These days, when you’re job hunting, getting your LinkedIn profile up to date is as standard practice as cleaning up your CV and compiling your portfolio. So it’s not surprising that the internet is full of advice on how to use this tool. But, as with anything, some bits of advice are more useful than others. After many hours of research and lots of trial and error, these strategies are what I’ve found work best for me.
1. Establish Your LinkedIn Target Audience
Spend some time considering who your target audience is – for starters, which industries or sectors would you like to work in? Once you’ve nailed that down, consider which people, companies, geographies or job titles you are targeting. Tailoring your message to a specific audience will give you a much better chance of success than a general message aimed at no one in particular.
2. Identify Your Strengths
When I was stuck, I found it helpful to lead with my strengths. To figure out what your strengths are, ask yourself questions like these:
- What am I really good at?
- What do I enjoy doing?
- What types of activities do I receive the most compliments or positive feedback for?
- What type of work environment do I enjoy, and thrive in?
There are no right or wrong answers, as long as your answers are aligned with your motivations and your goals. Your answers will help you structure your LinkedIn online presence.
3. Structure Your Online Presence
As I had recently completed a postgraduate degree and was looking at changing my career direction, I redid my entire LinkedIn profile to ensure that it was geared towards my dream jobs and target industry.
TIP: Be sure to complete all the sections so that your profile is rated ‘all-star’. The LinkedIn algorithm favours this and it will help you be more searchable.
4. Get Outside Help
Next, I spent time learning how to package my key skills with the help of a career coach – Kate Richardson. We focussed on highlighting the three key themes that summarise my (non-linear) career path, and how to use this as a springboard into answering ‘what I’d like to do next’.
Once you’re able to succinctly articulate what you are looking for, the next step becomes a lot easier – mining your networks. I found that conversations were shorter, more valuable and more often led to results when I was able to confidently communicate what I was looking for, as opposed to a long-winded open-ended answer that probably gave the other person no idea at all.
5. Mine Your Networks
I combed through my LinkedIn connections and reached out to anyone who matched at least some of my target criteria.
IMPORTANT: I was not reaching out to ask for a job – rather to connect, share info, grab a coffee, learn about their career journey etc. Basically, I was starting up conversations that could give me insight into the industry/company/career path… and hopefully build a good connection along the way.
6. Be Active On The Platform
In addition to updating my profile, learning to package my key skills and leveraging my networks, I also started being more active on the LinkedIn platform. Three ways to do this:
- Share posts that are in line with the key skills you want to highlight
- Follow people in the industries you are targeting and engage with their content (something else the algorithm likes)
- Monitor your profile views and reach out to viewers who match your target criteria
Outside of LinkedIn, I started planning my personal branding and online presence. I thought about which skills were most important for me to showcase, what I’d like potential clients, collaborators, employers to know about me and how to ensure my personality shone through.
In fact, the blog you’re reading is part of my online presence strategy! Now, when a post of mine catches the eye of a potential collaborator on LinkedIn, they can click through to my website, learn more about me and easily give me a call.