted.5
Finally, you can communicate your brand and increase your visibility by sharing information with your network.6 Ways to do this include:
- Posting updates and sharing relevant content.
- Writing and publishing useful articles through LinkedIn’s built-in publishing feature.
- Joining and participating in LinkedIn groups.
- Giving recommendations and endorsements to your network.
Following the above steps will help you start experiencing the benefits of the LinkedIn platform—whether you are in a career search or not—and can help you become known for your expertise and make the professional connections you need to reach your professional and career goals.
Advance Your Career Goals
LinkedIn is a popular tool that can help you advance your career, promote your qualifications, and conduct a career search. If you are looking to strengthen your skills to move forward in your current career, or perhaps to change career direction, consider continuing your lifelong learning journey by completing a college degree program. For maximum flexibility, earning an online degree can be a good option for continued education.
As an accredited university, Walden University offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs online. In addition, Walden provides career services to help students with their job and career searches, including strategies for effectively using LinkedIn.
If you are a working professional, earning an online degree from an online school means not having to take a break from your career. Walden University’s flexible learning platform lets you complete online classes at a pace that works for you.
Walden University is an accredited institution offering bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs online. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible learning platform that fits your busy life.
Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.