LinkedIn 101: How to Optimise Your Profile
It’s no secret that LinkedIn is now one of the primary means employers use to look for new recruits. With over 93 per cent of companies globally using LinkedIn to make hiring decisions, it is critical for jobseekers to have an account on the site in order to not only put themselves on the radar, but also to apply to specific jobs.
However, simply creating a LinkedIn profile isn’t quite enough to make yourself stand out from the millions of other users. You have to take things a step further to make your profile more attractive and searchable for recruiters.
Here are some basic tips for those who are just starting out on LinkedIn, and some additional tips that will help give your profile that coveted ‘wow’ factor.
Picking profile pictures
Always remember that LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking platform, so make sure to choose your profile photo wisely. A professional-looking headshot is always a safe bet.
Include relevant information
Just like what you would do with your résumé, curate your achievements, qualifications and relevant experience that are most significant and relevant to the industry you wish to build your career in or the kind of job you want.
For instance, if you are looking to go into digital marketing, you should highlight skills such as search engine optimisation (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) skills. There is a specific section in your profile where you can list down your other skills as well.
On the other hand, if you are looking to join a specific industry, such as the retail industry, it may be a good idea to emphasise your work experience as a sales promoter, for instance.
Grow your connections
Once your profile is all set up and updated, the next step for you is to expand your connections. LinkedIn will prompt you to connect with people whom you might know through the email account you use to sign in to LinkedIn or through mutual connections. Take advantage of this function and explore the possible contacts you can connect with.
When sending an invitation to connect with someone, give it a nice touch by dropping the person a personalised message. Also, if you are responding to pending connection requests, remember to do so promptly and send them a thank-you message for reaching out to you.
Level up your LinkedIn game by…
… getting recommendations and endorsements
If you had previous professional work experience, you can get your manager or supervisor to write you a recommendation for your LinkedIn profile. Alternatively, you can get your peers or lecturers to write you one if your work experience is limited to school-related activities, such as school projects or student organisation activities.
You can further boost your profile by getting your previous co-workers or peers to endorse the skills that you’ve added to your page. Don’t forget to return the favour by endorsing theirs too!
… using the professional headline function
The professional headline is situated right under your profile picture. This function presents the perfect opportunity for you to demonstrate your personal brand by putting in keywords that best define you.
- If you are a computer science graduate with work experience, you can use something like this as a headline to describe yourself:
E.g. “Tech whiz – Former programming & web developer intern – E-commerce industry”
- If you are a student or graduate without professional work experience, you can include information about your degree and field of study. You can also specify the line of work and industry you aspire to be in.
E.g. “English language graduate – Aspiring writer – Media industry”
It is important to keep your headline succinct so that viewers can simply take one glance at your profile to get an idea of who you are professionally, and whether or not you would be a useful connection to have – both for recruiting and networking purposes.
… customising your summary section
Similar to the headline function, you should include keywords in your professional summary that align with your personal brand. However, the difference between the two functions is that there is more room for you to sprinkle some personality in this section. It is good to make this section interesting, but make sure to remain authentic.
Here is an example of a summary for an engineering graduate:
“I’m an electrical and electronic engineering graduate with an interest in making the world a better and safer place through automation and robotics. I’m keen on an engineering role in the robotics industry where I’m able to apply the knowledge and skills I’ve learned in university and my internship experience.
Aside from my interest in tech and robots, I enjoy competitive running and have won several medals in multiple marathons across Singapore and Malaysia. The tenacity and mental endurance I possess when I run are traits that I believe I can bring to the workplace. I enjoy the thrill of being challenged, and I look forward to the future challenges my future employer will present me.
If you’d like to learn more about how my skills can bring value to your company (or hear about the 68 marathons I’ve participated in), please send an email my way.”
… participating actively
Search for relevant groups such as organisations or interest groups that align with the cause you care about (e.g. animal rights group, alumni groups etc.) to get updated on the latest news and trends.
However, you should make it a point to chime in on discussions if your opinion or the information you provide on the topic of discussion can be of use to other viewers. You never know – a group member who happens to be a recruiter may find what your thoughts insightful, and may want to connect with you on LinkedIn for a chat.
Also, you can interact with your connections by commenting on their statuses or simply start a discussion by posting a status. These activities will pop up on your connections’ newsfeed and will keep you on their minds. Remember to keep topics strictly professional and civil, though!