Even if practically every professional has a LinkedIn profile, there are still lots of people out there who have absolutely no idea how to make the most out of their presence on the largest professional social network out there. Most workers think that filling out a profile is the end of story. But it’s not.
For a LinkedIn account to bring real benefits, you need to actively participate in group discussions and engage with the community using various available functionalities like endorsements or recommendations. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Here are 7 essential things you should be doing on LinkedIn but you probably aren’t.
1. Write an attention-grabbing headline
You won’t realize how important the headlines are until you conduct a few searches in the LinkedIn user database yourself. The headline is displayed right next to your name and picture, so it’s part of your professional identity. Most professionals simply write down their current position.
But what if your official title doesn’t reflect what you do and what matters to you?
This is where you express your personal brand. Moreover, if your status is a bit complicated, you can use the headline to show it as well. If you’ve just founded a startup, but are still working your old developer job, write something like “Software Developer and Startup Co-Founder”, and explain the details in the summary.
2. Get rid of connections that don’t really bring you any benefit
Even if it sounds counter-intuitive, it’s the best thing you can do. This isn’t Facebook and no recruiter will be impressed by the number of your connections. It’s the quality of your network that matters most, so if you don’t want to be associated with certain sectors, feel free to remove these connections.
It’s telling that LinkedIn initially didn’t feature a function for blocking users, but it was soon requested by professionals using the platform. If someone you don’t know sends you messages, or you don’t want a person to have access to your information anymore, just disconnect. Go to their page, choose Endorse tab and pick “Block or report” option. No need to feel bad about it.
3. Pick a professional headshot
There are lots of professionals who still don’t get how important profile pictures are. First of all, it’s key to include a picture – profiles without pictures simply receive fewer views. The headshot should be professional. Make sure the background is clear and there are no other people in your photo.
Your profile picture should match the expectations of your industry (and that means both professionals and recruiters). While some sectors require formality, others allow a degree of informality in personal branding.
4. Customize your URL
This is a smart trick that is bound to make your profile more searchable. By typing in your name to a search engine, recruiters will instantly see your profile. A customized URL shows that you pay attention to detail. When sharing the link to your profile, you’ll ensure that it simply looks much more approachable than a set of random numbers.
5. Track your connections with the Relationship tab
If you’re about to add a user you don’t know personally, you need to rely on contextual information – especially if you’ve got some connections in common. But as your network grows, it’s easy to simply forget all these details.
Fortunately, there’s the smart Relationship tab! Go to a user’s page, click on Relationship and you’ll instantly see all key details about this connection. As a side note, this kind of information is only available to you.
6. Take a cue from professionals viewing your profile
LinkedIn is constantly revamping the Who’s Viewed Your Profile page which today includes more options for non-Premium users than ever. You can see how users are finding your profile and which industries they’re coming from.
The page also offers a set of personalized suggestions on how to attract more traffic to your profile page, so don’t pass up on that opportunity. It’s a good idea to trace LinkedIn’s blog to learn more about new features and functionalities added to the platform.
7. Ask and give recommendations/endorsements
This function is there to help professionals build their brand in the industry and render their expertise much more credible. If you extend the courtesy of endorsement to a colleague, they’re likely to return the favor.
Be sure to reach out to your previous employers and ask them to give you recommendations and endorsements as well – that’s something not many LinkedIn users even consider.
When recommending a connection, make sure to write a short description. Avoid generalizations and be as specific as possible – refer to projects and key data relevant to your collaboration.
Effective personal branding on LinkedIn isn’t a piece of cake, but with enough effort and motivation you’ll fully benefit from the platform’s smart functionalities. Follow these tips and you’ll be on your way to making the most from your presence on this key professional network.
What is your best advice for getting the most out of LinkedIn?