Using LinkedIn to Create Your Digital Brand and Find Your Next Job
Tell your professional story, connect to opportunities
LinkedIn is a fairly familiar platform to most professionals — it’s an opportunity to build your digital brand and expand your network. With the pandemic making it more difficult to meet professionals, how can you use LinkedIn to your advantage? How do you virtually grow your network and boost your chances to get a job?
In our recent Career Week event, LinkedIn’s Starshine Roshell, Business Content Producer and LinkedIn Learning Instructor, spoke about how you can improve your digital branding and find your next job using the platform’s simple yet powerful tools.
Why should you take advantage of LinkedIn?
LinkedIn’s professional community has more than 722 million members on the platform, in more than 200 countries and territories.
More than 55 million companies have a page on LinkedIn.
More than 36,000 skills are featured on the platform.
More than 115,000 universities are on LinkedIn, including us!
More than 358 billion feed updates are viewed every single year.
Three people are hired every minute on LinkedIn.
So what better time than now to make sure your LinkedIn profile is working to your advantage? Check out the top 12 take-aways from this informative event.
#1: Think of Your Profile as a Digital Portfolio
Don’t think of it as a résumé, but as a dynamic, engaging showcase that highlights your experience, skills and proudest achievements. The key thing to remember is that there’s no such thing as a perfect LinkedIn profile. Start with the basics and then add details as you like. Small updates can lead to big opportunities.
Related: Perfecting Your Portfolio
#2: Your Photo
People with a profile photo get up to nine times more connection requests, up to 21 times more profile views and up to 36 times more messages than people who don’t.
Select a profile photo that represents you. It does not have to be a professional headshot, but make sure it’s high resolution, with good lighting and only features you.
LinkedIn has photo filters that you can use to polish your photo, just like you would on Instagram or other social platforms. Click on your profile photo, click “Edit” and you’ll see an icon that says “filter.”
#3: Pronouncing Your Name
LinkedIn’s engineers came up with a way for you to record your name and attach it to your profile so that people can hear you speak your name in the way you want it pronounced. Caution: You can only record it on the LinkedIn app on your phone.
#4: Add Your Industry
Members with industry information are discovered up to 38 times more often in recruiter searches.
Click the pencil at the top of your profile, and scroll down to edit or add your industry. Choose the industry that most closely matches the one you’re working in or the one you want to be working in. It’s also helpful to add your location; recruiters use location and industry frequently to try to find people who might be good for a role.
#5: “Open to Work” Frame
LinkedIn’s product team created a frame viewable on your profile photo that simply says, “Open to work.” Since its introduction in June 2020, 30 million people have used that profile photo frame.
Underneath your profile picture, click the “Open to” button and then select “Open to finding a new job.” You can specify the job title that you’re searching for, pinpoint the locations you’re interested in, and select full time or remote.
At the very bottom, you can decide whether you want that information to be open to all LinkedIn members or only share it with recruiters.
#6: Your Summary
The summary is the “About” section under your photo. LinkedIn calls this your elevator pitch — it’s short and snappy.
Adding a summary of 40 words or more makes your profile more likely to turn up in an employer’s search. It should be an introduction to you and highlight your accomplishments and your aspirations.
Couple of key tips:
- Write in the first person.
- Stick to a few short paragraphs. On desktop view, it only shows the first 220 characters; on the mobile app, it only shows the first 90 characters.
- Make sure it includes keywords and skills that are featured in desirable job descriptions for your field.
#7: Featured Content
Showcase the work that you’re most proud of so that it appears at the top of your profile. This can include rich media (photos, videos, documents, PowerPoint) — anything that brings your professional story to life. You can pin articles you’ve authored and posted on LinkedIn, as well as share posts that you’ve made on LinkedIn.
Pro tip: You can also add rich media to your experience and education sections.
#8: Experience Section
This is where you detail your work experience.
Most people think this should closely resemble a typical résumé, but you should write your job experience in short paragraphs rather than using bullet points. This is your opportunity to tell your professional story and talk about your accomplishments within each of the roles that you’ve had.
Pro tip: It’s even better to showcase the impact that you had in that role, such as the results that you delivered or the change that you created.
#9: Volunteer Experience
Almost half of all hiring managers say that they view volunteer experience as equivalent to formal work experience — this is huge.
Give a quick one- to two-sentence description of what you do in each volunteer role. People want to know, “What was your role there? How did you help? What did you contribute?”
Related: Do Good and Do Well for Yourself
#10: Skills Section
When you add at least five or more skills, you can get up to 17 times more profile views.
If you can’t think of any skills that you’re great at, ask a colleague. Professionals also search key skills across LinkedIn, so it’s another great way to be found by your network.
People can also endorse you for skills.
We trust other people’s reviews, which is why recommendations are a great way for you to build professional credibility. Ask people — such as a colleague, manager or business partner — to write a short recommendation for you that focuses on a skill or a characteristic that tells other people you’re great to work with.
This is also a great opportunity for you to offer recommendations to other people you’ve worked with.
To request a recommendation, visit the person’s profile and click on the More button at the top. You’ll see some options, one of which is “Request Recommendation.” LinkedIn offers some standard verbiage that you can use, but you should customize your request. Tell the person what you want to be recommended for specifically. Was it a project that you want them to talk about? Was it a characteristic that you have or an initiative that you led? Let them know.
#12: Building Thought Leadership
The LinkedIn news feed is a place where you can share your insights, expertise and opinions with your professional community. Be out there, have a voice and be involved in conversations in your industry.
There are two great ways to share your professional perspective on LinkedIn.
1. Quick status updates like you would on any social media feed.
Share your authentic voice and post often. The more people engage with the post, the more it gets shared. Include photos and videos to help it stand out. Invite people to join the conversation by tagging them.
Get started: Pose a question, provide your perspective on current events or give an insider point of view.
2. Explore the topic in more detail by writing a long-form post and sharing it as an article.
Select “Write an article” and start writing. Think about your experiences and expertise and then think about what your audience would want to know and tailor it to them. It’s less about what you want to say and more about what they want or need to know.
- Create an attention-getting headline.
- Include a cover photo and images throughout the article.
- The sweet spot for article length is between 600 and 1,000 words.