Standout on LinkedIn
Episode 34 - How to make your LinkedIn profile stand out
Understanding the power of LinkedIn over our careers
There is no question that if you are looking for a "white-collar" job in the corporate, public, or nonprofit sectors, you need to be on LinkedIn.
In addition to the blog below, I'd like to invite you to download my LinkedIn checklist so that you can review your profile top to bottom.
Linkedin is considered the platform for professional networking and job hunting. Furthermore, with the advent of COVID and many workplaces and coffee shops around the globe still shut down, LinkedIn is the new "High Street." You can "bump" into many exciting people on LinkedIn, reconnect with old classmates, and find out who your future boss will be.
It's also very global in reach. With over 600 million users, it's the only mainstream western social platform available worldwide, including China. In contrast, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are still out of reach in that country (at publishing).
Here are some statistics that prove the point of maximizing and amplifying your presence on the platform:
Less than half of people with LinkedIn profiles are actively using the platform. That is, posting links, sharing content, commenting, and updating their profiles regularly. This is good news for you if you want to use LinkedIn to boost your professional connections and reputation.
Linkedin users are high earners. Data shows that close to 44% of its users in the United States take home an annual salary above the national median. It's safe to say we can extrapolate that to other countries as well. So again, if you are in a white-collar profession, this is likely the platform for you to develop your connections and opportunities for work and business.
Linkedin is excellent for discovering people. Who are the right people to connect within the organization you want to work for? Who are the right recruiters and headhunters for your expertise and do your research before applying for a job (i.e. who was doing the job before you? Who will be your manager and co-workers?). By doing a bit of research, you can quickly uncover all of the people listed above.
Recruiters and hiring managers are heavy users and likely to be on LinkedIn every day. There are, on average 14 million jobs advertised on LinkedIn at any one time. And I don't know a single recruiter or head hunter who doesn't rely heavily on LinkedIn to do their jobs - both to advertise roles and search for great candidates.
Despite all of the above, which when we put pen to paper shows the platform's power over one's career, it's amazing to see how many professionals neglect their profiles and don't take steps to make the platform work for them instead of against them.
Linkedin is the new High Street
Imagine LinkedIn is the central business hub in your city. In Melbourne, that would be Collins Street. Imagine walking up Collins Street on your way to an important meeting that could have huge repercussions on your career. I'm assuming you would be dressed to impress and ready to deliver your pitch, yes?
Well, that's how you'd have to be when you are on Linkedin. Let's start with the basics:
1. You need a professional photo
The first step to impress LinkedIn is not dissimilar from the first impression you want to have when you walk into a job interview. So investing in a professional photo is vital, and LinkedIn data shows it can get your profile 14 times more views than other types of profile pictures. A great photo needs to inspire confidence, convey work experience, and portrait you as a likable person.
I do LinkedIn Audits as a service, and it still surprises me how many excellent professionals have terrible profile photos. I cannot stress enough how important it is to find a great picture that shows your best self to your network.
2. Your work experience needs to be meaningful and relatable
Many people focus on writing a great headline for their profiles and having a very inspirational About section. But when you check out their Work Experience section, nothing makes sense. You don't know the organizations they worked for; their job titles are a jumble of acronyms and abbreviations that means nothing. Even a job experience that lists you as a "Project Manager" working for KPMG would leave me wondering: what area of KPMG? What type of project was this? How big or small? Was it internal, or was it for a client? In sum, you have to add a paragraph to explain what you did and make it relatable so that a future employer will look and think, "well, we may need this skill/experience" in the future.
LinkedIn profiles with detailed work experience have 5 times more connection requests, 8 times more views, and 10 times more messages.
3. You need to be an active participant in the platform
The best way to use LinkedIn is to:
maintain professional relationships by connecting with people you know,
find people you may need to contact for business development or professional opportunities and to
expand your reach and reputation.
