Why Every Professional Should Have LinkedIn

career, College Tips, Professional

At first glance, LinkedIn might seem like just another extra social media profile that you’ll have to constantly check and engage with- until you get bored or need a social media detox again. But if you’ve already got a LinkedIn account, you know that this platform is quite unlike the others. Sure, it’s got the classic newsfeed and ability to like, comment, or share posts. But it’s also got something that not even giants like Instagram or Facebook can match- and that’s professional networking.

Photo from pexels.com

When I first built my LinkedIn profile 6 years ago in late 2014, I was also skeptical about whether or not this was a “have one just to have it” or a “have one because you need it” type of platform. But as someone working in the marketing and communications world, I quickly realised that by simply building a profile, I had hit the jackpot.

Let me break down just how I got started using LinkedIn. My journey with marketing began back when I worked as an intern at a startup in the Silicon Valley called “Gorilla Branders.” There, I learned a great deal about how to use social media, create content, and the importance of networking- even just as a small startup. That’s when my colleagues recommended that we all set up our LinkedIn profiles. It made our company look more official and professional, while also building up our profiles to stand out in the industry.

My colleagues helped me set up my profile, which involved getting headshots of each person on the team, creating a clear job description, endorsing one another’s skills, listing our job experience, and writing recommendations for one another. We also threw in some personal interests, like companies we wanted to follow and people we found inspirational. Once we were done, each of us had a “digital resume” that could easily be passed along either when networking or looking for future job opportunities.

Photo by bongkarn thanyakij from Pexels

Ready to create your own LinkedIn profile or freshen up your current one? Without further ado, here are my top 10 tips to building your own epic LinkedIn profile:

1) Use a great photo/headshot – A picture can give you 1000+ connections

  • Even if it’s a selfie, just make sure to keep it professional. You never know who might be checking your profile, so it’s best to keep it classy.
  • Don’t forget to add a simple but complimentary cover photo that highlights your headshot appropriately. For example, I used a black and white photo of an Adidas shoe to highlight my current job at Adidas.

2) Make your “About Me” similar to an elevator pitch

  • Whether it’s short and sweet or a bit longer and more descriptive, make sure that this section really highlights your best attributes, skills, and (if you’re looking for a job) something that makes you a good candidate within your industry.

3) Include relevant job experience with clear job descriptions

  • Remember, less is more. While you might have worked part-time as a lawnmower for your very first job, this is something you wouldn’t really want to include on your LinkedIn profile.
  • Instead, choose something more recent that reflects which direction you want to go in your career. Even if it’s volunteer experience, that free work could land you the paid job you’ve been searching for.
  • Then, make sure to have clear job descriptions for each one. This can be a short paragraph or just a few clear bullet points. Your choice! Pro tip- check out your current job description in your contract or see what your colleagues have written about their positions on their own profiles.
Photo by Lisa Fotios from Pexels

4) Connect, connect connect!

  • Start with the people you know, and then move on to seeing what you have in common with their connections. This can be as they pop up in your feed, or directly on the “My Network” tab. The great thing about this tab is that it also shows you “industry leaders” in your country, along with mutual connections you have.
  • Sending messages is also important when connecting to ensure the person on the other side sees you’re not just spamming their feed. Add something personalised, like how you heard about them, complimenting their work/recent achievements, or simply why you’re interested in connecting with them.

5) Privacy & accepting connections

  • Taking the previous point into account, it’s also important to know who you’re connecting with. While lots of people on LinkedIn are looking for genuine networking opportunities, you have to be smart about weeding out any fake profiles, scams, or spam messages that aren’t looking for genuine connections.
  • Just like any other social media platform, your data is precious to LinkedIn and therefore should also be precious to you. Be careful with your privacy settings and build your network just as you would in the real world, if you were to see them in person.

6) Scroll that feed!

  • It’s important stay informed about your industry, interact with your connections, and encourage them along their career paths as well. Scrolling your feed for a couple minutes can give you lots of useful information about current events, recent achievements/work anniversaries within your network, and new users you can follow.
  • That’s the other great thing about LinkedIn- you can see posts that your connections are liking from their own network! This is a great resource for connecting with people outside of your network and enhancing the content on your newsfeed.

7) To post or not to post…

  • I’ve found that sharing posts both from within and outside of my network is a great way to get people to view my profile. Otherwise, I try to also create my own posts consisting of my personal blog, my podcast, or just articles that I found interesting/relevant to my industry.
  • Looking for a job? Don’t be shy- write a short post about your skills and desires for your next job, then encourage your network to share it! Many of my friends have used this method to try and find their next job, while showing recruiters that they’re actively searching.

