LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network and most of us have an account. Let’s face it, no one actually reads 95% of the stuff that appears on the feed but there is so much of sharing done that LinkedIn is slowly inching closer and closer to the top of the list of largest content aggregators.
There are 3 main types of users of the platform and it is really interesting to note these behavioral traits on a platform where everyone is expected to “behave”.
- The person who updates and maintains his or her profile perfectly. The job history is up to date with a detailed description of the work profile. Actively participates in “social networking” norms and connects with people often.
- The person who updates the personal profile only when job hunting. A majority of the users of LinkedIn fall into this category. They take pains to maintain their profile only when actively looking for a job and once they bag a job, the profile is left in the wilderness until the next need arises.
- The person who just has a profile and that’s it. No profile image, no updates and has a job update dating back to 2006 when the account was first opened. There are plenty of these accounts on LinkedIn as well.
I personally feel that one should have a well maintained LinkedIn presence. Since it is not a popularity contest like Instagram or an ‘express anything’ platform like Facebook, maintaining one should not be that much of a job. Just invest a few minutes on it every month and you have a decent professional profile that you can be proud of.
Here are some basic tips that I follow and have worked wonders for me. By wonders I mean, getting calls from recruiters without having to contact them, getting invited to speak at forums and connecting with people in my domain who are actually worth having a professional acquaintance with.
- Invest in a professional studio picture – Please do not upload a selfie or a picture of you chilling at the beach as your profile image. If you do not have a professional studio picture, get one. It is essential is establishing that first impression. A suit is not essential; a solid color shirt would do as well. No passport photographs!!!
- List out all your professional achievements – This is one place where you get to flaunt all your major and minor career achievements without judgment. So be it the Employee of the Month you received in January 2010 or the Cannes Gold Lion, list it!! Your resume does not have space for all this. This also includes any white papers you have written or videos of any seminars you have presented. DO NOT UPLOAD PRESENTATIONS that you may have made while working for a company.
- Mention your non-professional (personal) projects – Many of us have a small personal project that we are proud of – A blog, an amateur photography page or even a personal website. Use this to showcase your personality and interests and this will be far more powerful than listing out your hobbies.
- Accept all invites – Many people might not agree with this but this is something I do. I accept connection requests from whoever sends me an invite. This not only helps in expanding my network, it also helps in getting in touch with someone who might be a mutual connection for professional reasons like new business opportunities, job openings or even mentorship.
- Write a brief but comprehensive summary – I have noticed many people write elaborate summaries and try to cram in every bit of information about them as possible in that space. Trust me… No one reads it. You, however, need to have a short (100 – 150 word) summary detailing who you are and what you are all about. For e.g. “Creative problem solver with a knack for taking the unbeaten path to deliver results” can easily get the point across faster than writing 5 paragraphs explaining how you started your career and how you reached where you are.
- Change your tagline – Many people do not realize that their tagline can be changed. By default, LinkedIn lists your latest job role as your tagline. Change it to have keywords that define your work experience or skills. SEO will pick up those keywords when recruiters search for someone. Your current job role is by default subject to the LinkedIn SEO anyways, why to waste precious real estate on repeat information.
- Share interesting work/domain related stuff – Instead of sharing an article about the latest trends in digital technology on Facebook, share it on LinkedIn. The crowd who might actually see it are the ones who actually might find it useful. But be very selective what you share as LinkedIn will not showcase everything you shared but only the latest on your profile. You don’t want an article on genome mapping to be overshadowed by a cat video.
- Describe in detail your job role – This is a no-brainer. LinkedIn provides you the space to be as detailed as you want about your current and past job roles. List out all your work activities, clients and projects. You can be as detailed as you want. This allows you to walk around with a 2-page resume with only a summary of every job role. Details if required can be checked on your profile.
Almost all of this stuff is a one-time investment. Sit at your laptop and invest an hour in updating your profile with all these details. Once you accomplish that, all you have to do is revisit the profile once a day or a couple of times a week to maintain it. After all, to move ahead in your career, you do need to invest in yourself.