The best way to do these things is to share great content on topics aligned with your profession and expertise. This will ensure you are kept "top of mind" of those who already know you, that is, your connections. But most importantly, when they like and comment on your posts, your posts will show up on their connections' feed. And your reach is then many times bigger than your immediate connections. Just think about that, and feed the LinkedIn algorithm with good content that is great for sharing:
Have you read a research or business article that will resonate with other professionals? Please share it.
Has anyone in your feed posted a great article, opinion, or story that is related to your expertise? Like and comment on that post.
Pitfalls: be careful when using the platform
Be careful how you use LinkedIn, compared to how you may use other social media platforms. Here are some of the unwritten rules I recommend that you follow:
Don't connect with people you don't know. You can always follow them if you want their content to show up on your feed. If you desperately want to connect, send them a written note explaining why. This is what I recently wrote in a letter to Michael, an academic who studies career coaching: "Hi Michael, I read your recent article and loved it, and would be delighted to connect with you and keep in touch. LinkedIn didn't let me connect with you because I don't have your email! Cheers, Renata". He accepted, and we have been in touch since. My goal is to invite him as a guest on the podcast. An apparent exception is if you want to connect with me: I'm giving you my blessing to connect with me, but please send me a note telling me how you found out about me!
LinkedIn is not social networking: Today, I read a post about someone who is happy she's back on the pool. I'm delighted for her, and I'd love to go back to my local pool too. But that, in my view, is a post for Facebook. Whatever her professional expertise is, if it's not swimming, it's not LinkedIn material.
Avoid being kicked out of LinkedIn: I speak from experience - it's a total nightmare. Can you imagine? Last night I watched a video of a woman who has half a million followers on YouTube, who teaches others how to become an Amazon Affiliate. And you guess it? Amazon kicked her out of the program. I related to her so much, as my profile was removed from LinkedIn for one day, just days after I launched my career coaching business. Why? Because I was sending too many messages to my connections, all the same messages, inviting them to subscribe to my newsletter. I learned my lesson, and I'm now cautious with how I use the platform. Another way you can get in trouble is by making a rude or racist comment. Two days ago, I flagged one to LinkedIn. I reflected long and hard before I did so because I know the consequences. But it had to be done. And, likely, that person is now on the outside.
Resources mentioned in this episode
Transcript of this episode
Welcome to another episode of the job hunting podcast. Today is Monday the 15th of June. This is episode number 34, and we're here to talk about your LinkedIn profile and how to make it stand out in this crazy year. That is 2020 and all the kerfuffle that's happening out there. One thing is certain. LinkedIn is King. If you are in the white-collar job and the corporate public or nonprofit sector, chances are you need LinkedIn to progress in your career. So in addition to my podcast and the blog, the episode show notes that go with it. I'd like to invite you to download my LinkedIn checklist that I've prepared for you.
Now, I originally created this checklist to help me when I do the LinkedIn audits, which is one of the services that I offer my clients. And if it has helped me run those services, it will definitely be able to help you as well. So don't forget to find a link to the checklist on the episode, show notes and download it so that you can have it and use it to update your LinkedIn profile. Now, LinkedIn is considered the platform for professional networking and job hunting. With the advent of covid. What LinkedIn has become is the absolute place to be since all of our workplaces or many of our workplaces are currently shut down. The coffee shops where we used to catch up with our networks are closed our events and conferences, where we used to learn and connect with people haven't really happened except online. It makes LinkedIn really important as the new hub for white collar workers, professionals who are in admin roles, managerial roles, project management, marketing, finance engineers. If you work in an office, you have to be on LinkedIn. It has really become the equivalent of your main street, in your city or wherever you live. It has over 600 million users worldwide. In fact, LinkedIn is one of, well, it is the only social media platform from the Western world that is available in China. So Facebook is not available. Instagram is none available. Twitter is not available in China, but LinkedIn is. And I think that that's really it showing how important it is professionally. And it really benefits those experts that are based in China. And those of us who want to make connections and do trade and business and deals and find talent around the world. It really is a very global way to connect. Here are some important statistics that prove the point that I'm trying to make, that you can really use LinkedIn to maximise and amplify your presence in the