The growing digital environment has moved quickly beyond personal use to professional activity. Digital platforms provide a venue for real-time updates on professional information from others, and allows for professionals to create their own content. As much as 65 to 85 per cent of all jobs are not posted online. Therefore, building your professional network is crucial – and LinkedIn is an excellent tool to get you started on your job search journey.
LinkedIn is often regarded as new kind of social media for many individuals, and it can be difficult to know where to start. With over 260 million monthly active users, the benefits of this platform are endless. In fact, there are recruiters and employers who are probably searching on LinkedIn- right now, for someone like you. Below you will find five simple ways to optimize your profile and attract more traffic to your LinkedIn page:
1) Use a Professional Profile Picture
On average, it takes 5 to 7 seconds to make a first impression— therefore, it is important to look the part. According to LinkedIn’s research team, profiles with a photo are 21 times more likely to be viewed than those without a photo. These days, any smartphone, paired with the proper lighting can take a high-quality photo. Consider the following:
- Dress professionally – every industry is unique, and it is important to look the part.
- Find a simple background – avoid patterns, or busy backdrops.
- Choose natural light – consider positioning yourself in a room filled with natural light from windows.
- Smile – people are more willing to connect with those that look friendly.
2) Write a Compelling Headline Featuring Industry-Specific Key Words
By default, LinkedIn will display your current job title as your headline. However, if you’re planning on using the platform as a stepping-stone to career success, make sure to replace this with keywords that recruiters may input when searching for candidates in your respective industry.
Imagine that you are looking to begin your career in mental health counselling, but your headline says ‘Student’. This could be detrimental to your networking journey, as future connections will not be aware of your targeted industry or job titles. Instead, consider using the following formula: Professional Label, Industry-Related Keywords, Personal Statement. For the example above, I’d suggest a headline such as “Counselling Psychologist In-training |Advocacy, Self-Care, Mental Wellness |Providing Trauma-Informed Support to Adults & Youth.
Before you begin, it is key to conduct your own research. Consider reviewing the headlines of industry professionals as this can aid as inspiration for crafting a detailed and eye-catching headline.
3) Craft an Engaging Professional Summary
The summary section on your profile is the best place to communicate your professional brand and experience. LinkedIn provides a limit of up to 2,000 words, but only the first three lines are visible before a visitor must click ‘See More’. Therefore, it is important to grab the reader’s attention with a strong opening. It is recommended you include:
- One or two sentences about who you are
- Three to five sentences about your education, experience, skills and passions
- One or two sentences about your career goals and how connections can engage with you
Be sure to include a summary of at least 40 words to show up in the search results of other members.
4) Customize Your Invitation Requests
On LinkedIn, you can customize your invitation requests to explain why you are interested in adding someone to your network. Most LinkedIn members are usually responsive and willing to help. However, do remember that the purpose of LinkedIn is networking. Refrain from asking for a job referral as this will be seen as unprofessional. Instead, get started by messaging your contacts to learn more about their career journey through an informational interview. While personalizing your connection invite, you can include brief information about who you are, how you came across their profile, and how they can help you.
Below you will find a sample connection message:
Hello [first name],
I’ve been following the work you’ve been doing with [company name], and I’m impressed with the results achieved in such a short time! I would love to schedule a quick meeting to learn how you got the opportunity to work on such a project.
[Your first name]
Connect with potential employers, recruiters, and industry-professionals whose experience you could learn from.
5) Stay Active
LinkedIn is all about networking, which extends to liking, commenting on, and sharing posts. If you’re looking to enter a new industry or begin your career following your studies, you might not have ‘relevant experience’. However, by interacting with industry professionals, asking questions, and sharing your own insights, you can demonstrate your industry-knowledge and skills to potential employers. Engaging actively on LinkedIn is important, as the algorithm will begin to suggest your profile more frequently to other LinkedIn members and recruiters. In addition, this will keep your name fresh in the minds of your current connections.
When taking these tips and strategies into consideration, you’ll find that your LinkedIn profile will provide greater benefit than ever before. It is also important to remember that each section of your profile should be consistent and back up what you are trying to claim. In this way, you’ll be building a harmonious and concise case of why you are an excellent fit for the role that you are targeting.
By Alexandra Stancato, Career Advisor, Toronto Film School