LinkedIn Profile Tips for Career Success

| January 8, 2014 | Comments

linkedinYour LinkedIn Profile is more than just an online resume.  It is also a powerful career tool if you invest the time into improving your profile. In the New Year, it is a good time to review your LinkedIn profile and make some improvements!

 I have had a profile on LinkedIn since 2007.  My profile has allowed me to:

  1. Network with other business professionals both locally and globally that have a shared interest.
  2. Learn from other professionals in Group discussions.
  3. Share my knowledge within my specific field of work.
  4. Develop a closer working relationship with my colleagues with endorsements and recommendations.
  5. Receive and review interview opportunities for new roles from local and offshore Recruitment agencies.
  6. Source contract work to enhance my knowledge and skill sets.

Friends and colleagues have asked me for tips to improve their profile recently.  Here are 6 tips you can use to improve your LinkedIn profile for career success.

1. Maintain your LinkedIn Profile

Do not allow your LinkedIn Profile to be dormant.  Most people only update their profile when they are looking for a new job.  However keeping your profile updated is important to maintain a personal brand and increase the potential for new career opportunities.  Elements of your profile to revamp include:

  1. A Quality Headline:  Profile headlines are searchable.  For this reason it is important to use industry keywords to ensure that you are found through search.  Profiles with industry keywords rank higher in search results
  2. Professional, clear Photo: “A professionally taken photograph showcases you as a professional and a professionally taken photograph commands respect.”   Earlier this year, Donna Serdula wrote a great article on tips for LinkedIn Profile Photos.  This article is a great resource not only for LinkedIn, but also for your Gravatar and Sharepoint profiles.
  3. Background Summary: Include 2 to 3 paragraph summary of your skill sets and how they apply to your current role.
  4. Role Achievements:  In your previous roles, include a short summary of your achievements in that role and the value delivered to your previous employers.

2. Ask for Recommendations

Recommendations on LinkedIn Profiles add credibility to your personal brand.   Recommendations can be sourced from managers, co-workers, professors and even group members from class or work projects.   Some great tips for LinkedIn recommendations include:

  1. Do not ask all your LinkedIn connections. Avoid the temptation to send requests to all the contacts in your LinkedIn network.  Select contacts that you have worked with who can provide valuable feedback on your work approach.
  2. Personalise your Recommendation Request. Ask your colleague or supervisor to address a specific skill set that you demonstrated whilst working with them.
  3. Include a link with your Recommendation Request. LinkedIn recommendations can be challenging and time consuming to write.  Include a link to an article with your request that clearly outlines how to write a good LinkedIn recommendation.
  4. Lead by example.  Write a recommendation for one of your colleagues and then ask them to write a recommendation for you.

3. Personalise your request to connect with others.

It is easy to connect with people that you know and work with on LinkedIn.  But, it is a little harder for people that you do not know well.   If you want to expand your LinkedIn network outside of the people that you work with everyday, you need to personalise your request to connect with them.  Using the standard “I would like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn” is not appropriate for connection requests for people you are not familiar with. Make it easy for the person to want to connect with you by explaining the reason why you want to connect with them on LinkedIn by personalising your request.  

To personalise a request to connect with someone outside your immediate circle of colleagues, find a common thread or shared interest and include that in your request to connect.  Common threads could be:

  1. Meeting at a conference or work event.
  2. Belonging to the same LinkedIn Group.
  3. Being a 2nd or 3rd connection via your professional network.
  4. Connecting to staff of Recruiting Agencies if you are seeking a new role.

4. Endorse others

Skills & Expertise Endorsements are a simple and highly effective way of building your own personal brand and engaging your LinkedIn network.  The benefits of LinkedIn endorsements include:

  • Developing strong connections with people within your own network.  A skill set endorsement for a colleague you have worked within in the past makes it easier to connect with them again.
  • Increasing the potential for your colleagues to be discovered for opportunities that are related to the skills that have been endorsed by 1st degree connections they have worked with in the past.
LinkedIn Endorsements are a great way of highlighting the your expertise on your LinkedIn Profile.

LinkedIn Endorsements are a great way of highlighting the your expertise on your LinkedIn Profile.

5. Join LinkedIn Groups

LinkedIn has collaboration Groups for just about every topic.   Groups provide you with the opportunity to either showcase your knowledge about a particular topic or learn more about the topic from discussions within the Group.   Engage with others in Groups by:

  1. Sharing article links:  Find a topical article, share it with the group and comment on the article to stimulate discussion.
  2. Comment on Group Posts:  Provide your insight and knowledge by commenting on other Group posts.
  3. Ask Questions:  Asking a question is a great way to engage and learn from others within a Group.

Engaging with a Linked Group allows you to connect with other people outside your normal working network.

6. LinkedIn Updates 

LinkedIn Updates operates in a similar way to the Facebook Newsfeed. Unlike Facebook, LinkedIn Today is a professional news source of what your social professional network are reading, sharing and tweeting.  You can use LinkedIn Updates grow your social network by:

  1. Liking articles shared by your LinkedIn network.
  2. Commenting on articles shared by your LinkedIn network.  Commenting allows you to generate discussions with colleagues about industry specific articles.
  3. Sharing articles in your LinkedIn Updates feed with your own network.

Scheduled LinkedIn Updates

If you would like to post your own updates to LinkedIn from your own website or other websites, I recommend Buffer.   Posting your own updates & industry links at high peak times on LinkedIn drive traffic to your LinkedIn Profile, Page or Group.   Buffer allows you to set your own posting schedule.

You can spend an hour reading articles and scheduling links to those articles to be posted to LinkedIn at times you specify in your posting schedule to your own LinkedIn Profile, to a LinkedIn Group or LinkedIn Page. Buffer can also be used to post to Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

Schedule your own posts to LinkedIn with Buffer by connecting your LinkedIn Profile.

Schedule your own posts to LinkedIn with Buffer by connecting your LinkedIn Profile.

Putting it all together

It may feel a little daunting using all the tips mentioned above.   However, if you fail to invest time in your LinkedIn Profile, you could be missing opportunities to enhance your career.  The info graphic below from Eve Mayer offers some quick tips for keeping your LinkedIn Profile in good shape for 2014.



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Category: Social Media

About the Author ()

Teale Shapcott is a multidisciplinary User Experience expert passionate about making websites, software and intranets easy to use and engaging for people. Teale’s career has spanned 16 years of design experience moving from graphic / web design to user interface design to designing processes and customer experience for corporate intranets. Teale enjoys weaving together different disciplines and perspectives together to solve complex design problems. When she isn’t busy designing great experiences, Teale can be found, camera in hand, looking for beauty, inspiration and fresh perspectives.