LinkedIn is not just another social media platform. It is one of the most powerful networking arenas in the professional and business world. If you are yet to join, I will give you five good reasons why you must be on LinkedIn:
- About 67 percent of recruiters use LinkedIn to vet candidates during the hiring process.
- Business and organisational leaders network with their contemporaries and also interact with possible hires on the platform.
- Some companies advertise open positions on LinkedIn where applicants do direct applications using their professional profile.
- Human Resource professionals directly source for talent and invite people to apply for jobs after viewing their profiles.
- Thousands of learning resources both by LinkedIn and influencers and professional groups help you buttress your experience.
Now more than ever, active social media presence is a good sign to employers. About 1.3 million Kenyans use LinkedIn, which is a drop in the bucket compared to Facebook for example which has about 5 million active users. This is despite the former being the more beneficial of the two.
However, most members have not exploited the full benefits of the professional social media platform largely because they have no idea on how to do it. It’s not enough to just have an account. You have to know exactly how to use it so you can progress professionally.
Whether entry level or experienced, you should have an active and optimized LinkedIn profile. We’ve shared a number of sure-fire strategies on how best to use LinkedIn for career success.
Your Headline Is the most important
When someone searches for your name or comes across your profile, what sentence follows your name? Is it something vague like Administration Professional at Senga Limited, for example? Or does your headline fail to communicate because it is written so poorly?
The best way to write a LinkedIn headline is to include the industry specific keywords. For example, if you are a copywriter write something like a copywriter who knows how to craft web content that translates business objectives into communication strategies and tactics. This will make you stand out to recruiters, if they go searching for a copywriter.
Show your work
During research for this piece, I found out that most Kenyans just state their job titles on their profile without any further explanation. No accomplishments, previous job descriptions, just what their offer letter said. This is a mistake.
You should use the real estate on your profile to show your work. Say exactly what you did when holding that position at a company. Think about your profile as your digital CV, one you can confidently use to “Apply with my profile”.
Avoid using clichés
Using words such as hardworking or determined is sounds quite generic and does nothing to showcase your uniqueness. Swap these words with action verbs. Take a look at these commonly used words and think about replacing them with action verbs that will help you to stand out from the crowd.
Learn and grow
LinkedIn Learning platform offers a myriad of opportunities for self-development in varied professions. This is a feature you must take advantage of if you are not already doing so.
Also, there are hundreds of professional that you can join. Joining LinkedIn groups and actively participating in discussions expands your network. Engaging in conversations with other group members keeps you connected, lets you express your point of view and allows you to stay current with the most important trends and news in your field.
You can see which topics are relevant, which practices are becoming obsolete, be alerted to content you may have missed, and stay at the forefront of different views related to your industry and job function.
Show your thought leadership
LinkedIn has a blogging feature which you can use to position yourself as an expert in your field. You will attract a large following if you remain relevant, writing both long and short informative posts.
The LinkedIn long-form publishing feature gives you the opportunity to convey your thought-leadership and achieve visibility. It also helps you enhance your credibility by reinforcing your profile with content visible to possible recruiters and business partners.
Use LinkedIn to network
While learning new skills is a vital aspect in your career development, ensuring they are recognized is almost as important. Create a network of professionals in your field around you.
Networking does not come naturally to everyone. LinkedIn has made it easier to engage with industry colleagues, thought leaders and other professionals. If you attend a traditional networking events, connect with the people you meet.
You shouldn’t use the first person on your CV, but it’s actually fine to do so on LinkedIn. Your profile is not a traditional resume. Write as if you are having a conversation with someone. Inject your personality. Let people know your values and passions. In your summary, discuss what you do outside of work. You want people to want to know more about you.
Use a great profile photo
Last but not least choose a clear, friendly, and appropriately professional image. Not sure what “appropriately professional” means? Take a look around at what the people in your industry sector, or business level wear.
A photo can go a long way to convey passion, energy, charisma, empathy, and other soft skills that are hard to write about. It is just one of the many LinkedIn strategies you can use to boost your career.