As the calendar turns yet another year, we all grow a little older, a little wiser, and a little more unsure on how to properly utilize our LinkedIn accounts. Seemingly everyone knows that simply having a profile is important, but what good is that squeaky-clean headshot and sparkling resume if you never take the time to actually use the network? There are plenty of simple tactics that could help your LinkedIn profile slowly blossom into usefulness, and the employment experts at Acloché have hand-picked five for your use.
- This obvious tip cannot be overstated: choose an appropriate picture. This does not necessarily mean “suit and tie” for everyone, but rather choose a clean, professional picture that best represents YOU and YOUR career interests. Don’t forget to smile!
- Only make meaningful connections. Unlike many other social networks, LinkedIn is about quality over quantity. Don’t dilute your newsfeed and your network with endless irrelevancies; craft your profile to your benefit! Connect with individuals that could potentially help your career path in the long run. There are plenty of other social networks better suited for keeping in touch with old friends and family.
- Join groups. Find groups, organizations, and companies that interest you, and pay attention to what they have to say! Don’t be afraid to participate in discussions or comment on something that draws your attention. As a bonus, any group you join will be visible on your profile, which could provide anyone looking at it better insight to who you are as a professional and as a person.
- Don’t skip the “Summary” section! This is your chance to tell people a little about yourself and your career aspirations, without the restrictions of a resume format. Work in keywords about yourself and your experience—this will make your profile show up in web searches, potentially giving you an advantage over other candidates. Be creative, sound thoughtful and professional, and sell yourself. The “Summary” section gives you a great opportunity to separate your profile from other, more mundane profiles.
- Update, update, update. Make it a routine to make a couple changes, find new connections, or follow new groups twice a week. Get yourself into the habit of frequenting LinkedIn just as often as any other social network. You will be surprised how quickly and how organically your profile and network will grow, and how many helpful cues you will pick up from other users.
Don’t fall into complacency and let your profile sit idle. LinkedIn is a vast and powerful network, and in most cases, it’s your chance to make a first impression upon a potential employer. Make it count!