LinkedIn—its use and importance have exploded since the platform’s inception in 2002. What began as a place for job seekers to connect has transformed into the premier professional networking site. You can now access all sorts of data points relative to your profile, from how often you turn up in search results, to the types of people who view your profile. But to truly realize the maximum impact of this powerful tool, you need to take charge of it. And that means you need to be active, instead of sitting back, relaxing, and enjoying your LinkedIn experience.
Why be active on LinkedIn? Why does it matter? One reason is that the more active you are on the platform, the higher up you will appear in search results. Another reason is that by sharing posts and publishing on LinkedIn, you build your brand. Here are some practical tips for maximizing the efficiency of your LinkedIn experience:
Make sure your profile is optimized with keywords. Keywords are king. They are how recruiters find you. Make sure you’re using the right keywords for your field and industry and make sure you’re using an appropriate keyword density. A good benchmark is one occurrence per 100 words.
Customize your public profile URL. LinkedIn will assign you a URL that is some convention of your name. However, this often leads to URLs like YourName-k2435jlkj89098354. This is not optimal. Instead, customize it so that it’s something like JohnJSmith or JohnSmithCPA.
Share engaging content. That article that you read that really resonated with you? Comment and share it on LinkedIn.
Publish original content. This is the easiest way to not only increase your visibility but also to improve your brand. LinkedIn allows you space and the opportunity to ruminate on any topic you wish. If you are not taking advantage of this feature, you are leaving opportunity on the table.
Have a current photo. Your photo is critical. If you do not have a photo, recruiters will doubt that you are an actual person. Your photo needs to be current and professionally oriented. It needn’t be a professional headshot, but it also shouldn’t be a selfie or a picture of you with your nephew at his Bar Mitzvah.
Elaborate on your story. Your resume should tell the story of your career highlights and your achievements. Your LinkedIn profile affords you the chance to tell the story of you–Professional You, but in a softer context. You can talk about why you do what you do and what you value.
Become active in LinkedIn groups. Join groups and follow companies and organizations that are relevant to your interests. Engage with others in those groups and share your knowledge and experience. Whenever it is feasible, reach out and offer to help other members.
The bottom line
LinkedIn is a networking tool and a job search tool. But it is also so much more than that. Maximize your effort on the platform and make the tool work to your advantage!