platform. Even though it has 600 million profiles, half of them actively use the platform. This is good news for you because your competition is dormant. They are not using the platform. At least half of them are not currently actively using the platform. What does it mean to be using the platform actively? It means to be commenting on other people's posts. It means to be posting yourself in sharing content on LinkedIn. And it also means to be updating your profile regularly. Now, LinkedIn is always coming up with new and unique and creative ways for you to showcase your expertise, your talent. And it's really important to always be looking at how you can better connect with your network and, and showcase your talent on your profile. So take a moment in this next couple of days, after listening to this podcast to investigate, if there are better ways for you to be portraying what you've done in the past, in the current employment that you have at the moment, if you're currently employed and also in previous work experiences in volunteering experiences, that things that may not have been there before, and that are now available, for example, it's way, way easier now to add documents to LinkedIn hyperlinks, to LinkedIn. And you can do that under each work experience or up in the, on the top of your LinkedIn profile next to your about section. So have a look at that. LinkedIn is also the place to be for high earners. So data shows that close to 44% of the users of LinkedIn in the United States take home on an annual salary of over $75,000. Now that's above the national minimum in the United States, and it's safe to assume and extrapolate that. That is also the case for LinkedIn users in other countries that is that LinkedIn users in other countries also have annual salaries that are above average in those countries. So again, if you are in a white-collar profession, LinkedIn is likely to be the platform for you to develop your connections for you to be in and to develop opportunities for work and business, right? So that's sort of the best place to be for white-collar workers, as opposed to other platforms like Facebook and Instagram and even Twitter. LinkedIn is excellent for discovering people. So if you want to know who the right people are to connect in an organization you want to work for, if you want to know what the recruiters are in your sector, in your town, the ones within an organization, a recruitment company that is specialized in your profession. It's so easy to do that using LinkedIn. And it's also so easy to find out people in their roles within organizations that you want to work for, and then follow their content, identify what they're posting about, identify what their, what they care about, and then investigate how you can best approach those organizations and those individuals with the right pitch and the right platform for you to be considered as a good candidate for a future role, right? It's also a great way for you to know who you will be working for. If you're looking for work and you find a job advertised, be it on LinkedIn or in other platforms, you can go to LinkedIn and find out who was doing that job before you, who, who you will be working with, who will be your manager and your colleagues, and do a little bit of research before you apply for that job. This all can be easily uncovered with just an hour or so of LinkedIn research. And the other reason for you to be paying more attention to LinkedIn is that recruiters and hiring managers are heavy users of LinkedIn, for sure. And they are likely to be on that platform every single day, if not all day long, they are on average 14 million jobs advertised on LinkedIn at any one time. And I also find that some jobs are not only advertised on LinkedIn, but they are posted as opportunities on people's profiles. Sometimes they're not advertised. People have such great followship and connections. All they do is say, look, we're looking for a GM to be based in Sydney. If you know someone, can you please get in touch with me? And that's all you need to do if you're a very well connected CEO, right? So, be a user of LinkedIn and be connected with the right people within your profession that can point you out for those opportunities that are not even advertised. As we all know so many roles aren't. So when I start talking about this and telling clients, and I'm in my life coaching sessions that I do on Facebook and Instagram, it's so clear the power of the LinkedIn platform over your career. It is very clear to me, and it becomes really clear to my clients. Once I start pointing it out to them, all of these facts and figures, and it's amazing to see how many professionals neglect their profiles completely, and they don't take the steps to make the platform work for them instead of against them. You know, many times if you neglect your, your LinkedIn profile, it's very hard for a recruiter or a hiring manager or somebody within your network to advocate for you and to shortlist you for a project or a job opportunity. So considering that LinkedIn is the new main street, imagine LinkedIn as if it was the business hub in your city. Okay. So I'm based in Melbourne. LinkedIn would be the equivalent of Melbourne's Collins street. So if you are walking up to Collins street on your way to an important meeting, a meeting that could have huge repercussions to your career, I'm assuming that you would be dressed too impressed that you would be