Improving your LinkedIn game may not feel like a top priority right now, but the truth is it’s never been more important. Whether you’re currently secure in your existing job remotely and want to develop your career further, went into this situation already unemployed or have been furloughed or lost your job, one of the most effective things you can do right now is make the best out of LinkedIn.
Not feeling it or convinced it will make a difference?
Well, firstly it’s perfectly understandable if you’re struggling with motivation right now, most of us find waking up and getting dressed in the morning a challenge during lockdown, let alone getting the best out of LinkedIn. The good news is, you found this blog and that’s a good start. Let’s start with why LinkedIn is worth your time and effort:
- Over 30 million companies are active on LinkedIn
- 90% of recruiters regularly use LinkedIn to find top talent
- 22 million people received an interview through LinkedIn
- 35.5 million having been hired by a person they connected with on the site
Yes, most of these stats are pre-lockdown and it’s true that some of these companies are far from hiring right now, but many more are still hiring too, and they’re using LinkedIn to do it in one of three ways, and in some cases, all three:
- Headhunting for top talent
- Hiring through job listings
- Assess talent post application
So, how many jobs are there during lockdown?
At the time of writing (April 2020) there are currently more than 12 million job postings on LinkedIn, 98k of which are remote. This includes 653k in the UK, 11k in Europe and 4.5k in the US. If you’re only applying for jobs through free job listings sites then it’s very likely you are piling up in someone’s inbox, so LinkedIn job listings are a great way to stand out.
Whatever your views on LinkedIn, the numbers speak volumes. So, if you’re having a consistently negative experience using LinkedIn, chances are you’re just not using it right, and that’s okay too. It’s a lot to get your head around with everything going on, so we’ve put together some easy to follow LinkedIn tips that will help you get the best out of LinkedIn. So, you can find a job that gives you the security you need or prepare for the step up you deserve in your career.
1. Give your LinkedIn profile a Spring clean
Your LinkedIn profile is your online professional brand, it requires as much thought as you would give to choosing a suitable outfit to wear for a face-to-face interview. Not putting any effort into your LinkedIn profile is the equivalent of doing a video interview with only your top half suited; it’s risky, and not going to give a good impression when they scroll down.
Even if you don’t provide your LinkedIn profile link in a job application, they will find your profile and make their first impression based on the content. We’re not going to go into detail on how to improve your profile because there are so many great articles with LinkedIn profile tips already out there, but here’s a summary of the elements to consider and how you can improve them:
- Select the right profile picture - eye-catching, professional and positive (smiling eyes)
- Enhance your LinkedIn introduction - relevant, clear and optimised with keywords
- Improve your LinkedIn summary - check out John Nemo’s template and LinkedIn summary tips
- Reach out for recommendations / testimonials - people are likely to help at this time
- List more relevant skills and projects - you need at least 5 skills to increase discovery
- Add projects samples and embedded links - portfolio samples can make all the difference
- Make sure you’re listing every job - LinkedIn favours profiles with current info in searches
- Use a professional tone and write in first person - include some personality too!
This isn’t just about making your profile look good, all of these elements will help you be more searchable and help recruiters find you.
2. Increase your network with industry peers & leaders
When LinkedIn was first released, you could only connect with people you’d met in person. This made the platform restrictive and not really in keeping with an evolved digital world. Of course, right now during lockdown we’re facing an unprecedented climate where remote networking is the only option. So, it’s just as well it’s become more acceptable to connect with people you haven’t met, within reason.
The platform has now tipped a little too far the other way with many adding random contacts on mass, which has led to an influx to some spammy connection requests. This is why it’s important to be proactive, much like a dating app when you sit and wait for messages, if you’re not reaching out to the people YOU want, you’re only going to get the people that want you, and that’s not always going to match up with your expectations.
Once you’ve done the hard work to improve your profile in step one, it’s a good idea to actively connect with people as part of your daily routine. As a first step you could connect with all of your existing contacts, which you can do automatically using your email provider via LinkedIn. Alternatively, if you have a friend in your network that appears to be doing well with LinkedIn, check out their list of connections and connect with a few of them a day. Once you’ve done that try adding at least a few new connections a day that are:
- Peers in the industry you WANT to work in
- Potential employers and their employees
- Anyone you’ve applied for a job with
The more connections you have in the industry circles you want to work in, even if they are your peers, the more likely you’ll be a 2nd connection with a potential employer when the right job opportunity crops up.
To message or not to message?
