With nearly 400 million professionals in more than 200 countries gathering in one place online, setting up a good LinkedIn profile should be the first thing on every businesswoman’s to-do list. But, once you’ve ticked that box, one very important question remains - what do you do with next?
When used correctly, it can help your career to flourish – but it’s worth remembering that LinkedIn is so much more than just a social media account: it’s a tool. And copying and pasting half-heartedly from your CV will only unlock a fraction of its potential.
We’ve asked LinkedIn’s Head of Global Consumer Communications Darain Faraz for his top tips on making your LinkedIn profile work just as hard as you do.
How to use your LinkedIn profile (and maximise its potential)
1. Personalise your headline and URL
These are the first things potential employers, recruiters and business connections will see on your profile.
Your headline follows your name in search hit lists and sums up your professional brand, so make sure it’s eye-catching, includes industry buzzwords in your headline – and don’t forget accreditation initials specific to your field, which recruiters also search for.
And don’t forget to customise the URL below your headline; this will increase your search results and make it easier to direct people to your profile (which can be particularly useful if you have a common name). A customised URL also looks great in email signatures and on business cards.
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2. Update your status
This is the place to show off your professional accomplishments and progress; that can be a promotion, a new project, or sharing a new article you’ve written. Not only will this help you to blow your own trumpet (hey, nobody else is going to blow it for you), but it will also keep your profile feeling fresh, and show you’re active and engaged.
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3. Find out what you’re really worth
It can be difficult to find reliable and honest salary information online, which is why the new LinkedIn Salary Tool is such a god-send. It allows you to suss out your earning potential and find the best paying roles. Based on salary data from LinkedIn’s 460+ million members, you can discover which factors affect pay, and the locations, industries and companies that pay the most, to help you make better career choices.
4. Meet a mentor
Whether you want to progress in your current role, or make a complete career change, having a mentor is one of the best things you can do for your career. Use LinkedIn to check out the people already doing your dream job and see how they got there to map out the next steps in your own career.
Once you’ve found someone who’s a good fit, write them a personal message on LinkedIn and tell them why you’d value their advice.
5. Make the most of LinkedIn Groups
It’s never been cooler – or smarter – to be a groupie. By joining LinkedIn Groups for your industry and participating in discussions or sharing relevant articles within those groups, you increase your chances of success.
Not only will you be in the loop about what’s going on in your field, including hearing about new jobs as they pop up, but, when you comment and make connections in that group, you’ll also get your name in front of the people you want to work for. It’s a win-win situation.
6. Publish articles on LinkedIn Pulse
The publishing platform is an incredible way to show off your knowledge and make a name for yourself; just select ‘Pulse’ from the ‘Interests’ menu to get to the Pulse homepage, and then click ‘Publish a post’ in the upper right-hand corner.
The editor tool is reasonably straightforward and easy to navigate – not to mention intuitive. All you really need to worry about is writing a focused, authentic article about an area in which you have expertise; long-form posts are better received than shorter articles, boosting your credibility, and uploading pictures, videos, presentations, and documents is a great way to showcase concrete examples of your experience.
Just make sure you get someone to review and edit it before you hit publish.
And remember… your boss doesn’t have to know you’re looking for a new job
If you’re looking for a new job, let your network know (even if you don’t want your current employer to). LinkedIn recently launched the ‘Open Candidates’ feature that allows you to signal to recruiters that you’re open to new job opportunities.
It works like an on-off switch and means you can privately indicate which types of jobs you’re interested in and would like to hear more about.
For more profile-boosting tips from Darain Faraz, be sure to follow him on LinkedIn.