8) Following the right people

  • Are you following industry leaders that will uplift you and provide useful resources on your newsfeed? Much like other social media platforms, who you follow is important because that person and the information they post will be in your newsfeed.
  • In addition, other users can see your interests and who you’re following- so make sure it’s something relevant to your interests and/or the industry that you’re working in.

9) Searching for jobs

  • With all of your job history in one place, it’s a no-brainer that you should conduct your job search on LinkedIn as well! Though there are many platforms out there for finding a job, I love that LinkedIn has a great format for listing jobs and including an easy way to apply.
  • LinkedIn also shows you which companies have viewed your profile and offers you the chance to view the original job listing on that company’s website!

10) LinkedIn Learning – Getting certifications & skills

  • So this is a perk that might not be available to you unless you or your company is paying to provide it- but it’s something that I have used and can highly recommend. LinkedIn Learning grants you access to a myriad of skills and learning opportunities, plus a shiny certificate that immediately gets posted to your LinkedIn profile.
  • I’ve tried courses in social media, analytics, marketing, SEO, and CRO. It costs $29.49 per month, but LinkedIn also offers a 1-month free trial for new users. Click here to check it out (not a sponsored link).
Photo from pexels.com

Some of you might be thinking, “Why do I need this? I am just a/an ____” (fill in the blank). But even though I was “just an intern” back in 2014, I witnessed firsthand the immense potential of having a LinkedIn profile- and it has brought me countless connections and opportunities to this day. Regardless of your current job situation and/or student status, LinkedIn is an incredible resource for both personal branding and building a professional network. Plus, it’s absolutely free for anyone to use! So there’s really no reason not to build or even optimise your profile with using some of the tips in this blog.

Already have a job? Well, that’s another great reason to get yourself on LinkedIn. One saying I’ve heard pretty often is that you should “never stop looking” for opportunities, even if you’re already super happy at your current job. You never know when that next opportunity is coming, and it could be just inches away- right on your screen the next time you log in. If anything, your profile is helping to build your personal brand and even support your current company by getting their name out there as well.

Unlike other social media platforms, the perks of LinkedIn aren’t limited to just scrolling and using hashtags. You’re building genuine, personal connections with real professionals all across the globe.

Want to learn more about LinkedIn and how networking can boost your career profile? Check out my podcast episode with LinkedIn expert, Scott Aaron, below:

I hope this blog post helped you in some way, and I really appreciate you stopping by!

Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn by viewing my profile here.

Still have questions? Comment on this post directly or email me at gyomonreal@gmail.com.

*Note: This blog is 100% not sponsored by LinkedIn- all opinions / statements written here are my own.

Optimise Your Personal Branding Through Social Media

Professional, Uncategorized

In today’s bustling world of technology and online socializing, it’s critical for anyone entering the professional world to make a positive impression in all areas- including on social media. Though it can be difficult to find a balance between putting your personal versus professional side online, there are some social media pages where flexibility is valued. Depending on the profession, a slight emphasis on your “fun” side could be just what employers are looking for. The important part is knowing where to draw the line between social media outlets meant for privacy and those that can be manipulated to fit your career aspirations.

Let’s break down the different forms of social media, starting with the most personal and private. When it comes to privacy, Snapchat, Facebook, and Twitter are most often used for social interactions with close friends. They offer private messaging, calling, video/photo sharing, and repeatedly feature political, religious, and/or societal discussions. Granted, some people use Facebook to create special pages for their businesses or talents. These pages are the exception to the rule- but unless you’re an actor or business owner, there’s no need to create your own Facebook page.

For platforms like Snapchat and Facebook, enforcing strict privacy settings is probably the smartest option- especially if you like to post opinionated content or you’re just venting about your day. Again, these are more personal forms of social media and it’s probably best if a potential employer doesn’t catch which bar you went to last night on your Snapchat/ Instagram story or what your religious/ political/ relationship status is on Facebook and Twitter.

Bottom Line: Don’t add your employers on these social media outlets unless they’re either really close friends or they already know these things about you.

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As mentioned earlier, privacy settings are a great way to separate your personal life online from the professional side you want employers to see. Because privacy is immediately an option for most social media outlets, try to figure out which ones you’d like to use for work and which ones are strictly for play. Instagram is a very flexible outlet that creates a balance between the two- without spilling all of your personal beliefs. As an image-heavy site, it’s a great way to portray your personal interests while simultaneously showcasing your personal branding skills with hashtags, creative captions, and tagging of relevant brands.

Don’t let the numbers get in the way- having the most followers or likes isn’t always a deciding factor for getting the job. Instead, focus on using Instagram to show employers your “fun” side and the numbers will come later. How do you spend your vacation time? What kind of creative outlets are you interested in? What are your hobbies and (healthy) recreational interests? Use specific hashtags and add your location in travel photos so others can see where you’ve been and follow your adventures. If you keep posting things that you enjoy, you’ll discover how many other people share your interests… and maybe even have something to reference when your employer brings up their favorite travel destinations or obsession with hiking.

