How to make LinkedIn your best friend so that you can get your ideal job
With the children back at school, now is a great time for you to have the space to think about YOU and your career. In today’s world having a great LinkedIn profile is just one of the things that you need to have got sorted, but where do you start? The thought for some is overwhelming and when you find guides on the internet how do you if you are reading the best guide?
We are thrilled to let you know that we have our own ‘LinkedIn golden bullet’ sitting in the 2to3days.com team. Roanna Russell is one of Business Development Managers was for seven years prior to joining us a Relationship Manager for LinkedIn looking after some seriously big accounts, so she knows exactly what to do to create a great LinkedIn profile. We asked Roanna to put together a guide that will help you get going and if you find this helpful she has plenty more advice that she is happy to share with our community.
LinkedIn is a global, professional, networking platform. Over 500 million people have LinkedIn profiles and nearly 50% of engaged LinkedIn users have ‘hiring decision making’ authority If you’ve been out of the workplace for a while, or you’re new to LinkedIn don’t fret instead follow this easy to follow guide.
Creating a profile
There is no right way to build a LinkedIn profile but there some basics that should be included. Think of your profile not as a CV but as a platform to show employers just who you are and what you’ve got to offer – what you’re creating is a true and authentic reflection of (professional) you.
It’s natural to worry if you’ve got gaps in your work history, or you’ve had time out for childcare but fear not, none of it matters. LinkedIn is your chance to tell prospective employers what you are, not what you’re not. Creating, or updating, your profile is a huge step towards re-establishing your professional self, as well as forming a great support network as you re-enter the workplace.
1. Look around
Once you’ve registered take a while to look around the site to see how people - connections, friends and those in similar careers - present themselves. Take on board what they say in their own profile, how they describe themselves, their skills and how they’ve accounted for gaps and career breaks. Ask around too – there are very few mothers who aren’t willing to help another mum. – Ask a question on our Facebook Group
2. A smart headline
Your headline is the snippet which appears next to your name on LinkedIn. It’s your opportunity to put into one line why you are on LinkedIn and why people should connect with you. Some people use their job titles but it’s not compulsory - there are plenty of other ways to build a great headline and just like the rest of your profile, your headline should feel right for you.
If you haven’t worked for several years and are struggling for inspiration, try thinking of the skills you’ve acquired or improved during motherhood, such as efficiency, delegation, multi-tasking and time-management. Have you supported any local charities, raised funds for your nursery, or been part of your school PSA?
Highly organised and motivated - looking to connect with great employers
Experienced marketer | Excellent fundraiser | Expert multi-tasker
3. Location, location, location
It may seem simple but you are 23 times more likely to be discovered for local opportunities if you include your current location. If, for childcare or family reasons, you’re looking to work locally and close to home be specific with where you live e.g. south west London. If, however, you don’t mind commuting then consider a wider, general location such as the city or area you want to work in.
4. Update your details
This mistake is made time and time again by women re-entering the workplace after an extended period at home. If you’ve recently married and changed your name make updating your details a priority. The first thing employers do when you apply for a job through LinkedIn is to search for your name but if your married name doesn’t lead to your profile you could potentially miss out.
5. Get snap happy
According to LinkedIn, simply having a profile picture results in up to 21 times more profile views, 36 times more messages and nine times more connection requests on the site. And after all, we all like to see who we are talking to.
Your image should be a clear, headshot of you on your own in a resolution of at least 400x400 pixels; Pick one of you smiling and take a minute to get the brightness and contrast right -
LinkedIn's new photo editor in the mobile app allows you to do a quick crop and edit.
6. Don’t hide the gaps
Career breaks, maternity leave or planned sabbaticals should be listed in your profile; trying to hide them is pointless and could leave you subject to awkward questions should you get to interview stage. Give a brief explanation of what you did over that period and then move on. Simply giving the dates and stating maternity leave is totally fine.
7. Sell yourself in your summary
Your summary is an expansion of your headline. It’s your opportunity to sell yourself to prospective employers. Most people find writing their summary the hardest part of creating a profile; blowing your own trumpet can be a tough call, especially when you’re returning to work after a break. It shouldn’t be a short novel - six lines or so is great - and it needs to be authentic, so don’t be tempted to throw in embellished or, generic statements - are you really a ‘dynamic marketing executive, with strong interpersonal skills’. And don’t lie!
As a guide to writing a good summary, try to answer some, if not all, of the following questions:
Why are you on LinkedIn?
What are your best skills?
How could I help your business?
“I’m an experienced, results-driven professional seeking a new challenge. After a five-year career break, I’m actively seeking a digital marketing role, preferably within an engaged and growing organisation. In previous roles, I’ve been recognised for my leadership and organisational skills and I’m now ready to dedicate my energy to the next opportunity.”
8. Adjust your settings
Employers and recruiters won’t find you if your profile is hidden. To ensure that your profile is set correctly for job seekers go to:
Settings & Privacy > Privacy > Job Seeking
And check that the ‘let recruiters know that you’re open to opportunities’ feature is switched to ON.
9. Make your experience count
Once you’ve completed the basics (name, photo, headline, summary) you can fill in your work experience/education, further down the page.
This is where you can start to shape your experience and curate your profile. Don’t list every single job you ever had. Instead, only list the jobs that are relevant to your current career goals. Make sure that your most recent experience comes first and try to think from the perspective of an employer. Don’t skimp on the descriptions of your jobs, instead emphasise the relevant experience you have that applies to the job that you want.
10. Keywords are your friend
Including appropriate keywords that are relevant to desired job and career is a must for anyone using LinkedIn. Identify two or three keywords that are important to you. e.g. if you are a marketing manager with digital marketing experience then you might want to have both Senior Marketing Manager and Digital Marketing Manager as core keywords. Secondary core words relevant to your career should be used throughout your profile. Draw up a list of five to 10 and using them wisely and appropriately throughout.