Social networking has revolutionized communication and information sharing.

Networking is not about how many people you know; it is about how many people know you.

The LinkedIn profile has become a compulsory assumption rather that a preference. Which means, employers do not ask whether you have a LinkedIn profile anymore; they assume that you do.

In fact, a huge number of jobs that are filled are never advertised to the public, and if they are, they’re filled by people who have a LinkedIn connection to the employer.

According to Jobvite, over the last 6 years, 94% of recruiters have taken to social media for recruiting.

Your LinkedIn profile should leave no doubt regarding the kind of job you are looking for and why you are the best person for that position.

How do you want the world to see you professionally? What kinds of work do you enjoy doing? Why are you on LinkedIn? Those are the questions you should think about when creating your LinkedIn profile, so it’s aligned with your personal brand.

Our Guide on Optimizing your LinkedIn profile will broadly cover the following:

What is a LinkedIn profile?

LinkedIn is the leading social networking site for professionals. It focuses on their educational qualifications, work history and professional interests.

An average linkedin account offers a multiverse of features including:

  • Finding and adding professional contacts
  • Requesting and receiving recommendations to validate your expertise
  • Post your resume online and manage the information that’s publicly available about you as a professional.
  • Find and follow companies to receive important updates about job openings, company news, and more.
  • Create and join online professional networking groups by industry, location, age, and educational background.
  • Discover inside connections that help unlock the hidden job market
    and land jobs.
  • Post public messages—status which are typically professional in nature.
  • Create and collaborate on projects, gather data, share files, and solve
    problems.
  • Find out how many times your profile has been seen.
  • Post a digital portfolio.
  • Ask for introductions to their contacts’ contacts.
  • Post and distribute job listings to find talent for your company.

In fact the best feature that a LinkedIn profile provides is the ability to ask contacts in your network for solutions to professional challenges. The LinkedIn Answers feature leverages the power of the user’s trusted professional network to ask businessrelated questions and receive industryspecific answers in return.

Why do you need a LinkedIn Profile

When someone says they are not on Facebook (anymore), we can attach a million reasons for the same. Privacy. Distraction. Just looking for a change. Take your pick.

And in the post-privacy scandal era, there's an almost-magnetic borderline-hipster persona around not being on Facebook anymore.

Good use of LinkedIn can boost both SEO and organic visibility.

Your LinkedIn profile must be consistent with how you portray yourself elsewhere. Not only should your official resume match the experience you list on LinkedIn, but it also should be consistent with Twitter and public Facebook information.

Your LinkedIn network of connections can also be used in multiple ways:

  • Use it to find jobs, people and business opportunities recommended by someone in your contact network.
  • Employers can list jobs and search for potential candidates.
  • Job seekers can review the profile of hiring managers and discover which of their existing contacts can introduce you.

Here you’ll find invitations to connect, or become someone’s contact, as well as messages from contacts. You can send, delete, search for, and archive messages, too.

If you are a job seeker, you may be notified of job openings through messages, so don’t forget to check your inbox every so often—though you will get email notifications of these messages as well. Note: You do not have to accept a request to connect.

Who uses LinkedIn?

According to LinkedInPedia, there are 6 types of people who use LinkedIn.

Job Seekers:

To actively seek out careers and find new opportunities

Active Passive
Professionals who are currently unemployed Professionals looking for a change

Recruiters

Representatives of companies that seek out human capital or talented individuals for their companies

How to make the most of LinkedIn?

  • Use LinkedIn’s advanced search functions to find the right candidate
  • Share updates and news about the latest job openings and availabilities
  • Building segmented lists of candidates in your niche
  • Optimise your profile to appeal to the right candidates

Business Development Professionals

To find prospects, build relationships with them, and then eventually, get them into the sales funnel, and sell them their products or service

How to make the most of LinkedIn?

  • Gaining traction and attention from your target audience using status updates and news sharing
  • Optimising your profile to sell your unique content advantage on LinkedIn
  • Offer something unique in exchange for contact details (instead of cold pitching; this builds a relationship that you can work off from later on)
  • Getting them into your sales and lead funnel, build rapport and trust with your prospects
  • Making a limited time offer, or a free trial to build interest in your product or service
B2C Customers B2B Customers
only one contact multiple contacts
search for a product supplier not

Businessmen

To find new business partnerships with other executives, or simply to connect and reach out to them.

