Why LinkedIn? What is the importance of using this platform? LinkedIn is a great tool, probably currently the best out there, to help you to land a job, network with like-minded individuals, grow your personal and professional brand, and rank higher in Google searches making you more noticeable. Gabe Villamizar from the expert session video How to Optimize Your LinkedIn and Twitter Account suggested “a LinkedIn profile is not just an online resume, it is your online reputation.” This is where it’s at, folks. Recruiters are using this platform to fill their vacancies and if you haven’t jumped on the LinkedIn train by now, then you are missing out! I jumped on a few years ago but I’ve just kind of being riding and not really paying attention…
Just a few statistics about LinkedIn to show you how big of a deal this platform is. I know my perception changed after seeing these numbers. LinkedIn was founded in December 2002 and since then has surpassed $8 Billion in revenue with over 774 million members, 57 million company members, 120 thousand schools listed, and 38 thousand skills listed. Wow! Sounds like a big deal to me. Still not sure if you want to jump on that LinkedIn train? Well, on average, 81 jobs applications are submitted by users every second with 210 million every month and 40 million people are using LinkedIn to search for jobs while 4 people hired every minute. Hey over here! I would like to be one of those four people!!
I started a LinkedIn account in 2018. I heard about it before, but it sounded like it was more for professional people that wear a suit and tie or high heels and pencil skirts to work every day and sell insurance. The type that is TOTALLY not me. I looked up the date when LinkedIn was founded and was very surprised to see that it was in 2002. I was junior in high school at this time, and I can tell you with most certainty, I had never heard of LinkedIn. I fact, I probably didn’t hear about LinkedIn until 2016… and that’s a total guess. I’m hoping it was earlier than that, but I think I may have been more detached from most forms of social media more than I’d like to admit.
At first, I was totally not interested in the platform. At the time I signed up, I was still comfortable in my position at work, so I really didn’t care to spend any time working on a career portfolio in any platform. Looking back, I wish I would have. I feel, especially after watching the expert session video, that I have to scramble to play catch-up. The good news is it doesn’t seem too daunting to create a profile for anyone that hasn’t already. The even better news for me is I already have a profile and in the last six months I really put some time into my content. Now that I’ve done research on how to optimize your LinkedIn account and why it’s important, I almost feel embarrassed at what my profile looked like initially and I still, even after going over it and tweaking, feel like it could use another revamping.
Gabe gives some tips on how to set up your profile so that it looks professional and attracts what you want in terms of a career and overall, your personal brand. First, he says to make your name consistent on every social media platform. This makes it easier for those that want to search for you. And obviously use a professional name like your first and last name. Gabe suggests using the name you want everyone to know you by. So, if your real name is William but most people know you by Bill, then use that name. As long as you don’t use a nickname that your friends called you in high school. I don’t think too many people would think to search for LilRachie0707. Right?
Use a professional photo. One that isn’t pixel-y or has anyone in it, not even your dog. You don’t want to necessarily bring your private life into your professional profile. I made this mistake when I initially created my profile. I didn’t have a nice recent picture of me and the only one I did have was my niece and I. After learning that was a huge no-no, I did my hair and makeup, found a filter on my phone to use to make it look a bit more professional (or at least less unprofessional), and that is what I now have for my profile.
Create a strong headline. Gabe says if your headline isn’t your specific title, in the case you don’t really have a specific title, then use keywords you want to be known and found for when being searched. This is something I need to go back and address. My title is my job position at my internship but I after looking at examples of other people’s titles, I feel I need to look this over too.
More ways to optimize your profile is to link other social media platforms and personal or company websites, such as Twitter or perhaps the company you work for. Include your location and contact information so potential recruiters can reach out to you.
For your bio, Gabe suggests talking a lot about what you did and what value you brought to the organization. He stresses to use lots of good data, or as he says, “quality quantitative data.” I don’t know about y’all, but this is one of the hardest parts for me.
After creating your foundation for your profile, Gabe recommends sharing updates and posts at least once a day, but not too much that you annoy your connections. Also, search and connect with like-minded people to attract the job positions and industries you are interested in.
But what in the world do I post or talk about?! A blog post from hireation.com suggests you write, share, and post with these three things in mind:
- How do you want the world to see you professionally?
- What kind of work do you enjoy doing?
- Why are you on LinkedIn?
So how will I utilize this platform going forward? First and foremost, I will be using this as my main tool for job searching and networking. My go to tool so far has been Indeed which is not a bad job search engine but if LinkedIn is what all the other professionals are using these days, then it would be smart to go where the most opportunities are. And as far as networking goes, if this is where the party’s at then once again, it would be smart of me to join in on the fun.
My second priority for using LinkedIn going forward is posting content, whatever form that may be, at least once a day. I don’t see this being a real struggle if I’m reading, watching, interacting with content that I am actually interested in. Silly thing, I never realized that that’s what other people are doing on the platform. I’d see something that a connection of mine posted and I’d be like “Eh. Moving on” and not even reading the article. HELLO! That’s because I need to network more with like-minded people that post what I consider interesting content.