feeling ready and empowered to deliver your pitch. Yes. You could have a little bit of anxiety and a bit, you know, of jitters and excitement, but you would have done your research. You would have your pitch ready and you would be looking at a certain way, right? That's how you need to be when you are on LinkedIn. Okay. And that is your profile. Your profile is the representation of you, of your public, a professional figure. And we need to take a look at some three basic LinkedIn aspects that I want you to consider. First and foremost, before you start going down, the details of certain aspects that some people focus on, which I'll also mention that I think are the second base, right? So the first that the basics are these three things that I'm going to talk to you about today. So number one is that you need to have a very good photo. Ideally, you need to have a professional photo. So the first step to impress on LinkedIn is not dissimilar from the first impression that you want to have. When you walk into a job interview, investing in a professional photo is then key to have the LinkedIn profile that you want to represent your professional experience, capability, and skills. The LinkedIn data supports what I'm telling you. In fact, LinkedIn data shows that a professional photo profile has 14 times more views than any other type of profile picture. And when I say a professional photo, I do not want you to use your wedding photo. Now, I have seen that many, many times from clients and most recently from some of the LinkedIn audit services that I've been doing. And I know that many times in our lives, we will only hire a photographer when we get married, but I can actually tell that those are her professional wedding photos. And, you know, the suit is different. There is a flower there, and your hair is a bit too made up if you're a woman. And I think that we need to be careful with that, and really look at having a professional profile picture instead of a wedding picture on your LinkedIn profile. And there are so many other things that you need to avoid. And it's amazing. Every day I see a profile photo with someone with sunglasses on or a photo where I can hardly see the person, it's out of focus, it's black and white or a sepia. So consider that analogy of being on the main street, being in my case, on Collins the street. And how would you want to look when you go to Collins street for a meeting, that's how your photo should be like now the second thing I want to work on is your work experience. I have found that many people make the mistake of writing an excellent headline and also focusing a lot on their, about section and making the about section, very inspirational full of keywords and important jargon for their profession. But when I scroll down to actually see how they have developed their careers, which is really the foundation to the about the session and to the headline, I see nothing. There, there is a jumble of acronyms and abbreviations for job titles. I don't recognize the organizations they work for many times instead of a logo. There is a grey box when many times it's just misspelled and the logos could have been there. If they had taken the time to find the organizations that are now listed on LinkedIn. Another reason to go back and check LinkedIn, if you haven't updated your profile in a while, is that many organizations now have created their profiles on LinkedIn. So chances are, it's unlikely that if you have worked for an organization in the past, they now have a LinkedIn profile, your search for it again, it will show up and your work experience instead of a grey box next to the organization will now have a logo next to that organization. But look, even if your job experience is a project manager working for a wellness organization, such as KPMG, it would still leave me wondering what area of KPMG did you work for? What type of project was this? How big or small was your role? Was it internal? And it was a project that you did for KPMG, or was it a project manager managing a project for a client? So what you want is to add a paragraph or two to explain what you did and make it relatable. So that future employers and recruiters will look and think, well, okay, this is a great experience in skills. I can work with that. I may need this in the future. Let's contact this person, right? LinkedIn profiles that have detailed work experience have five times more connection requests. They have also eight times more views in 10 times more messages. And I'm assuming that many of these messages are from recruiters that want to connect with you. Now, moving on the third thing I want to talk to you about when using well, your LinkedIn profile is to be an active participant in the platform. And the best way to use LinkedIn is to first use it, to maintain your professional relationships by connecting with people. You know, so if you're not yet connected with people that you work with, that you have worked for before, people that are professionals that, you know, they could be friends, they could be people you studied with, they could be, have been professors and academics and people that you've related to at uni. You can find them on LinkedIn and connect with them. Now it will be really important for you to have a large network of connections. As you start being more active on your LinkedIn and posting and adding value to that platform. You want people to see what you're posting. So