  • If you’re trying to build an audience around your brand, write tons of text status updates (as of the time of this writing, text based status updates are the most favoured by LinkedIn over any other form of status updates like videos, or pictures)
  • You can use LinkedIn Pulse to write thought leadership articles, industry research and opinions about your field of work, to get conversations going.
  • Another option that you can consider is to cold pitch fellow connections through filtering your target audience using LinkedIn’s Advanced Search Features. You’ll be able to see this feature by going to Search Bar > Search For People. Again, more details about these techniques will come soon as this blog progresses.

How to write a LinkedIn profile

The profile section of LinkedIn should look familiar to you. Most of the fields correspond to sections of a traditional resume.

Complete each section, and you will have a digital resume. You can include contact information, a photo—keep it professional—and links to your website, other social media accounts, and more.

HIRATION PRO TIP: Most people want their LinkedIn profile to be discovered and found by people they do not know—in the hopes that it will lead to professional development, career opportunities, networking, and more.

Do not share any information you do not feel comfortable having anyone with Internet access discovering.

The process

Signing UP / Signing IN

It is recommended you use your real name—the one you use in professional settings. You must have an email address to sign up.

Further, while personalizing your LinkedIn URL, draw an URL as close to your name as possible. This is to reduce any confusion on the recruiter's end and to enhance your resume experience.

Hiration PRO TIP: Your LinkedIn reflects your professional career and your trajectory. Make sure your password is strong and try to make your account as immune to hacking as possible. This is done by limiting the number of devices you log in from and updating the password on a regular basis.

The picture

Appear Professional but Personable

  • Smile in your profile picture. Employers like to hire happy people.
  • You do not need to have a suit on, but you do need to appear professional and approachable.
  • Shoot in a bright location against a solid background, and upload a high-quality photo. You’ll be surprised how much it makes you stand out.

Your LinkedIn profile is where potential employers will get their first glance at your experience and background. Leave a great first impression by getting your profile in order with the following checklist.

Members with photos get 14x more profile views on average

The promise

The promise is what your profile expresses and how to manage what your prospective employer can view.

Optimizing

To optimize your LinkedIn profile for the most preferrd LinkedIn jobs:

  • Include a professional header
  • Introduce keywords in your job position or title.
  • Link to your company’s blog under “websites”.
  • Add a Twitter handle, if applicable.
  • Claim a unique URL to use for email signatures.
  • Include keywords in a well written summary.
  • List specialities and skills above the fold.
  • Moving recommendations closer to the top of the page.

Headline

Melanie Pinola in her book, LinkedIn In 30 Minutes, directs users to make sure their LinkedIn profile has a targeted headline.

Not only should the headline clearly state your career focus, it’s also the most important place to add a keyword or two, because this influences how you appear in search results.

As Kent puts it, "POST with intention. REPOST with caution.”

Summary

Get Descriptive & Aspirational. Think of your summary as your “Elevator Pitch”.

It should describe what you do to someone who is unfamiliar with your position and role.

Skills

You have the option to add “skills” to your LinkedIn profile, but now you can do more with “skills.” You can track the top companies and LinkedIn profiles related to those skills, see related skills you may want to add to your profile, and find job openings related to those skills.

Keywords

Your LinkedIn profile must include keywords for specific skills that match your desired job.

Recommendations

Before asking for a recommendation, develop an outline. Make it as easy as possible for your boss, co-worker or client to write your recommendation.

Ask a supervisor at each of your jobs to write a brief recommendation. Be prepared to write one in return.

While recommendations from co-workers help, recommendations from managers are
most impactful.

LinkedIn Profile vs Resume

If you start with a rock solid resume, your LinkedIn profile won’t take too much work. Nevertheless, there are big differences between the two. Address the following differences to ensure your LinkedIn profile shines:

Level of Specificity

Your traditional resume is tailored for a single opportunity, whereas your LinkedIn profile should speak to all potential employers. Get specific with each position on your profile, and include additional details, including accomplishments, awards, skills or special presentations.

The Length

It’s fair game to elaborate on LinkedIn. Include past positions, initiatives, skills, college projects, publications, and interests. But remember, it still needs to be concise and compelling. Most importantly, use the profile to tell your unique story.

