LinkedIn has become almost buzzword for our generation. It’s so prevalent and all encompassing, yet it seems like barely anyone knows quite how to properly use it. As the least “fun” of the social networks, it’s also the one most people have least experience of.
Nonetheless, there are a few tips ‘n’ tricks to get the most out of it, and most of them are incredibly easy.
Use it little and often.
It’s much better to get into a LinkedIn checking and editing habit rather than trying to get it perfectly connected in one go. You wouldn't try to add a hundred Facebook friends in a day, would you? Likewise, keeping your profile active and up-to-date is the best way to use LinkedIn as your foremost industry connection.
Make it personal – but not too informal.
A bland profile is unappealing – but surely not more so than one that looks like it’s been confused for a Twitter account. For example: a profile photo is fine, but if it’s one of you by the Leaning Tower of Pisa, that better be because you’re aiming to be a travel writer.
Fill it up.
Unlike a conventional job application, there is no limit to the amount of experience and information you can include on your LinkedIn profile. Take advantage of this – just make sure your most impressive achievements are closest to the top.
Just like other forms of social networking, there’s really no point cultivating a desirable online presence if nobody knows you’re there. So get connecting! You never know who you’ll find.
If you have a company you have a career-crush on, follow them. For one, it’ll mean you’re one of the first to know about opportunities as they arise, but secondly, it’ll make you known to the company. That way, they might find a role for you outside of the traditional means.
Get job alerts.
Like with other job hunting sites, LinkedIn allows you to sign up for email alerts when your favorite job search terms appear as listings. This is useful for two reasons – firstly, it may connect you with an opportunity really easily, and secondly, because it will be a daily (or at least weekly) email reminder to go check your LinkedIn!
Make your “job title” into a subheading.
Instead of merely putting a job title in that section, add all your career keywords. This is a great way to make yourself more searchable to employers, who are much more likely to be hunting for “search engine optimization” rather than “assistant.”
Be open …
There are certainly advantages to having a lot of contacts on LinkedIn. It makes you look popular and in-demand, as well as meaning you have more feelers out for job opportunities.
… but picky.
There is no point having people on there who have totally no career prospects for you. While adding friends can seem fun, that’s not what LinkedIn is for. Casting too wide a net may mean you miss out on what could actually be perfect opportunities for you, simply because they’re getting lost in the clutter. Try to strike a balance.
Use it even when you have a job.
Even if you're in an enjoyable and fulfilling career, there’s no harm in maintaining and checking your LinkedIn. It’ll keep you in the habit of it, which is no bad thing, plus employers look both for active (job-seeking) and passive applicants. And being active on LinkedIn looks good to any employer – present and future!
Annie Walton Doyle writes for Inspiring Interns, which helps career starters find the perfect job, in everything from sales jobs to marketing internships. To browse their graduate jobs London listings, visit their website.