find people you may need to contact for business development or professional opportunities as well. And with those that you have found, be careful if they are people that you want to connect with, or just follow. If you don't know these people and you are looking for work, maybe these are individuals that you want to investigate, that you want to research, that you may want to follow them so that you can see their feeds. So you can see what they're posting on LinkedIn, but you may not necessarily connect with them. So we will talk about that a little bit later on in the third reason, why you want to be active on LinkedIn is to expand your reach and your reputation. So by being active on LinkedIn, it makes people come back to your profile. Once you start posting the best way to do these things is to share great content on topics that are of alignment with your profession and experience that you relate to, that you can comment on so that it will ensure that you are kept top of mind of those who already know you. So your connections, when they see a post coming from you, they know that it is a post that would add value to your area of expertise. So let's say if you are into data analytics, they know that when they see a post coming from you, it will be a post about data analytics, RPA, AI, internet of things. It will be something along those lines. And if that's of interest to them, they will read it. And if that's what interested them in within their network, they will pass it on. They might share it, they might share it in their profiles, or they might share it on a private message. If they know somebody is looking for a data analytics person, but most importantly when they like, and they comment on your posts. So when your connection connects with your posts, your posts will show up on their connections feeds. And you may have seen that already. If you're using LinkedIn, you may have noticed that on your feed, you can see posts that are from second-degree connections. That is, those are not connections of yours. They are connections of your connections and your connections have liked or made a comment and they appear on your feed. Now this will happen to you as well. And you might find, as I do at times that you want to check out who that person is, and you might want to go and check their profile and might decide to follow them, or you might decide to like some of their, comments and some of their posts or articles they have written and added value to, to them that way. So just think about that and think about how you can feed the LinkedIn algorithm with great content that is great for sharing that will add value to your network of connections. So how do you do it? Have you read the research or a business article recently that you will think will resonate with other professionals like you? Well, you can share that on LinkedIn has anyone on your feed posted a great article or wrote an opinion or a story that is related to your expertise. If that's the case, then you can like that post and you can comment and add value to that conversation. Once you do that, what I mentioned before will start happening. You will start being that will start being, fed into other people's LinkedIn and other people that you don't know will start reading it, and it will amplify your connections and the opportunities for you. Now, what are the dangers of being active on LinkedIn? I want to talk to you about a few rabbit holes that can get you into trouble. Okay. The first one I've just mentioned a bit before, is that idea of, should I connect with this person? I do not know. And I'm, I think that you have to stop and think if you should just comment or alike, something that shows up on your feed and it's somebody that you don't know, you don't need to connect with everybody. If you don't know that person, it's kind of awkward to just send them invitation requests. That's what I have found. If you desperately want to connect, then send them a written note, tailored explaining why. So I recently started reading many of the posts are from someone who is an academic and he is doing a Ph.D. on career counseling and career coaching. And of course, that's my area. And I really connected with his articles that he's been writing on LinkedIn. And I decided to write to him and say, Hey, Michael, I've been reading your articles and I'm loving them. I've been commenting on them. I don't know if you noticed, but you know, LinkedIn won't let me connect with you. I don't have your LinkedIn. I don't have your email. So do you mind if we connect, I would love to be in touch with you? And he of course said yes. And my goal was really to invite Michael to be a guest on my podcast, which I'm hoping to do in the near future. So as you can see, I made something that was tailored and I demonstrated that I really wanted to connect with him in particular, in particular, and not with interest anybody right now, a clear exception is with all of your listeners. If you want to connect with me, you have my blessing to connect with me. Please send me a connection request and just send me a note and let me know how you found out about me because I think it's good etiquette. And I think it shows good manners, but also I would love to know where my connections are coming from. I mostly accept all of them and with a few exceptions, if they're really and just businesses that are trying to sell me stuff that I don't need. But other than that, I