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Effective LinkedIn profile for your career in 2021

LinkedIn is not just another social media platform. It is one of the most powerful networking arenas in the professional and business world.

Why join LinkedIn

If you are yet to join, I will give you five good reasons why you must be on LinkedIn:

  1. About 67 percent of recruiters use LinkedIn to vet candidates during the hiring process.
  2. Business and organisational leaders network with their contemporaries and also interact with possible hires on the platform.
  3. Some companies advertise open positions on LinkedIn where applicants do direct applications using their professional profile.
  4. Human Resource professionals directly source for talent and invite people to apply for jobs after viewing their profiles.
  5. 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.

How to write an effective LinkedIn profile

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.

1. Write an effective headline

When someone searches for your name or comes across your profile, what description 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?

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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.

2. Show and describe your work and achievements

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”.

3. 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.

4. Show your thought leadership through effective LinkedIn posts

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.

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5. Use a great profile photo

Choose a clear, friendly, and appropriate professional image that aligns to your industry or career. Not sure what “appropriately professional” means? Take a look around at what the people in your industry sector, or business level wear.

There are a few LinkedIn profiles where people do not have their face images, if you are looking to grow a network or career never do that. A photo can go a long way to convey honesty, 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.

6. Use a friendly personal tone

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.

Effective use of LinkedIn for job search

1. Subscribe to LinkedIn job notifications

Make sure you personalize the subscription so that you only receive notifications in your area of interest. Sometimes, if your career path has remote jobs it is ideal not to limit the countries from which you receive these notifications. The world is changing a lot due to technology and the Covid-19 situation has shown that you can do just about any other job from anywhere.

2. Apply for jobs using your profile

This is where a great job specific or career specific profile works magic. In fact some organizations are making it a habit to only accept applications through their LinkedIn applications tool. In case a detailed CV is required, you can always send it afterwards.

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3. Use LinkedIn to network

While learning new skills is a vital aspect in your career development, ensuring they are noticed is 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.

4. Learn and grow

LinkedIn Learning platform offers a variety 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.

This article has been revised to keep up with the times.