How to win at LinkedIn

Published on 6th September 2016

First impressions count... and in a world ruled by social media that first impression can be costly if you get it wrong. 

Everyone's heard the horror stories of people losing job offers after posting inappropriate things on Facebook and Twitter etc, but, until now, most have been more conservative with their LinkedIn accounts. Unfortunately, that trend seems to be changing, with more and more posts showing motivational quotes, cartoons, questionable attempts at humour and other things not quite appropriate for the platform. These things can easily be hidden, which is great for us, but not quite so good for the person posting them who quickly loses the audience they were hoping for. Therefore, how can we create LinkedIn accounts which keep everyone interested? 

1) Make sure that you can be found

One of the key things to using LinkedIn successfully is to make sure that you can be found... and be found for the things that you want to be found for such as your skills, qualifications, experience and achievements. Make sure that you use lots of keywords and make sure that they all make you shine. You've immediately built trust and suddenly you're someone that any employer would love to hire! 

2) Ensure that people want to contact you

Listing your skills is one thing, but now you need to make sure that the audience sees the very best version of you that you can give. After all, you want people to understand what you do. Your profile is twice as likely to be read if you have a profile photo... and the likelihood of being viewed increases further if the photo portrays you in a professional and trustworthy light. Potential employees aren't going to be attracted to you if you're pouting into the bathroom mirror or covered in fluorescent paint after a night out (and these are all things that I've come across recently). Remember, the photo should give the right business impression. 

3) A detailed profile is a strong profile. Treat it like your CV... and don't lie about anything!

The more complete your profile, the more likely it is to create a positive impression. At the very least, ensure that you list your qualifications and employment history, using bullet points to highlight your key responsibilities and achievements. After this the next thing to do is to make sure that the important information is communicated clearly so that it doesn't confuse the reader. Whether you’re seeking a job or not, make sure your profile has a summary which introduces you both professionally and personally. Proof read your profile to ensure that there's no spelling errors and that it makes sense. Basically, treat it how you would treat your CV... and that means no lying. It's easy to check information like dates and qualifications and, if yours are wrong then you will get found out. 

4) Show a passion for something

And not just your passion for working for a leading organisation and in a challenging role, because that's what everyone writes. If you're looking for a new job, explain what type of role you're looking for and why, the knowledge that you hope to gain and the areas that you'd like to explore. Maybe you're already doing additional studies because of your long term interest in a certain field. For you, it's not just about getting a job, it's about getting the perfect job that you love. For non-job seekers, any volunteering or specific sports you follow? Let people know as it creates interest. 

5) Join groups... strategically

LinkedIn is a great place for members to share views and information in a professional environment, and there are plenty of groups for job-seekers, universities, specific professions and various associations which connect people from all over the world. If you're actively involved in them then it could help you to make new connections and maybe even land a new job. Just don't be that person who comments on everything no matter how trivial it is... 

6) Get recommendations from ex-bosses and colleagues

Having recommendations from people that you've worked with shows that you're good at what you do. If your recommendations can give an overview of your skills, strengths and achievements then you'll be much more desirable to potential employers. 

Easy yes? Now go back and have a look at your LinkedIn profile to see what it says about you...