Ignoring LinkedIn is career suicide – use it to re-launch your career instead

career guides

City CV

Ensure your LinkedIn profile is a key ally in your search for flexible working with these top tips from award-winning City CV. 

You may have a love/hate relationship with social media, but LinkedIn is essential. It is the world’s largest professional network so you simply can’t afford to ignore it. Just take a look at these figures:

  • 610 million users in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide
  • 87% of recruiters use LinkedIn to find candidates for vacancies
  • 94% of recruiters use LinkedIn to vet job candidates.

But, LinkedIn is much more than a jobs board. It is also one of the most important and influential platforms for connecting with like-minded professionals, keeping up-to-date with industry news, and personal brand building. If you’re stepping back into your career after taking a break, or heading in a whole new direction, LinkedIn is the perfect place for your re-launch campaign.

It takes some time and effort. You won’t transform into a globally recognised thought leader overnight. But, here are three ways you can use LinkedIn as a platform to run your own career marketing campaign. 

1. Optimise your profile to make a great first impression  

You’ll need to do more than just cut and paste your old CV to be noticed on LinkedIn. Recruiters search for candidates based on specific keywords and algorithms. According to LinkedIn’s own figures, a complete profile, tailored to the jobs you want and including specific, search engine optimised keywords will get 132% more views.

Most people don’t take the time to optimise their profile. That’s a big mistake. Here’s how to start.

There are the certain words or phrases a recruiter types into LinkedIn when they are searching for candidates. Look at some job ads you’re interested in and make a list of the specific keywords used. They could be job titles, skills, knowledge or expertise that a company needs.

Then, review your headline. Most people just throw in their current job title but LinkedIn allows 120 characters here, so use them all if you can. A powerful snapshot of your strengths, with appropriate keywords, will significantly increase the odds of people clicking on your profile.

Sprinkling keywords throughout your profile will make it easier for recruiters to find you. But use them in a natural, engaging style. Your profile still needs to read as though it has been written by a human, for a human.

A photo makes your profile seven times more likely to turn up in searches. It is worth investing in a professional shot. But, at the very least, make sure you look presentable and approachable. Use a plain background and face forward so you look like you are making eye contact.

2. Use LinkedIn as a learning tool

If you’re taking a career break, it’s always a smart move to keep a foot in the door. LinkedIn is an easy and convenient way to keep up with developments in your field and maintain your professional network. That way, you’ll have the tools to navigate the challenges of returning to work and re-igniting your career in the future.

3. Be your own cheerleader

You can use LinkedIn to become more visible in your chosen field. You have up to 2,000 characters for your summary section; use them wisely to tell a keyword optimised story that captures your personality. Your LinkedIn profile can reflect the tone, style and level of detail that best suits you and your audience. You can also add links to examples of your work.

The more connections you have, the higher your LinkedIn ranking. That makes it easier for recruiters to find you. You can start by re-establishing contact with former colleagues and university friends.

Social media is all about engagement and your LinkedIn profile should not be static. Take the opportunity to join industry or professional interest groups. You can build your credibility by posting updates, sharing articles and commenting on other members’ updates.

When you share articles by or about people and their companies – be sure to tag them in your post. You can do this on LinkedIn as you would on Facebook or Twitter, by using the @ symbol before their name. This encourages people to share your posts, which will increase your profile views.

If you want to showcase your more detailed expertise, you can write and publish your own content. This can help boost your presence on the network and establish you as a thought leader or industry expert. Remember, you can make the posts more engaging with images and videos.

LinkedIn is a valuable and convenient tool to help you get your career back on track after a break. But it’s not as easy as just setting up a profile and leaving it there. To stand out on LinkedIn, you need to showcase your range of skills, expertise and experiences, not just create a boring list of job titles.

Career Returners

Career returners can actually have an advantage here. By including your career break activities - voluntary work, interests or boards you sit on – you can demonstrate the new skills you’ve gained. That could be how to cope under pressure, multi task, evaluate information, make decisions and build networks. But, remember to keep your profile relevant to a professional audience.

Even if you’re not actively job hunting, don’t underestimate the power of LinkedIn. It’s definitely worth taking the time to ensure you’re using every opportunity it offers to create a powerful network and learn from established experts in your field. This will provide you with the perfect platform to share your expertise, make connections and boost your personal brand, ready for when you decide to re-launch your career. If you want more LinkedIn advice check out the nine most common mistakes you'll want to avoid to ensure you stand out on this platform for all the right reasons.

We're thrilled to be working with City CV on a series of webinars designed exclusively for our mothers in the 2to3days hood. Our aim is to help you present your skills and experience so you feel really proud and confident of your CV and LinkedIn profile when applying for jobs.