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Getting started with LinkedIn

Updated: Apr 8, 2021

In today's increasingly digital and busy job market, online networking and research is a vital part of the strategy so it's no surprise that I am regularly asked to support clients with creating a LinkedIn profile. In some cases, my client has never so much as registered, while in other cases they have a profile but it's not working hard enough, and they want to refresh the way they present themselves on the platform. Either way, it's important to consider your online brand and how you convey your professional self, so I thought it would be useful to share some thoughts on this topic in this month's blog (scroll down to the bottom for 5 quick wins!).


The benefits of LinkedIn

Launched way back in 2003, LinkedIn has an incredible 722 million members (for context Facebook has 2.74 billion, but of course LinkedIn is a much more specific business based audience), of which over 29 million are in the UK. More than just a recruitment site, it's a huge opportunity for professional networking, insight and learning and certainly offers more value that just job searching. You can manage your "brand" by making the most of personalising your profile, build your connections and search for job opportunities, and there are also courses and tutorials on all sorts of topics available on LinkedIn Learning.


Creating Your Profile

The platform has several profile levels and will rank yours dependent on how complete your profile is (it will show you how you're doing in your dashboard which only you can see), and while you don't have to achieve "all-star" status, you definitely need to work to some minimums to get the most from it. The more complete your profile is, the more visible you will be to recruiters (who pay a premium for advanced access) so it's especially important of you are job searching. Key sections to always complete are:


• Your industry (choose from the list of over 140)

• Your location (the area in which you live and / or work)

• An up-to-date current position (with a description)

• Two past positions

• Education

• Skills (minimum of five)

• Profile photo (aim for professional but friendly! Profiles with photos get 14 times the number of views that ones without do)


Quality is as importance as completion, so on top of this you should really pay attention to areas where you can really customise the content, so don't let your Headline just default to your current job, use it to say something interesting and appealing about who you are!


Similarly, your About section is a decently-sized 2600 character opportunity to tell your story so really make the most of this too; don't just copy and paste your CV profile, instead read this as a new connection would - is it personable and interesting? Does it include keywords relating to your profession? I really enjoy writing these as they can be a lot more playful and informal that the more traditional CV, so tell your story - what makes you get out of bed in the morning? When did you fall in love with what you do? What makes you the ultimate marketing executive / operations manager / HR Director? Don't be afraid to have fun here (emojis can work well if you're feeling brave!) and end with an invitation to connect / private message / get in touch via email - make sure you finish your story with a "so what?" call to action!


Engaging

LinkedIn works with a comment-driven algorithm, so if you're worried about posting something then just start by adding your thoughts on other people's or organisation's posts. This will drive up your visibility in the feeds of your connections, and help you get engagement when you do post. Keep your comment professional and bear in mind that unless you've hidden your activity through the privacy settings, your comments, likes, posts and shares are visible on your profile; try adding a comment to congratulate a colleague, thank someone for a helpful tip they've posted or add your view on a topic that's inviting discussion.


You can follow organisations to get your feed going, join professional groups and invite connections to your network. The great thing about LinkedIn is that you can see threads and posts that your connections contribute to, so it's a great way to discover new people, ideas and content if you feel like you don't know where to start. Like the 7 degrees of separation, very quickly you'll find you have a lot of 2nd or 3rd connections and can really accelerate the growth of your network!


Finally, 5 Quick Wins

1. Personalise your URL - don't stick with the default random letters and numbers after your name, create something that is cleaner and more memorable, here's how

2. Add a simple background image - it's not compulsory but adds a finishing touch, you can put a banner together on Canva.com or even just a photo of something meaningful like a favourite beauty spot works well

3. Offer up some recommendations and endorsements - an easy way to generate support, be part of the community spirit and help out colleagues or friends (and with any luck the gesture will be reciprocated!)

4. Use your About section - as above, really make the most of this to tell your story and introduce yourself, keep it professional but make it engaging - it doesn't have to be dull!

5. Featured section - this is a neat little area that sits just under your About section where you can add media, links and articles and pin posts. If you've ever written a blog, achieved something that has been covered online, had a post with lots of engagement then these are great things to feature in this section - you could also try adding a video introducing yourself


Like any platform, the main things is to give it a go: the more you put in, the more you get out. I learn new things all the time on LinkedIn, have made lots of new connections and been found by new clients so for me is a really valuable professional tool.


If you need support then my £125 service will create content for your Headline, About and Experience sections (and a few others where applicable) and provide you will a full guide on how to set up your profile. You can get in touch with me at hello@thecvbee.co.uk


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