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10 tips to use LinkedIn the right way

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Posted at 12:59 PM, Feb 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-10 02:07:02-04

For job hunters LinkedIn is a great way to find and apply to vacancies, as well as keep a resume in clear view of hiring managers.  If you are already employed, then t’s a chance to find opportunities for advancement — and for those opportunities to find you.

LinkedIn can be competitive, however, and you’ll want to stand out from your peers, so make sure you’re using it the right way.  None of the following tips should take more than a few minutes to implement.  After all, LinkedIn shouldn’t be your full-time job; it should help you find it.

1. Choose the right photo 

Your first improvement should be the first thing anybody will see: your photograph. LinkedIn is a professional networking site, with an emphasis on “professional.” Don’t choose a silly photo, even if you’re applying to companies that have a casual environment.  Show employers that you take work seriously. Employers aren’t likely to visit your profile twice if they didn’t like what they saw the first time. 

2. Refine your headline

Whenever you update your job title on LinkedIn, the site automatically generates a headline for your profile.  What you might not know is that you can change this.  If you’d like to stand out from other job seekers, then this is a must. A break from format will catch eyes, and will make you look savvier. Change it to something more specific, such as why you should be hired.  “Associate at ABC Company” says very little, but “Driven, Enthusiastic Professional” might say it all.

3. Create a vanity URL
“Check out my profile at www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=AAQAAAoHBL0JJNmBBjqjqbOZktt0vM,” said nobody ever. You can set up a /FirstnameLastname address as long as nobody has it already.  If your name is taken, try something like /FirstnameExpertise.  It’s much easier to tell people, and it even looks good on a business card

 

 

4. Actively seek recommendations and endorsements

LinkedIn offers great tools in the form of Recommendations and Endorsements. Recommendations are testimonials your connections write, and they’re valuable insights into what it’s like working with you. Don’t be shy about asking colleagues for one. Alternatively, ask if they’d be willing to endorse a skill. Endorsements only take a single click, allowing connections to vouch for your performance in anything from phone support to corporate management.

5. Be selective with your endorsements

With a versatile feature like Endorsements, you may find people endorse you for skills that are irrelevant to your goals. If you’re applying for jobs as a photographer, an Endorsement for duct repair isn’t going to help. LinkedIn allows you to reject Endorsements, so keep your profile relevant and uncluttered.

At CSU-Global, we offer a feature that might be more relevant to your LinkedIn profile: Skills Endorsements and Awards of Completion.  These are part of a larger initiative that we call Degree Optimization, and students earn them when they complete a series of courses that promote their understanding in a particular skill set. It’s a great way for students to promote the specific skills they’ve developed on their way to earning a degree, and also a great way to communicate through LinkedIn and other platforms what they’ve learned.

6. Keep your job descriptions brief

We know what you did at your last job (“everything.)” But listing every function you performed at every job won’t make you look versatile; it will make you look overwhelmed, and walls of text are not conducive to careful reading. Use 3-5 bullets, and keep them brief. Employers know that your day-to-day tasks entailed much more, but they will also see that you can identify which duties were the most important.

7. Check your tone 

Your profile should be concise, but you should take care to not appear terse or dismissive. Read over your profile to ensure that any frustrations don’t come through. This is not the place the share concerns about a previous employer.  You may be asked in an interview why you left a previous position, but on LinkedIn, employers want to know your skills and abilities.  Don’t use it as a platform for venting.

8. Participate 

Pick one skill that you’d like to spotlight, and find the most active or interesting group relevant to that topic. Connect with the users who seem to know their stuff. Answer questions that others ask. Not only might potential employers see your postings, but you’ll establish a camaraderie with other users, who might reach out to you with an opening that suits your talents.

9. Find clients and colleagues

Even if you don’t use LinkedIn extensively, you have connections. Look them up! Add old coworkers and past clients to your network. It’s a great way to keep in touch, and it will let potential employers see you as part of a wider, healthier network. They may even leave valuable Recommendations and Endorsements on your profile. 

10. Keep it professional

You may be connected to friends on LinkedIn, but it should never become a place for casual banter, teasing, or anything you wouldn’t want your boss (present or future!) overhearing. Keep interactions polite and work-appropriate without exception. This is great advice across all social networks, by the way. If you don’t block strangers from following your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or other profiles, make sure it’s because there’s nothing there an employer would find objectionable. If there is, then be sure to change that immediately.
As always, one of the most helpful things in a job hunt is a degree in a relevant field.  At CSU-Global we offer both bachelor’s and master’s degrees, all in a 100 percent online environment built for working adults. Get in touch today to explore your options.