There is much debate about this, in our experience the LinkedIn inbox gets so cluttered it’s only worth messaging someone when you have something of value to share. If your profile is optimized with a good profile picture and introduction, there’s no need to message just yet. Over time once you’ve built a rapport with them through engagement and interaction, a message may be appropriate, but for now just connect, connect, connect.
A quick note: Any top-level leaders may not allow you to connect, but you can follow them, which will then embed in your profile as someone you “follow” and help recruiters better understand your aspirations.
3. Be proactive with the various tools available
LinkedIn has introduced plenty of great tools over the years that can help boost your profile. Being proactive with these tools will not only make LinkedIn happy, and be more likely to optimize your profile in searches - it will show that you’re proactive! That extra effort will give a great first impression to potential employers and recruiters who may be more likely to shortlist and contact you for a relevant job or job application.
- LinkedIn job listings - it goes without saying that you should actively be using the job listings on LinkedIn and setting up job alerts and filters. Often you can apply directly using your profile, but also find contacts to connect with on job postings.
- LinkedIn skills assessment - you can take an online test to obtain a verified skills badge on your profiles, which apparently makes you 30% more likely to be hired.
- LinkedIn Elevate - become an advocate of your employer using their elevate platform to share their content. While this may seem unhelpful if you want to work somewhere else, 86% of employees have reported sharing content from their business having a positive impact on their career outside of that organization.
- LinkedIn Pulse - is the article publishing area of LinkedIn, many people aren’t using this as much as they should be. Despite receiving 9 billion impressions per week, only 3 million users (out of 500 million) are actually sharing content on a weekly basis. A study found that “how-to” and list posts performed best, and if writing isn’t your strength ask a friend to help you out, use your expertise to offer tips on a relevant subject to the industry you want to work in.
Use one or more of these tools and you will start to get the right kind of attention on LinkedIn.
4. Be visible, be active, be responsive
Not many people are doing this bit, and it’s really important, because:
- You won’t be visible in searches or feeds if you’re not active
- It’s good LinkedIn etiquette to engage with others and build rapport
- Conversations start in post comments, and can lead to recommendations
- Liking, commenting and responding is the digital way to “mingle”
- LinkedIn rewards active profiles with higher visibility
As it stands only 40% of LinkedIn users are actively using it daily, and only spending an average of 17-minutes per month on the platform. That’s a lot of air time you could be filling with sharing posts, LinkedIn pulse articles or just responding to others content and igniting conversation and stronger connections. If you’ve now worked your way through points 1-3 in this blog then you’re already more engaged.
Here are some other things you can do to get the best out of LinkedIn, that will help you up your activity and be more visible and appealing to potential employers.
- Browse and comment in a meaningful way on posts that appeal to you - don’t be tempted to just say “love this”, or “great work” - actually provide a viewpoint or leave a more intelligently formed complement.
- Follow relevant influencers and comment on their stuff too - yes there will be thousands of other comments, but among those could be your next employer.
- Share valuable content onto your activity feed - not only is this a great way to be more visible, it’s a great way to do a favour for a connection or a potential employer. Make sure it’s relevant to the job you want, and say something. Don’t just blind share it - add a comment in your share on why you like it, and what it means to you.
“A key to business success is having a strong network and LinkedIn dominates as the platform where professionals go specifically to do business.” - Joanne Funch, LinkedIn Trainer & Speaker
Whatever position you’re in now, if you’re job searching during lockdown. Then it’s a good idea to get to grips with LinkedIn and do what you can to get the best out of it. Whatever your career aspirations and situation right now, there’s no harm improving your profile, building your network and getting yourself ready for that job you want, not the one you have to keep.
Next stop, niche job listing sites
Now your LinkedIn profile is up to scratch, it’s a good idea to expand your job hunting activity beyond the obvious free listing sites, and even LinkedIn, to seek out industry, regional or role type specific niche job listings. This could be recruiters dedicated to finding marketers, creatives, developers or an industry specific site that can help you break into the media industry. For example, our job listings are ideal for anyone looking for a job in iGaming, Aviation, Finance and Technology in Malta, London and the Channel Islands, we are also now recruiting internationally. Niche job listing sites or recruiters are much more likely to have relevant jobs in your field (that actually exist), and be able to get your CV, and LinkedIn profile, in front of potential employers.
If this all sounds a lot like hard work, we can help. Just get in touch or check out our recent blog on how to get a job working from home for more inspiration.