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.
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.
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.
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).
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Note: This blog is 100% not sponsored by LinkedIn- all opinions / statements written here are my own.