How to make most out of LinkedIn for your Digital Marketing Job Search
The figures don’t lie – 98.2% of recruiters use LinkedIn to help to source, research and recruit potential candidates. While the old-fashioned method of recruiting through personal relationships is unlikely to wane in popularity, LinkedIn enables virtual connections to develop and, when used correctly, to prosper in an online environment.
Unfortunately, it’s a crowded market – LinkedIn says that 20% of their users are actively looking for jobs at any given time. The question on the tip of a lot of tongues is, ‘How can I make myself stand out?’ With the massive urban growth and the increasing need to get a job, it is becoming difficult to make yourself stand out.
Luckily, there are things that you can do to help yourself to get found, and to build excitement and set expectations when a potential recruiter arrives. Here are some of our top tips for getting found and employed through LinkedIn.
Optimizing your profile
The most important thing to do is to optimise your profile – remember, this is the first impression that you’ll give to potential recruiters, so make sure that it’s a fair reflection of your skills and abilities. Use your real name and a professional headshot, if you have one – if not, ask a colleague to take a photo on a smartphone. Ideally, you should dress smartly and stand in front of a neutral background, using just the actual headshot for your profile picture.
Next, update your professional headline, optimising for keywords and also for human eyes. Remember, your headline and your headshot will appear in search results, so these two single factors could hugely influence the first impressions that you give to a potential recruiter.
Now you’ll want to update your summary – this should be your personal elevator pitch, a brief description of your experience, your skills and your interests. It’s a good idea to include contact details here, too.
Don’t forget to make use of “Slideshare”
You can even upload a short presentation to Slideshare and embed it in to your profile. It’s a good idea to create a short ‘social synopsis’, summarizing your working history in 3-5 slides – if you work in a visual industry, such as design, this can be even more effective. Another option is to turn your CV in to a slideshow.
You’ll also want to add as much information about your previous employment and your education as possible, including job titles, dates, locations and brief summarizations of your day-to-day roles. You can receive recommendations for your work, and there’s no better way to receive than to give – make a point of leaving a recommendation for a contact once a week, and you’ll soon find that they begin to reciprocate. Pretty soon, you’ll be swimming in recommendations and showing potential employers that your work is highly regarded.
Do add projects
Still on the profile, you can also consider adding projects that you’ve worked on. While you can add major work-related projects here, it’s a good idea to consider your extra-curricular activities, too. For example, although I work in social media by day, the ‘projects’ section of my own LinkedIn account includes the writing that I do in the evenings, including graphic novel reviews, the music that I’ve written and the personal website that I launched in 2011.
The last thing to do is to add some skills – your LinkedIn connections can endorse you for almost any skill imaginable, from golf to prostitution, so make sure that you list the skills that you want to be endorsed for. Think in keywords – LinkedIn will help you to pick your choices by autocompleting your query based upon what other LinkedIn users have added to their profiles.
By now, your profile should be starting to shape up, so save your changes and view it. You’ll notice that at the top of the screen, LinkedIn prompts you to add further information, and they’ll also give you a ‘profile strength’ indicator over on the right-hand side. While it’s a good idea to follow their recommendations, it’s hard to draw the line between where optimising your profile ends and where simply filling up their database begins.
The next step – get involved!
Now that your profile is optimised, you’re ready to get out there. Participation is key to LinkedIn, so make a point of logging in several times a week at a minimum, leaving the occasional ‘like’ or comment on the updates in your timeline and posting your own, if you have anything that’s relevant to say. Do not rely on the LinkedIn data processing activity to dig you, you need to be proactive and catch attention of its bots to feature you.
Still on the homepage, check out the ‘who’s viewed your profile’ section to find out which of your contacts has been cyber-stalking. LinkedIn Premium members can see further details, and it’s a good investment if you’re looking for employment – find out who’s been viewing your profile, and send them a message to follow-up if they work in an interesting niche. While they might not have been actively recruiting, it’s still a good idea to forge relationships with relevant people in your industry, and it never hurts to say hello.
After that, you’re ready to start establishing yourself as a thought-leader. While LinkedIn’s much-mourned Answers section has been discontinued, you can still participate in relevant industry groups. The key is to avoid being self-promotional –read the articles that other people are sharing, leave comments and share news and information from third-party websites, rather than your own. That’s not to say you should never share your own articles – just follow the 80/20 rule, by posting third-party content 80% of the time, and your own content for the remaining 20%.
But the crowning glory for job-seekers is LinkedIn’s ‘jobs’ section – using the information that you’ve already provided to the network, they can suggest relevant jobs that you might be both interested in and qualified for. You can save searches, save jobs to view them later, and you can even apply for them directly through LinkedIn.
If required, pay a small amount to get featured!
They even have a range of purpose-built account upgrades, starting at £12.95 per month, which will allow you to become a featured applicant – this means that your application will appear at the top of the list for the recruiters who posted your job. You’ll also be able to view the full list of people who have viewed your profile, and you can access specialized groups, webinars and training materials that are designed to help you to reach your full potential.
One other idea is to use LinkedIn’s in-built advertisements to promote yourself to relevant users. For example, you could target a short text-based (or even video-based) advert to the heads of HR in your chosen industry. Although LinkedIn’s average cost-per-click is higher than Google and Facebook advertisements, it can be worth it to pay a premium to reach people while they’re already in work-mode.
Of course, if you’re looking for a new job but you’re already in full-time employment, the chances are that you don’t want your employers to know what you’re up-to. Updating your profile in bulk can give the game away, but don’t worry – there’s a way around that.
Visit the settings page, and on the main overview, click ‘turn on/off your activity broadcasts’. By unchecking the box, people will no longer see your updates – LinkedIn even note that “you may want to turn this option off if you’re looking for a job and you don’t want your present employer to see that you’re updating your profile”. Just remember to change it back once you’ve finished.
Maintaining an appealing presence on LinkedIn is an ongoing process, and one which requires time and dedication. Try to log in several times a week, and update at least one thing on your profile every third visit. Leave recommendations once a week, and participate in groups to surround yourself with the community. By simply being seen, you’ll be surprised at how many opportunities come your way.
Have you used LinkedIn to search for new employment? Did you have any success? Let me know with a comment!