Recommendations

Your resume rarely contains recommendations, whereas your profile should be littered with third-party references. Recommendations allow employers to quickly assess the reliability and accuracy of your profile.

Profile as a Platform

Your LinkedIn profile is a living and breathing platform where other professionals and employers can interact, learn, and contact you. It’s a living resume more than a statement of skills. Put this organism to work by
optimizing your profile.

Basic or Premium

Try the “Basic” account to start. You will likely find it meets all of your job-searching needs. Choosing a “Premium” plan may be advisable if you are a recruiter or hiring manager and would like extra tools to help you find qualified candidates.

LinkedIn Jobs

According to The 2016 Job Search Guide, these are the following steps in which you can optimize your LinkedIn profile to turn your future role into more than just a LinkedIn job:

STEP 1: Specialize & Evolve: Make a list of all of your skills and know where they can take you. Uncover what you’re best at and continue to hone those skills throughout your career.

STEP 2: Plot your Progress: Use your specialized skills as a compass for the future. Write a six month, twelve month, and two year plan that describe how you want your career to progress and hold yourself accountable.

STEP 3: Define “Balance”: There’s no magic formula for work-life balance. Everyone’s different. Make a highly specific list with your top priorities in life and rank them honestly. How much time should you spend on personal versus professional pursuits? Only you can decide.

STEP 4: Combine Passion & Problem-Solving: Having passion for your work is wonderful. But it’s your ability to apply that passion to your organization’s most pressing problems that will ultimately allow you to grow with the business.

STEP 5: Create Lasting Relationships: Your network is your net worth. Surround yourself with people you admire to ensure learning, growth, and potential references down the line.

While expert, Jodi Glickman, suggests breaking out of your comfort zone as the initial criteria to build strong relationships, Chester Elton advocates that our skills, motivations and personality play an equal role in finding jobs and being satisfied with them.

Features and Possibilities

The LinkedIn job search features:

  • Potential Connections: Our platform evaluates your network and automatically shows you who you know at interesting job opportunties. These insights can help reveal old connections that you never would have thought of to reach out to.

  • Targeted Insights: LinkedIn’s new jobs pages provide unique insights such as who from your current company as well as which alumni from your school now work at the company of interest. These connections are a great way to reach
    out to find out more about the position.

Jobs You Might Be Interested In: The information on your profile and search activity will all influence the listings LinkedIn displays as “Jobs you might be interested in.” Navigate to your “Jobs” tab to customize the location, company size and industry of these listings.

  • Meet the team: With this feature you can learn more about the type of people you may work with if you pursue the opportunity. It highlights people with similar roles, as well as their skills and career highlights.

To make the most of Linkedin Jobs:

  • Advanced Filtering: Advanced filtering allows you to sort jobs by location, companies, job functions, industries, and seniority level. Use these filters to find the jobs that meet your criteria.

  • Apply with Profile: Many employers now allow users to apply by submitting their profile directly from their smartphones.

  • Job Alerts & Notifications: As you search for jobs, click the star in the
    upper right-hand corner to save your search. This triggers a daily email with fresh results that match the saved search. In addition, you can set up push notifications which will alert you when new jobs are posted that match
    these criteria.

Contacts

Expert, Jim Citrin talks about How to Connect with a Cold Contact.

So, you found a stellar company, but you’re not connected with any of its employees. You are in luck, because connecting cold is quite common. If you plan to reach out, here are some tips for personalizing your LinkedIn request:

  • Find common ground: Do research on the professional or organization and make mention of your common ground in the first sentence.
  • Get to the point: Tell them what you want and why you’re relevant in a respectful, but honest tone.
  • Keep it short: You’re the newest person on their radar.
  • Open up a two-way street: Be sure to offer something up in return
    for connecting, and say thank you.

Using LinkedIn to Network with Weak Ties

Contrary to popular belief, you should network with both professional and personal contacts. Distant friends, relatives and some of their connections can open many unexpected doors.

Consider the following tactics for building a LinkedIn network:

  • Connect with fringe friends: Whether you met in college or that random Pilates class, all those friends and colleagues you have lost touch with are perfect candidates for growing your network.
  • Prioritize super-connectors: Comb through your list and connect with the ones that have the largest networks. These are the relationship builders, and they can unlock an exponential amount of data about future jobs.
  • Contribute to conversation: Get set up in groups that interest you and weigh in where you feel comfortable.

