At our company, Khraze.com, we help small businesses take their marketing efforts online. One of the easier ways for companies to do this is through LinkedIn. While LinkedIn is a valuable tool for companies, it is an even more valuable tool for individuals. LinkedIn is your online identity to the professional world. As the recruiting and HR world continues to change with increased candidate awareness and availability, your LinkedIn profile—and interaction within the platform—increases your chances of landing your dream job. We’ve identified the top 7 ways for you to enhance your profile and self-marketability with little effort.
1) Create a Unique LinkedIn URL
On your profile page change your default public URL to one that contains your name in some form or variation. This will enhance the probability that your profile will show up in search results on search engines when certain criteria are specified. A unique LinkedIn URL will also fit nicely on a business card. A unique URL is one of those small things that most people miss, but lets experienced recruiters know that you are on top of the ball.
To edit the your LinkedIn URL, click the “Edit” text located directly next to your LinkedIn URL, which is just below the main section of your LinkedIn Profile.
2) An image is worth a thousand words
Your profile, as well as your first impression, begins with an image. Make it snappy; make it professional. Let it reflect your culture and your industry. People make a judgment about you in a fraction of a second. You want that impression to convey a sense of professionalism and ensure unique remembrance. If you are a graphic designer, make sure your profile photo includes some creativity; if an investment banker, throw on a suit and tie.
A “heat map” of where a LinkedIn user looks when navigating a user profile shows heavy emphasis on the profile picture, with all other information being of less importance.
3) Join groups targeted for your industry/interests
LinkedIn groups are designed to allow individuals with certain commonalities to interact, network, and share best practices. We recommend joining 5-10 groups based on your industry, geographic location, and education. By joining these groups, you will increase your visibility to people searching for you and your accomplishments. Joining groups will also grow your network, allowing a genuine opportunity to interact with individuals of those groups that share similarities with you.
Once you have selected and joined groups, it is important that you engage within the groups. Want to know how someone would recommend tackling a technical problem? Ask. Interested in where members of the group meetup? Ask. In addition to asking questions, answer questions that other members post. Going forward, LinkedIn will value active members in their community. As you market yourself, it is important to remember how easily you can build your brand and credibility by merely answering a question or two per week.
4) Recommend others (they’ll end up recommending you)
You may have heard the old saying “Give to Get.” This means giving something without an expectation of receiving something in return. On LinkedIn this strategy works perfectly. Think someone did a great job? Give them a recommendation for that job. They’ll return the favor. Think of a recommendation like a testimonial for an individual. Testimonials help people buy goods or products. A recommendation will help people buy you.
5) List your skills & expertise
Keep in mind that LinkedIn is only a few years old. Thus, they are constantly trying to improve their platform. One of their most recent additions is the ability to list your skills and expertise—and then have others recommend those. LinkedIn might use these listed skills to help others find more qualified candidates in the future. Take time to list all of your skills and expertise. You can list skills from management, to planning, to specific skill sets like Quickbooks and Photoshop.
6) Connect, Connect, Connect
Every person is a potential growth opportunity. Everyone is a potential customer. Thus, it is important to connect with as many people as you can on LinkedIn. Be proactive—gather business cards at events and add them as connections later. On Facebook you might want to limit your friends to those with whom you want to share the personal details of your life. But on LinkedIn, it is your professional life that draws people. Hopefully, you don’t have much to hide in your professional life. Thus, connect with everyone you can.
7) Answer and Ask Questions on LinkedIn Answers
LinkedIn Answers is a Question & Answer forum for LinkedIn users. LinkedIn users often pose questions surrounding actual business dilemmas because they know that there is the potential for a professional to provide a great solution to their problem. The great news for you is that you have the chance to display your expertise by responding to questions that are in categories where you are knowledgeable. Your answers can also be a part of your profile and are indexed by search engines. Plus, if the answer you give is selected as the “Best Answer” by the person who submitted the question, you have the potential of being listed as an “Expert” on the page of your target category.
With these quick tips you’ll be landing your dream job in no time!
William L. Mehserle Jr. is co-founder with Michael J. Flanigan of theExpressionary.com, a personalized gift site, and Khraze.com, a new media marketing company. You can connect with him on Twitter at @WilliamMehserle or on LinkedIn
Image Credit: LinkedIn.com