LinkedIn is becoming crucial for job seekers to find new and exciting job opportunities. It has quickly become known as the business platform to build up a reputation as an expert in your field, connect with colleagues (both new and old) and find new opportunities in the marketplace. Whether you're looking for a job or not, if used right LinkedIn can help you progress in your career and stay at the top of people's minds. Here are eight tips to get started on LinkedIn and boost your online career reputation!
Use your headline
Your LinkedIn headline is one of the first things people will see when they come across your profile. By default, LinkedIn will use your current job title and employer. Consider using it to the best of your ability. It can be a great chance to market yourself, use keywords or something descriptive. You have 120 characters to sell yourself. Use all the 120 characters for keywords to make yourself stand out and come up in people's search results.
Join LinkedIn Groups
Join LinkedIn groups relevant to your career, profession and industry. It is a great way to network and find like-minded people. Remember to check in with the groups you have joined and engage in one way – whether commenting on a post, liking a post or asking a question. It gives you a chance to interact with other professionals, puts your name up for recognition and can help establish you as an expert in your field. Could you always consider starting a group yourself? Do you have information that others can benefit from? It's free to make groups, you never know who is interested in your information or wish to connect.
Post LinkedIn updates
Even by just posting one status update a week on LinkedIn, it shows to your network that you are aware of what's going on in your industry. It's also a great way to promote your personal blog or your company's blog. It's simple and easy to do. This little bit of effort can position you as an expert in your field really quickly.
Ask for recommendations
Many people wait to ask for recommendations until they're on the job hunt. Instead, if a client or colleague gives you positive feedback, ask them to recommend you on LinkedIn then so the recommendation is about a specific project rather than about your general working attitude. It's good etiquette if someone gives you the recommendation to return the favour.
Choose a good profile picture
First impressions count, make sure your photo is friendly and professional. People are more likely to click on a profile that has a profile image. Avoid group shots or low-quality pictures. Everyone should have a decent quality photo that they can add, if not take one with your mobile phone, the resolution will be suitable. Try to use one that is by yourself and not cut others out of the image. Consider these tips when deciding on an image to use:
Choose a photo that looks like you, if it doesn't look like you, it can question your credibility.
Make sure your face takes up 60% of the image, don't be the guy that has a picture of himself on top of a distant mountain peak. It's very cool that you have been to a great place but people have no idea what you look like.
Choose the right expression, don't look too scary, you don't have to wear a big goofy grin if that feels unnatural, but don't look too serious (aka scary).
Consider your clothes, you don't want to be over or underdressed. Match your clothes to your professional image. Stick away from patterns and bright colours.
Pick a background that isn't too distracting, keep it simple you don't want it to distract from your face.
Read our blog on optimizing your LinkedIn photo here.
Get your Custom URL
Getting a custom URL will make sharing your LinkedIn profile much neater. Simply head to your profile, click “Edit Profile”, go to your basic information section at the top, find the “Public Profile URL” and click “Edit”. Change the URL to your name and save by clicking “Set Custom URL”. Your LinkedIn profile may be promoted on the signature of your email address, your website, your blog and business cards. It may also be added to your resume as an additional resource that an employer can go to in order to scope out your experience, knowledge, skills and connections. It's easier for you to remember and for people to remember you.
Send your LinkedIn messages to your email inbox
Make sure your LinkedIn private messages get send to the email address you use the most so you don't miss important messages. You can register more than one email address and decide on the one you would prefer for your primary address.
Have at least 50 connections
There are over 303 million active LinkedIn users per month. If you have few connections it will either look like you don't network, you know few people in the industry, or it will give the impression that you don't work well with new technology and adapting to social media. Do however be careful to not add people you don't know as your profile can be suspended if enough users indicate that they don't know you. If you're short on connections, you can use your email to search for people in your address book, consider linking them together. If you are a recent graduate, keep in touch with other graduates from your graduating year, it's a good way to keep in contact with people in your industry.