LinkedIn is a professional social networking site all about expanding your professional and industry connections. It’s a great platform for connecting with your past and present colleagues, searching for jobs, getting involved in industry conversations, and building and maintaining relationships with clients, colleagues and companies.
This article will help you set up your profile and provide you with some great tips to get started.
Setting up your LinkedIn profile is pretty straightforward. Head to the website to create your account using your email and choose a password.
Choose a photo
Making a good first impression is important in all professional situations including online. Therefore, your photo is a key part of your profile which markets you as a potential employee. When selecting a photo, choose a clear head and shoulders shot with a plain background where you are smartly dressed, and ensure you are the only person in the photo to avoid confusion.
Add a headline
This is what people see first so utilise this. It doesn’t just have to be your job title. You can use this section to say a bit more about your role, why you do what you do or what type of opportunities you are seeking. Or if you aren’t currently job seeking, you can use this headline to try and generate leads and start conversations. See below examples for some inspiration:
Job seeker example #1: I am a recent school leaver looking to kick-start my career in the Health and Social Care sector
Job seeker example #2: Experienced team leader looking for opportunities in the Hospitality industry
Lead generation example: Talk to me about staff training and development. Get in touch on 029 2046 4727
Your LinkedIn profile summary is another important part of your profile. Here, you can let everyone know what type role you are looking for (or currently in) and highlight your key skills. There is a 2000 character limit but you want this to be as short and snappy as possible, so aim for concise sentences, write in first person and avoid jargon. But don’t be afraid of injecting some personality into this section either, just keep it professional. Make sure you check for spelling or grammar errors before posting too.
If you have filled in the rest of your profile, LinkedIn will automatically generate a suggested summary for you which you can edit or add to before posting to your profile. So if you’re not sure what to write, leave this until later.
Add detail to your profile
Flesh out your profile with your education, professional history and achievements. This section is the body of your profile and acts as your CV, showing your experience and expertise. Add in where you have worked, how long you worked there and what you did and achieved. You don’t have to add in your entire work history, but definitely include your current position and at least two prior positions.
To create a custom URL, view your profile and select ‘edit public profile & URL’ from the right-hand side of the page. First, try your first and last name e.g. www.linkedin.com/joebloggs or if that’s already taken add your middle initial or your full middle name.
When your profile is up to date you can add your personalised URL to your CV so a potential employer can find you easily, though don’t forget to remove this if it’s a blind recruitment process.
Expand your network
Now you’re ready to start adding connections and expanding your network. Send invitations to connect with people you know in a professional capacity, educational capacity or those you have a common interest with.
On LinkedIn you don’t have to personally know someone to add them as a connection. Our top tip is to send connection invites with people in the industry you want to get into, with the job you’d love to have, or at the company you’d love to work for, to message and ask for advice. Most people will be flattered and respond with some tips. You might even get job opportunities from this.
Engage with content
Use LinkedIn like any other social network – post updates, post links to blogs, engage with other people’s posts. Be active in liking and sharing interesting articles and news – these will come up in your main newsfeed.
Join industry groups, follow relevant organisations, and contribute to conversations you’re interested in.
As part of your profile set up, you are encouraged to add skills such as ‘time management’ or ‘public speaking’ to your profile which others can endorse and recommend you for. Just make sure you’re happy with what others have endorsed you for.
You can now also request recommendations from your LinkedIn connections which attach to your profile. This is a great way to make your profile stand out from the rest. Positive recommendations written by previous colleagues, employers or clients can show a hiring manager what kind of employee you are and give testament to your accomplishments.
To get a recommendation, firstly decide who to reach out to. This should be someone you have a good professional relationship with such as a former manager, colleague or client. Send a request by clicking on their profile, clicking on ‘more’ and selecting ‘request a recommendation’. The more personalised you make the accompanying message, the more likely you will be to get what you’ve asked for. It can be helpful to include a reminder of a project you worked on together or skills you developed whilst working with them, as well as giving them an opportunity to say no if they don’t have time or don’t feel comfortable saying yes. For more tips about how to request a recommendation for your LinkedIn profile and an example request message, click here.
Check your dashboard
Your profile dashboard is private to you and tells you information such as how many people viewed your profile, and how many searches your profile appeared in. They also have the following options you can turn on or off:
Social Selling Index (SSI)
LinkedIn have their own Social Selling Index where you can check how well you are reaching and selling to other people, if that's what you want to use LinkedIn for. It’s not easy to find on LinkedIn so to check your score and compare it to others in your industry, it’s best to click below, Google it or type this into your browser and click on the ‘get your score free’ button: https://business.linkedin.com/sales-solutions/social-selling/the-social-selling-index-ssi
Looking to progress or kick-start your career and gain a nationally recognised qualification? An Apprenticeship could be for you! From Accounting to Care, find out more about the routes we offer here.