With more than 10 million accounts in Australia, it’s imperative to be strategic in the way you use LinkedIn to improve career prospects and make valuable professional connections.
Independent LinkedIn specialist Sue Ellson said people need to start thinking about their LinkedIn profile as more than just an online resume or only being useful when you need to apply for your next job.
LinkedIn can be a powerful tool if you use it in the right way.
Here’s how you can overhaul your LinkedIn profile and benefit from using the professional networking platform:
1. Share your story
Ellson said Australians tend to be quite reserved when it comes to showcasing their achievements or story on LinkedIn.
If you have completed a major project or been recognised with an award, Ellson recommends highlighting this via your LinkedIn profile.
“Be proud, stand tall and showcase your true value,” she said.
For those who have had a career break, Ellson recommends explaining the learnings and achievements you have accumulated during that time in a way that demonstrates your transferable skills.
“If you are not in paid work right now, you still need to list a ‘current’ role so that you can appear in search results. This may include that you are on sabbatical, completing career research, attending courses or volunteering,” she said.
2. Build your own network
For everyone you meet through work, study, hobbies and interests, invite them to join your LinkedIn network. This will help you to keep in touch and allow you to easily reach out to them in future.
Ellson said while the old adage ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’ still rings true, today it’s also about ‘who refers you and how they can verify your authenticity online’.
“If someone hears that you are fabulous, the next step is that they will Google you. If you have updated your LinkedIn profile, it is likely it will appear on the first page of Google search results,” she said.
3. Attract the right opportunities
If you have expertise, you need to showcase it on your LinkedIn profile. Once you are clear on what you are trying to achieve, be sure to select the right keywords and showcase them throughout your LinkedIn profile.
“This is not about being found exclusively for your name based on your reputation. It is about being found for the value you offer,” said Ellson.
This will assist you in attracting relevant opportunities within your field and ensure that people are finding you for your expertise.
4. Show your value
While obtaining written recommendations and votes for your skills are obvious ways to demonstrate your value on your LinkedIn profile, there are more strategic ways to approach this.
Ellson advises having at least six recommendations that you have both given and received, of which you may like to carefully select to work in your favour.
“When someone visits another person’s LinkedIn profile, they may read your recommendation and then look at your LinkedIn profile,” said Ellson.
Your value can also be demonstrated by how you interact on the platform. Do you curate content on topics of interest? Do you write articles that others find helpful? Do you engage with other people’s content (e.g. like, comment and share) rather than just broadcast your own messages? It’s important to show the value you bring by being an engaged user.
5. Share the love
Acknowledge an employer or client by showcasing them in the ‘experiences’ section on your LinkedIn profile and through any content you share.
Tag individuals and companies to include them in conversations and to support them in posts. Also, respond to all comments in a polite and detailed manner, rather than a cursory ‘thanks’, to show that you’re truly engaging with them.
“I even support competitors and share my ideas in an international mastermind discussion group of other LinkedIn specialists,” said Ellson.
“There is plenty for all of us in the digital world – move forward with content, action and authenticity that is aligned with your values, strengths and context.”
Sue Ellson is the author of 120 Ways To Achieve Your Purpose With LinkedIn, as well as other titles. Connect with her on LinkedIn here.