Of course, avoid posting excessively racy photos, drinking, drugs, or any kind of inappropriate behavior in these images (unless that’s the kind of job you’re looking for). Save your Las Vegas selfies, cat photo collection, or college drinking conquests for another Instagram page. From beautiful photography and art to simple photos laughing with friends at a bonfire, emphasize the positive activities in your life so employers can see just how vibrant your personality is.

Bottom Line: Like it or not, today’s employers are consistently checking the background of applicants to see what they’re signing up for. Make sure you’re the one in control of how you look online- turn on the privacy settings for pages you don’t want them to see!

For an example of a personal/ professional Instagram aesthetic using fun travel photos (my favorite way to spend time off), check out my Instagram in the screenshot below, or click this link to go straight to my page. There, you’ll see how I like to use hashtags and posting techniques I’ve learned from managing social media pages for different businesses in the marketing industry.

insta jpg

While trying to keep up with your appearance to employers, don’t forget to put just as much effort into doing your homework on the company itself. A great way to do this is to start by Googling them, scroll through their social media pages, or find them on LinkedIn. Just as it’s important for you to look professional online, most companies work hard to maintain their own social media pages and provide up-to-date information for potential employees.

LinkedIn is an excellent professional social media outlet that can be used for networking, finding jobs, endorsing skills, and presenting your resume/ past experience. If you haven’t yet created one, it’s a great idea to make a LinkedIn page before applying for a job. With this outlet, you can research the company itself and start connecting with employees even before you land that interview. For a simple example of a LinkedIn profile, check out this link of my profile. I included a professional headshot, my resume, descriptions of past jobs, and a few of my skills endorsed by coworkers and friends.

Another excellent resource for presenting yourself professionally online is to create a website or blog. Blogging is an excellent way to attract employers by demonstrating your talent for writing- a highly coveted skill in any industry. As you may have noticed, the personal/ professional blog you’re currently reading was created using WordPress. Here are some other excellent free blogging services, like Bluehost, Weebly, and Squarespace. By creating a personal website or blog, you take control of exactly how you want to portray yourself to employers using a personalized platform.

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Finally, one of the best tips I found for marketing yourself online is to create a “social media loop.” Upon drawing viewers to your profile on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, a smart marketing move is to always include links to your other social media profiles. For example: when people see my Instagram page, the only link in my personal description box at the top of my profile leads directly to my blog posts here on WordPress. Then, once visitors are brought to my website, I include links to several of my other social media pages. The “loop” continues from there, with visitors bouncing between social media platforms and spending as much time as possible on my different pages.

By implementing a “social media loop” across all of your social media pages, you’ll hold viewers’ attention even longer and direct their gaze toward what you want them to see (your resume, website, photography, or just fun facts about who you are). Whether these visitors are friends or potential coworkers and employers, it’s important to create this loop to showcase your personal branding talent. Though this “loop” will especially count towards getting marketing and advertising jobs, it’s common practice for most companies to value an extensive social media presence in today’s advanced and competitive job industry.

Below is a screenshot from a free presentation by World Nate, “How To Build A Social Media Following.” In this slide, Nate’s girlfriend (and travel buddy) Hannah Martin outlines the importance of having a “social loop.” Her social loop connects various social media outlets to gain followers and promotion from her target audience: introverted travelers. Beginning with her Instagram page, a link takes visitors to her blog, where she features multiple other social media platforms. While this marketing “loop” is unique to their business (travel), it’s a great way to show employers your interests and keep them trapped on your various platforms so you are the candidate that remains at the front of their mind once they start scheduling interviews.

social loop.jpg

So, let’s go over the main points again:

  • Keep your personal life private on social media- avoid adding coworkers or future employers as friends (unless it’s a work-friendly platform like LinkedIn)
  • It’s ok to have a mix of personal and professional on your page– just be sure to keep it tasteful so that employers will take you seriously
  • Just as employers will likely investigate your social media platforms, you too should research their company and how they market themselves online. This can come in handy during interviews- what better candidate than someone who already did their homework!
  • Creating a website proves you can handle basic web-page formatting and highlights assets that might not be on your social media platforms (writing skills, photography, videography, etc.)
  • Capture your audience’s attention for even longer by creating a “social media loop.” Do this by simply linking different social media pages or websites on every platform and making it easy for your audience to scroll through each one.

That’s it! Thank you so much for reading this blog, and stay tuned for more helpful tips every week from yours truly. If you have any more questions regarding personal branding, how to use different social media platforms, or professional inquiries please contact me via email or messenger on one of my social media pages. Oh, and don’t forget to follow me to keep up with future blog posts!