The Power of LinkedIn (Part I): Why it remains important for pros everywhere

social_connection-35d24ca8If you aren’t maximizing the use of your LinkedIn profile, chances are you’re missing out! Executives engage on LinkedIn for three primary reasons: to search for new job opportunities; to network with peers; and to stay connected with experts and their ideas.

Whether LinkedIn is used to seek career opportunities or to connect with peers, it’s a powerful tool when used to its potential. No matter where you are in your career journey, your LinkedIn profile is likely being perused by recruiters. In fact, in the Jobvite 2016 Recruiter Nation Report, 87 percent of recruiters found LinkedIn most effective when vetting candidates during the hiring process.

What does this mean to you? It’s extremely important that your LinkedIn profile is up to date and an accurate reflection of you as a professional. In this digital age, your LinkedIn profile is often the first impression for recruiters and hiring authorities alike. Given how critical this platform is in the modern marketplace, we’re here to share some tips to help ensure that you’re able to connect on LinkedIn in the most effective ways:

1. Know your audience

The first step, of course … who is your audience? Depending on what you’re trying to accomplish on LinkedIn, your headline may vary. It’s important to craft a headline, which sits directly beneath your profile portrait, that is concise, memorable and true to you. Keep in mind your audience and how you’ll be perceived by the individuals in it. Your headline should be 120 characters or less and summarize not only who you are and what you do but also the value you can bring to your audience. This gives your viewers a high-level idea of your professional capabilities and aspirations. The headline for an investment banker in finance is often quite different from that of an interior designer with high-end clientele. Make sure it reads whichever way is most appropriate for you!

2. Keep it professional

You’ve probably seen LinkedIn posts to the effect of “Hey, this isn’t Facebook so let’s keep it professional”. That’s because LinkedIn is a network whose focus is more business and employment than social. Everything on your profile should be professional, from your photos and comments to your language and tone. Remember that “professional” in one industry may differ wildly from “professional” in another, so knowing your audience is key here as well. There are, however, norms which are consistent across professions. And don’t forget: LinkedIn may be the primary social media platform used for business purposes, but you should keep an eye on your other networks as well. While you go through interview processes, almost every employer will search LinkedIn and your other social media sites to get a feel for the totality of your online presence. Keep these professional as well!

3. Add contact information

This ensures that people know how to get in touch with you when appropriate. This could include a publicly visible résumé if you’re ramping up an active job search or it might just be your phone number or email address for connections in your network. Either way, make sure that the people you want to connect with know how to connect with you.

4. Be specific

The more specific your LinkedIn profile, the better! This is not only a helpful tool for recruiters when reaching out to you about opportunities which may be of interest to you, but also for other professionals in your network who might want to connect with you. When crafting your LinkedIn bio, include a few key elements:

  • Keywords: In the entry for each position across your career, use keywords which reflect your role, of course, but also your professional interests. Sample keywords could be “strategic analysis”, “demand generation”, “B2B” or “downstream marketing”. It’s important to understand that, using SEO logic, recruiting pros search via keywords all day long. Being specific about not only what you do but also your interests will help you receive calls about opportunities in your wheelhouse.
  • Quantifiable accomplishments: When initially skimming your profile, other LinkedIn users should quickly see a snapshot of your key achievements. To make those easier to find, bullet your main accomplishments in each of your roles. Include quantifiable and measurable results such as “reduced turnover by 25% in 1 year” or “increased sales by 30% in 3 months”.
  • Interests: Your profile is a chance to give your network (and recruiters) reasons to contact you. With a keyword-rich profile highlighting both accomplishments and interests, you can increase the chances people will reach out to you regarding opportunities which are meaningful to you.

5. Update, update, update

This tip speaks for itself. Making sure your LinkedIn profile and preferences are up to date is critical. LinkedIn is the key social network for executive engagement, and you want to make sure that executives (and recruiters) can engage with you because they know what you are doing, how you are doing it, and what you’d like in any potential next step. This is key whether you’re actively pursuing new opportunities or not. You never know when that career-transforming opportunity will come your way; properly maintaining your profile helps ensure you don’t miss out on it.

Following these simple rules will help you have the best LinkedIn experience as a rising star or an established expert. Now that you’ve refreshed your profile, what’s next? Part Two of this series will share how to use LinkedIn while conducting an active job search.

by Devin Treger & Ashlee Wagner
Charles Aris Inc.