would most definitely accept you. And I'd love to know how you came about to find my profile. So write me a little note. Now, the second rabbit hole that I want you to avoid is to confuse LinkedIn with your other social networking platforms. So just as an example, this morning, I read a post and I read one of those every day. And it was someone who was excited that their local swimming pool had open. And they wrote it on LinkedIn into me. That is a much better post for Facebook. Okay. So LinkedIn, especially, if you are in this high-risk environment of having to find a job and wanting to advance your career, stick with your lane, and with your professional expertise, if it's not about your professional expertise, it's not LinkedIn material. There is no need to share anything, super social. There are other platforms for that. It's also not a place to share your strong opinions about politics or anything else. It’s a professional networking platform. And that leads me to my final rabbit hole situation, which is for you to avoid at all costs being kicked out of the platform. And you know what I speak from experience because if you've been following me for a while, you would know this already. I have been kicked out of LinkedIn once, and it was a nightmare. It was a really important experience for me to go through because I can then tell this to my clients and I can let them know how dangerous it is to break the rules of LinkedIn. Because imagine being out of LinkedIn these days, it's not something you want to have to deal with. And once I was kicked out and I was only kicked out for about eight to 10 hours, I think, they brought me back in very quickly. But as I was researching my way back into the platform, I found out people that had been out for months, two, three, four months. And I have found out that some people never are allowed back. Now, what can get you into trouble is in my case, I believe it was the fact that I was sending my connections, mind you not cold calling and people. I didn't know these were my connections, but I was sending them a short message, inviting them to subscribe to my newsletter. So those messages were all very similar. I was just changing their names saying, hi, Mary, hi, John, how hi Dave, Hi Manisha. And then sending them the message. And I sent quite a lot of them very quickly. And LinkedIn then blocked me because it was considered spam. And, you know, they're constantly monitoring the platform. So just be careful with sanding many, many messages all at once. So when I'm working with clients who are working to boost their connections and reconnect with people on LinkedIn, I always recommend that they do that slowly just do 20, 30 each day, no more than that, so that you don't want to get into trouble of being confused with a bot. Right? And the other thing that can get into you into trouble is if you make a terrible comment, you know, a rude comment, a racist comment, something that could really be considered offensive on the platform, someone may flag you and LinkedIn will take action and you don't want to be in that situation. So be very careful when you're on LinkedIn and the type of mood that you were in and reflect well before making a comment that you think might get you into trouble, right? So be very careful with that. Now, most importantly now that we're at the end of this podcast, don't forget to download the checklist that I've provided you with, which is going to help you a lot, go through your own LinkedIn profile top to bottom and start working on developing better sections all around and hopefully updating your profile in the next few days. And remember that I do offer LinkedIn audit. So if you need extra help to review how you're doing with your LinkedIn, it's always good to have a second pair of eyes looking over what you've done. Check out my service, the LinkedIn audits. And I will leave a link to that on the show notes. So you can go there and check out how much it costs and how I do it. And I hope to be doing your LinkedIn audit sometime in the future. I hope you have enjoyed this podcast. And as always, it's been great to be here talking to you. If you have any comments or ideas, you can always touch base with me, send me a message, find me on my website and send me ideas. I'd love to hear from you. Bye for now.
About the Host
Hello, I’m Renata Bernarde, the Host of The Job Hunting Podcast. I’m also an executive coach, job hunting expert, and career strategist. I teach professionals (corporate, non-profit, and public) the steps and frameworks to help them find great jobs, change, and advance their careers with confidence and less stress.
If you are an ambitious professional who is keen to develop a robust career plan, if you are looking to find your next job or promotion, or if you want to keep a finger on the pulse of the job market so that when you are ready, and an opportunity arises, you can hit the ground running, then this podcast is for you.
In addition to The Job Hunting Podcast, on my website, I have developed a range of courses and services for professionals in career or job transition. And, of course, I also coach private clients.
Contact Renata Bernarde
I’m determined to help you! I want you to feel empowered, nail your next job, and have the career you want.
My free resources for job hunters: The Optimized Job Search: Weekly Schedule & Masterclass.
Learn more about my services, courses, and group coaching: RenataBernarde.com