Add-ons

News

LinkedIn News is designed to deliver news customized to your professional interests. It will display industry updates based on categories you select.

Connections

Find: When you first sign up for an account, and in various sections across the site once you have an account up and running, LinkedIn will prompt you to find contacts by giving it permission to search your email inbox to find connections who already have accounts, by emailing your contacts directly, and by suggesting people it thinks you may know—based on the information, such as job, education, and volunteer history, you share on your LinkedIn account. You can also always click on the “Contacts” link at the top of the page, and click “Add Connections,” OR use the search bar at the top of LinkedIn to find people to add on LinkedIn. Consider this section of LinkedIn like your digital address book or Rolodex.

Connect: When LinkedIn finds or suggests contacts to connect with, you will see a profile icon, the user’s name, current title, or location and a “+ Connect” button. Click “+ Connect.” An automated message will appear that may or may not ask how you know the person. Select the best option. There will also be an automated email that the person will receive, which you can customize if you want to be more personalized. Then click “Send Invitation.”

Sort: Once you have accumulated contacts, you will be able to sort through them by type—classmates, colleagues, group members, and so forth—as well as by company, location, industry, and recently updated profile.

Network Statistics: You can find out statistics on how many contacts you have, how many contacts they connect you to, what industries your contacts work in, and where your contacts are located geographically.

LinkedIn Jobs

Discover job openings: You can search for jobs by industry, location, job title, and more. LinkedIn will also suggest jobs to you based on the information you’ve shared. Recruiters may also contact you based on your online profile.

Learn about the job requirements and company: If you click on a job opening, you will usually find out when the job was posted, what skills and experiences are required, other details like benefits, and what company—and often who within the company—posted the position. Plus, you can usually see how many people have clicked on and applied for the job through LinkedIn already. You can also see a link to the company’s LinkedIn profile, so you can follow the company to be notified of news and job openings.

Apply for jobs: After you search for jobs, you can save them to the “Saved
Jobs” section of LinkedIn for future reference. You can usually also apply
to the job directly through LinkedIn or find out how to apply online.

The more complete your profile is, the more likely you are to find jobs that fit you—and the more likely recruiters and hiring managers are to find you when they search for candidates for their job openings.

Tips

Increase your visibility by having at least 75-100 connections. By adding connections, you increase the likelihood that your profile will be seen first when people are searching for talent.

  • Enhance your connectability by not only listing your current or last employer, but all of them. Add your LinkedIn profile to your e-mail signature so people have a quick way of learning more about you.
  • Improve your Google Page Rank. LinkedIn profiles receive a high PageRank in
    Google, so it’s a good way to influence what people see when they search for you.
  • Make your interview go smoother. When you have an interview, look up the people you’re meeting. Chances are high that they’re on LinkedIn, so you’ll know more about them before you meet them.
  • Gauge the health of a company. You can search companies on LinkedIn to see who’s been recently hired, the rate of turnover, and if key people are jumping ship.
  • Track start-ups. You can see people in your network who are initiating new companies.
  • Identify warm leads into companies that appeal to you. Some of your connections may be linked to people either in companies or jobs that appeal to you. Ask for introductions in your quest for information.

Key Takeaways

  1. The top portion should include your full name, location, current (or former) title, past positions, and educational credentials.

  2. The summary section should be used to delineate your professional experience, background and interests. Use this area to highlight who you are and what you’re recognized for. The specialties field allows you to list your areas of expertise that will help potential employers find you when they’re seeking talent.

  3. Sorted in chronological order, the experience section should include the name of your employer, a brief description of the company, your title, as well as your main responsibilities and accomplishments in a bulleted format. Tell a story about how you added value. Hiring managers are attracted to individuals whose past performance had a positive impact on the viability of the organization.

  4. The education section should also be listed in chronological order with the name of the school, its location, the degree you received along with some associated activities and honors.

  5. The additional information element gives you the chance to give users more insight into your professional qualifications by adding some websites, groups, and interests.

  6. Make every effort to obtain at least 3-5 recommendations from former managers, peers and direct reports. These help illustrate your achievements, project credibility, and reasons why people enjoy working with you.

  7. Be sure that your profile is available for public viewing at all times – especially if you’re looking for a new job.