How to win at LinkedIn
'Be a flamingo in a flock of pigeons.' We're not too sure what flamingos and pigeons would be doing hanging around together but you get the gist.
Potential employers and employees, current and future colleagues, clients, suppliers and recruiters/head-hunters are all people who might be looking at your LinkedIn profile (not to mention your exes and old schoolmates who might be snooping!). Your LinkedIn profile is often the first thing people will see about you so it’s important to make sure it’s saying what you want it to. It may seem obvious but they can go all kinds of wrong (we’ve seen it, very wrong).
A headshot where you’re smiling and natural is the way to go. If you don’t have one that’s right, why not ask a friend to take your photograph? They know you and will be honest with you about what’s appropriate. LinkedIn is for business so save the selfies for Facebook and Instagram. Remember, it’s all about first impressions…
Okay here’s where you want to lay down. It’s the first thing someone looking at your profile will read so you’ll want to be memorable, clear and succinct. Who are you? What do you do? What are you offering and what can you do for your audience? Keep it to a few lines so people stay switched on and engaged. Of course if you’re happy where you are and are selling your company then the focus will be quite different in this section.
Top tip* If you’re looking for a new job make sure your status says that you’re available or looking for work.
'What are you offering and what can you do for your audience?'
LinkedIn is a good place to expand on your CV. Include all the usual info, dates to and from and responsibilities etc. and then also the clients you worked on at those places. Make sure you fill in the gaps - maybe you had a year out travelling or pursuing personal projects – it’s worth sticking that in there too.
Don’t choose too many – keep it to the point. Big up the skills you want people to focus on and veer away from the things you don’t want to pursue. If you’ve done the occasional bit of headline copywriting and enjoyed it – include it. But if you’ve also worked on annual reports, for example, and don’t want to keep doing it, then leave it out.
The more, the merrier. Employers usually ask for two references, but LinkedIn can be more inclusive. It’s a reflection of your work/education history and the impact and mark you’ve made. So 360 recommendations from ex bosses, colleagues and even clients and suppliers shows the good relationships you’ve built along the way.
These are great if they’re relevant – so don’t accept ones from people you haven’t actually worked with or on skills that you don’t feel confident in. Recruiters can search these so you want to make sure you’re being found by the right people for the right job.
'Big up the skills you want people to focus on and veer away from the things you don’t want to pursue.'
It’s always good to be on top of your game and know what’s going on in your sector. A good LinkedIn profile will get you so far, but creating and sharing content is even better. Being active will gain you valuable and relevant connections and hopefully some golden opportunities.
LinkedIn change their products regularly which sometimes means a change of interface – so try to keep up to date on that. Also - keep your LinkedIn profile updated – you never know who might look at it and you want to be seen at your best don’t you?