How To LinkedIn Like A Total Boss
While you might think LinkedIn still carries a bit of the fuddy-duddy stigma of being hard to use and uncool, it’s attracting more users than ever. We ask an expert what you really need to know about LinkedIn’s latest incarnation and how to use it (properly).
On the pie chart of our social media usage, Facebook generally reigns supreme. Then, depending on whether you’re a words or pictures type of person, it may be Twitter or Instagram with the next biggest plot of real estate (Or Tinder? No judgement here). It’s pretty fair to say that poor old LinkedIn trails somewhere towards the end.
But one should not ignore the power of LinkedIn. Attracting more users than ever, your LinkedIn prowess may just jump start your next big career move or be your ticket to a promotion. Where a #humblebrag on Facebook may be enough to lose you friends, the same rules need not apply here.
While you might have considered it both a little unsexy and also that tad bit confusing to use, things have been changing. There’s now an app, and you may have noticed these things called Pulse articles. So, what’s the deal?
Alongside Head of Communications at LinkedIn, Shiva Kumar, we’re here to debunk this oh-so mysterious social media platform and show you how to LinkedIn like a boss.
Profile Strength = 100%
You know that summary at the top of your profile? Think of this as the cover letter you’re writing for the job application of your dreams. And don’t you dare even think of leaving your profile half-finished. Make sure you’re at ‘all star’ strength and have filled out every piece of information LinkedIn has asked for – which will have you considering the following:
#1 Definitely include a profile picture
“Including a profile picture in your profile is a must,” says Shiva. “Putting a face to your name makes it 14 times more likely to be viewed.” Also be sure to have a clear professional-looking profile photo (no wedding pics, no boozy nights out and definitely not the one of you riding the inflatable flamingo). Shiva agrees: “First impressions last, so make sure your profile picture is professional.”
Here are a few additional tricks for taking that perfect shot.
#2 Don’t be that weirdo that talks in the third person
Shiva advises to always write in first person. “Would you speak in third person during an interview? Hopefully not. The same applies for your LinkedIn profile. By writing in first person, employers are able to easily gauge what kind of person you are and connect with your personality before they’ve even met you,” says Shiva.
#3 Nail your headline
Shiva recommends playing with your headline to make it much more than just your job title; “your headline is the first element of your profile readers will see. Rather than simply listing your current job title, company or industry, use your headline to highlight your values, interests or career objectives in one clear sentence.”
#4 Be clear on what you can offer
What sets you apart from the pack? Try and find your point of difference, whether it’s that you currently hold the record for number of sales at your present place of employment or that you can do 75 different types of latte art.
Shiva says to use the summary section to outline what you have that other’s don’t.“This is your opportunity to demonstrate how your unique qualities make you perfect for your dream role.”
#5 Forget modesty
“By including more than one previous position, your profile is 12 times more likely to be viewed, so do not be afraid to show off your experience and unique qualifications,” advises Shiva.
#6 Have a call-to-action
So you’ve nailed the profile, got your dream client’s attention… now what? Ask yourself what type of action you want someone to take next. If it’s to read your blog, follow you on Instagram or give you a call to chat – make sure you clearly identify your call-to-action.
#7 Buzzwords suck, keywords are great
“Are you motivated, creative, passionate? Great. So is everyone else on LinkedIn,” says Shiva. “Do yourself a favour – delete every single one of these buzzwords from your profile and replace them with keywords. Using the right keywords significantly improves how your profile will perform in searches.”
Google AdWords’ has a free Keyword Planner to help you identify which keywords or phrases people are searching for on Google.
#8 Network, network, network
If walking into a room full of strangers and having to introduce yourself (without the aid of a vodka or three) is your idea of hell, LinkedIn is definitely for you. Welcome to the world of networking behind a computer screen, potentially in your pyjamas.
LinkedIn’s search functionality is pretty advanced and you can filter with a lot of granularity. Embrace this and go forth and seek! Check out the profiles of those you wish to connect with and send invitations. It’s always best to add a personal message explaining why you want to connect with the recipient. And don’t just cold-call and jump into ‘selling’ mode. That’s never cool.
Shiva says it’s important to “tailor your invitation to connect by making it relevant and personalised. Start by providing a short background or reason for the proposed connection. This might be something like, ‘I noticed we both were at the XX event a week ago.’” Smooth. He also reminds us to “make connections, not friends” – what do you think this is, Facebook?!
#9 Find your writer’s voice
You’ve probably seen in your notifications that a connection of yours has ‘published a new post’. This is called LinkedIn Pulse, and it’s a place to publish articles and blogs.
The real beauty of LinkedIn is that organic content can reach far and wide (you might have seen this post on Sydney’s lock out laws by Matt Barrie, CEO of Freelancer.com go viral). We know – it’s incredible! LinkedIn actually is sexy! It means publishing your own content can be really meaningful and help you find new audiences, as well as “grow your influence”.
Consider your area of expertise and what you think others would enjoy reading. Nailing Pulse is about being “a thought leader,” says Shiva. You should also follow thought leaders and influencers who inspire you.
#10 Go on, join some groups
There are literally thousands of groups on LinkedIn with members right across the globe. Groups are a great way to meet people within your industry and make yourself known as a thought-leader (be active in the group; comment on posts; share articles).
Find some groups that are relevant to you and join in. It can be ball-breaking to trawl through the content in each group daily, but next time you’re being lured into a cat video click hole, why not spend at least a little of that time checking your LinkedIn Groups instead?
It’s also a very savvy way to be found by recruiters, as well as being your ‘in’ to making a connection with someone you don’t know. Shiva says that “LinkedIn groups are a great way of engaging in conversations with people you don’t know, which could eventually lead to a new connection.”
Hacking tip: once you’re in the same group as someone, you can send an invitation to connect.
And don’t miss the point
LinkedIn is all about building your personal brand so you can get noticed and be found. At the end of the day, it’s about finding the perfect balance of promoting yourself and making connections, without coming off as cheesy, clichéd or conceited.
Think about how IRL recruitment and professional networking functions: it’s mostly about who you are as a person, your CV is just a small part of a larger picture. So be sure to utilise your profile to showcase this and publish content through Pulse that tells your unique story.
“Eat, sleep, tweet, repeat” is the mantra Melbournian Sam Sidney lives by. When she’s not running her digital marketing and social media business Milkbar Digital, she can be found pretending to be hosting a cooking TV show, or outside patting your cat.