Recently, I shared a couple of LinkedIn posts, and many people shared their impressions on what could have been improved or mentioned a couple of things that were wrong.
Leveraging on the feedback I received, I consider it important to share my experiences on what has worked for me on LinkedIn so far.
I thought about writing on LinkedIn optimisation because I realise a lot of people especially fresh graduates, and young professionals don’t have a profile there; or when they do, it’s incomplete or virtually empty. In most cases when they do have pages there, they tend to be inactive on LinkedIn.
I will talk about the Dos and Don’ts on LinkedIn that may guide you in optimising your LinkedIn profile.
Picture: Your picture should be recent and very professional. Selfies at a party are a big NO! LinkedIn is not Facebook. It is a professional site so avoid using pictures that are unprofessional.
Title: Most people use their current job titles as their caption. This is okay but does not make you visible in searches especially if your job title is a little ambiguous. It is preferable to use your profession. Use titles such as Finance Manager, Communications Officer, Fundraising Specialist and so on. Some job titles are easily recognised but, in most cases, others are not. For no reason should you use “seeking for new opportunities” as a title as it makes it difficult for you to be found in searches when recruiters are looking for a professional in your field.
Information: Don’t copy and paste your cover letter here. Most people do that. You have to write a short resume of who you are making sure all you want to sell is captured and then use bullet points or a separate paragraph to write your skills or specialties. The resume so to speak is your elevator pitch or what you will call a career summary of your curriculum vitae. This is very important because when you are being searched, the computer will pick key words on your summary or resume and that is how you will appear. If not well written, you will not be appearing in searches. This means if recruiters search for professionals in your field on LinkedIn, it might be difficult to find you.
Experiences: Starting from the current job, give details of what you did under each job title with key achievements. This usually is not just a copy and paste from your CV. What most people have in their CVs are just job titles. You need to carefully elaborate under each job title what you did, and what you achieved in quantifiable terms so that whoever is reading can easily appreciate these achievements.
Recommendations: Make sure your skills are recommended, and that colleagues and friends write recommendations on your page. This is very important because more recommendations on your page builds confidence in prospective recruiters. It also proves that you have the skills you claim to have, and that you have worked in the places you claim to have worked in. If you are a fresh graduate, get your lecturers to recommend and get colleagues in organisations where you did internships to recommend as well.
LinkedIn Habit: Develop a LinkedIn habit of updating industry related information, following, liking and forwarding your industry’s specific information on your page and writing articles on LinkedIn. This is one of the ways you can gain visibility to companies and decision-makers on LinkedIn.
Networking: Make sure you network with colleagues in the same organisation and colleagues in the same sector in different organisations as well as in organisations you aspire to work in. Also, ensure that you network with industry influencers and HR professionals of organisations you wish to work for. When sending a request to someone you do not know, kindly send an introductory message to them informing them on why you wish to network. Never ever send a “Hi” or “Hello” to someone you do not know on LinkedIn. If it is not possible to send a friend request to your prospects, just click follow on their page and you will be able to follow, comment, and like their messages. This way you become more visible to them as well and on their networks too.
Job seeker: Most often we see people writing that they are job seeking on LinkedIn. Some go as far as saying, “if you can’t help just like the message” for more visibility. This is a very wrong approach for several reasons. First, you will be contacted by a recruiter not because of what you can do but out of pity. Secondly, just saying you are job seeking without stating specific roles and the industry you are interested in will get you nowhere. Thirdly, saying you are a fresh graduate and looking for a job instead of searching for voluntary opportunities or internships that can build their experience too is a very wrong approach. What you must do is state your profession so that it is search worthy. LinkedIn now has a badge you can use as your profile picture which indicates that you are job seeking. The whole idea is to ensure that you are visible and your skills are perceived. You don’t want to sell pity.
The word ‘Interested’ has never gotten anyone a Job. I see a lot of people and even senior professionals clicking interested under jobs they see advertised on LinkedIn. If you see a job advertised and you are interested you can leverage on that to attract the recruiter’s attention. To do so, you can like it to get the recruiters attention and then engage inbox on the job and apply using the instructions provided. Also, you can get a mutual friend of the recruiter to comment and mention your name so the recruiter can see that as well and then you engage with the recruiter. You can also get a friend or a colleague to recommend you for the job as well.
Typing ‘interested’ in the comment section of the post shows you lack networking skills and will not get the recruiters attention for simple reasons that she or he could get 1000 ‘interested’. In most cases if recruiters like your profile on LinkedIn they will contact you.
A lot of people create profiles on LinkedIn as if they were forced to. They do not spend time to update it regularly, and in other cases the page is sometimes scanty. Your LinkedIn profile should be treated as your online CV telling recruiters and networkers who you are and what you can do for them The professional nature of your page, how active it is, and the recommendations can easily tell a recruiter more about you prompting them to engage with you.
After reading this article, kindly ask someone on LinkedIn to search your profession on LinkedIn and see if your name comes up. If it doesn’t, this means your page is not optimised and you need to update it and make sure you are visible. Also check how many people checked your page this week, and how many times you appeared on searches.
Finally ask yourself how many connections you make each week, and how many people have connected with you. If the answer is none, then, you have a lot to do to optimize your LinkedIn page. In all you do, don’t approach a connection from a disadvantaged position. You have something to offer as well, no matter how small.
Thanks for reading and I hope this helps someone.
Remember that, for you to land that dream job, you really need to be on your ‘A’ game. Having a stellar LinkedIn page is one way of getting closer to that dream job or opportunity.