Whether or not you’re an active LinkedIn user, you’re probably well aware of the platform’s purpose: to facilitate online professional networking and connect job seekers with opportunities. Still, optimizing your presence on the platform isn’t necessarily intuitive, especially if you’re not particularly into social media or self-promotion.
But even if you’re not actively job searching at the moment, it’s worth your while to spend a bit of time ensuring that you’re following best practices on LinkedIn. By taking full advantage of all of LinkedIn’s features and settings, you have the opportunity to land your dream job — or, at the very least, to connect with someone who might one day help connect you with your future boss.
Here are 12 LinkedIn tips to follow to ensure you’re getting as much as possible out of your account:
1. If you’re not yet a LinkedIn member, read up on what, exactly, LinkedIn is — and why you should join (hint: it’s a free way to search for jobs, grow your professional network, get career advice and build your brand).
2. If you’re building your LinkedIn Profile for the first time, spend some time reading about LinkedIn best practices.
If you already have a profile, that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. Your profile should always be up-to-date, even if you aren’t actively looking for a job, and it should focus on your career highlights. (No, you don’t need to detail your entire life history. In fact, here are four things you should remove from your LinkedIn profile!)
3. Do you need a LinkedIn summary?
Simply put, yes. This text, which appears at the top of your profile, is essentially your chance to make a first impression on recruiters. While the rest of your profile will detail your employment history, the LinkedIn summary serves as a sales pitch of sorts; in it, be sure to highlight your skills, strengths, what value you can add to a workplace, and what your interests are. Here are some LinkedIn summary examples to help you get started, and five tips for writing a standout LinkedIn summary.
4. In addition to your LinkedIn summary, your LinkedIn headline is one of the first opportunities you have to catch a recruiter’s attention.
The headline should be a brief, concise description of who you are professionally; think of it as a shorter version of your summary.
5. Your photos matter!
6. Think hard about the skills you’re listing on your profile.
You may need to rework your LinkedIn skills so that they actually help your job search.
7. Leverage your connections by writing (and asking for) recommendations and by endorsing people in your professional network.
8. You may notice that you can follow LinkedIn influencers like Sallie Krawcheck.
Following these leaders — in addition to people you actually know — can be a great source of inspiration!
9. Join some LinkedIn groups!
This will allow you to connect with people who have similar interests, or it might allow you to stay in touch with a group of people you’re not in close contact with anymore. For instance, if you’re a writer, you might join a group for writers and editors and learn about different writing opportunities across industries — or you may want to see if your university has an alumni LinkedIn group! (Chances are it does.)
10. Make sure you’re aware of how the LinkedIn privacy settings work.
There are different settings you can choose from, depending on how public or private you want your profile to be.
11. If you’re ever having an issue with a member or connection, and you’d prefer that they not be able to find or access your professional information, you can block someone on LinkedIn.
But hopefully it doesn’t come to that!