Three ways to unlock the benefits of LinkedIn

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LinkedIn tips to raise your professional profile

Sophie Al-Bassam

“Is LinkedIn worth it? I don’t care about my ‘personal brand’,” you say, rolling your eyes.

While I understand your distaste for that phrase, let’s dial it back to basics. There’s more to the professional social networking site than finding a new job or employee. LinkedIn benefits extend to networking, learning about your industry, improving your work practices and gaining business. 

There are 706 million users in 200 countries, and 50 million companies listed. In Australia, there are more than 11 million users – that’s roughly the size of our workforce. So if you’re not on LinkedIn, you are definitely outnumbered. 

LinkedIn engagement is growing. Content shared across the platform was up nearly 50% year-over-year in June 2020. And there has been a huge 158% increase in live streams since March 2020.

The social network is a complicated beast with a lot of hidden features. But to have a professional presence and to be found easily, it’s actually quite simple. Here’s three quick tips for LinkedIn success.

1. Complete your profile

The more information your profile has, the easier people will be able to find you, even if they don’t know it’s you they’re looking for. 

For the competitive among you, you can achieve levels of expertise on LinkedIn, from Beginner through to All-Star. And unless your profile is complete, you won’t win at LinkedIn levels.

A picture is essential. Profiles with pictures are 14 times more likely to be viewed. And it’s not Tinder, so a mirror selfie won’t do. Make sure the photo is recent, clear and get someone to take it for you, even if it’s just your neighbour using your phone.

You’ll also need to add in your industry, location, current position, previous experience, education, skills and get 50 connections, says the Content Marketing Institute. By the time you’ve added your email contacts, you’ve probably already got that many anyway.

2. Craft your headline

This is not your job title. Your headline is one of the top things people will see at a glance in all sorts of LinkedIn settings (along with your name and photo), so make sure it’s descriptive and accurate. 

Use relevant keywords like content marketing or marketing manager. You can even describe how you add value. But avoid cutesy descriptors like guru or unicorn, and stick to skills or relevant awards.  

The biggest mistake? Leaving your headline as “unemployed”. Even if you’re out of work, you can include keywords and skills.

Here are some great examples of headlines that stand out from the crowd.

You’ll also need to add keywords in your summary, which has been described as “your most personal piece of content marketing”.

3. Add value, find value 

If you’re not going to use it regularly, some argue you may as well delete your LinkedIn account

“It's difficult to maintain real relationships unless you make it a priority to interact regularly with them,” reports Forbes.

The larger your network, the more visible you are when people search for you. But LinkedIn is not about hitting some magic number of connections, it’s about building relationships. It should be about a two-way street where you and your connections offer value to each other.

You can be strategic and try to build relationships that are most likely to help you achieve your goals, whether that’s to find a mentor or to build business. With more of our lives online than ever before, LinkedIn may be stepping in where business networking events have left off.

People expect to find work content on LinkedIn. And it’s one of the most trusted social media networks. Publish an article on LinkedIn, if you feel you have something valuable to say. Share content or posts that are practical and relevant to your industry. Comment on other people’s posts. Be supportive; congratulate colleagues on their successes. With LinkedIn, you have more control than other social media over who sees it and who can comment (see video below).

Support your company by sharing its posts; in one study, 86% of employees said that sharing content for their business had a positive effect on their own career.

Engaging on LinkedIn can be interesting and help you and your company raise professional profiles. So, is your LinkedIn profile up to date? Have you spoken with your interesting connections? It's time to invest a little time to polish your professional profile today.

Sophie Al-Bassam, senior managing editor

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