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How to Use LinkedIn Effectively (And How it Can Further Your Career)

How to Use LinkedIn Effectively (And How it Can Further Your Career)

October 3, 2023

When you’re looking to further your career, a few things come to mind. Sprucing up your CV. Making the right connections. Learning new skills to really strengthen your resume. You might even consider taking a new course or talking to a recruitment specialist about your options. And, of course, there’s LinkedIn – Facebook for Jobseekers.

Here at CMD Recruitment, we urge all our candidates to revisit and revitalise their LinkedIn profiles. The face of recruitment and hiring looks vastly different now from how it looked only ten years ago. Employers expect to see you on LinkedIn – they want to use it to learn more about you, your interests and strengths, your experience and your philosophy. By ignoring LinkedIn, you’re simply not giving yourself the best possible advantage.

Just in case you’re unconvinced, check out just a few statistics relating to LinkedIn:

As you can see, LinkedIn can be a remarkable tool for a job seeker, whether you’re looking for a career change or you are looking to climb the ladder further. You just need to know how to use this tool to its best advantage. As a recruitment agency, we use LinkedIn all the time, and we have helped candidates create profiles that attract enviable job offers. Below are our 7 top tips on how to use LinkedIn more effectively.

How to Use LinkedIn Effectively (And How it Can Further Your Career) CMD Recruitment

1. Optimise Your LinkedIn Profile

As Forbes puts it, “Your LinkedIn profile is you when you aren’t there”. Your LinkedIn profile really does serve as your digital professional identity, so you need to take the time to optimise it well.

It all begins with your profile picture – you may not have thought twice about its significance, but incredibly, LinkedIn profiles with a headshot receive 21 times more profile views and nine times more connection requests. Find a picture that makes you look both professional and approachable – it’s a networking site, after all, and there’s no sense in being aloof. A high-quality headshot with good lighting works best.

Then you should take the time to create a well-worded, informative and considered headline. It’s been claimed that your LinkedIn headline is 46% more important to recruiters and employers than your experience, so generic terms such as ‘job seeker’ won’t cut it. Hubspot’s LinkedIn headline formula shown below is a great guide. X represents your ‘ideal prospect’, while Y is the prospect’s ideal outcome after working with you.

How to Use LinkedIn Effectively (And How it Can Further Your Career) CMD Recruitment

Try to keep your headline to just a few words and use specific keywords relating to your expertise and career goals.

Next, move on to the summary section. Time to tell your professional story. Describe your experiences, skills and passions, highlighting what truly sets you apart – remember, you have a lot of competition! Use concise and engaging language to draw visitors in.

Ensure your work experience is comprehensive, including job titles, descriptions and key achievements. Quantify your successes whenever possible to demonstrate just how good you are at your job – give people a reason to invest in you. While you’re at it, be sure to list your education, certifications and any relevant volunteer work or extracurricular activities to help round out your professional profile.

Finally, make sure your contact information is up to date. You want to make it as easy as possible for recruiters and employers to reach out to you.

How to Use LinkedIn Effectively (And How it Can Further Your Career) CMD Recruitment

2. Network, Network, Network

Networking is what LinkedIn is all about. It’s time to expand your network and broaden your horizons. To use LinkedIn effectively, avoid being generic. When sending out connection requests, personalise them, while getting across what you’re looking for through the connection.

Prioritise quality connections within your industry and remember to stay active and engaged – take part in meaningful conversations by commenting on status updates and sharing content. Join relevant groups to connect with like-minded professionals, and attend networking events to meet new contacts. Use LinkedIn’s messaging to initiate conversations, focusing on building genuine relationships. Endorsements and recommendations add credibility to your profile, so request them thoughtfully. Effective networking on LinkedIn is about forming connections, sharing insights and nurturing professional relationships. And you never know when one of these relationships will pay off in a significant way.

How to Use LinkedIn Effectively (And How it Can Further Your Career) CMD Recruitment

3. Get Creating and Sharing

When it comes to establishing your professional presence on LinkedIn and engaging with your network, creating and sharing content is a hugely effective strategy. Let your voice be heard – express your point of view and show your support to other, like-minded people on the platform. If you’ve ever seen ‘good communication’ skills on a job description, then you understand how important it is to be able to articulate yourself properly and get your point across – LinkedIn is a great tool to highlight this strength.

Schedule in time to regularly post updates, articles and insights related to your industry. Share your experiences, challenges and successes to showcase your expertise and perspective.

Long-form articles provide an opportunity to delve deeper into a topic and position yourself as a thought leader. Use compelling headlines and intros to grab your audience’s attention and encourage discussions by asking questions or seeking opinions in your posts.

Engagement is key – Interact with your network by liking, commenting and sharing their content. Meaningful comments can spark conversations and increase your visibility, as well as your odds of being headhunted.

How to Use LinkedIn Effectively (And How it Can Further Your Career) CMD Recruitment

4. Update Your Endorsements and Recommendations

Nothing builds credibility on LinkedIn quite like endorsements and recommendations. Endorsements validate your skills and expertise. Encourage them by endorsing your connections’ skills – this often leads to reciprocal endorsements.

Recommendations, on the other hand, provide in-depth insights into your professional capabilities. When requesting recommendations, be thoughtful and specific. Reach out to colleagues, supervisors, or clients who can speak to your strengths and achievements. A well-crafted recommendation can set you apart from others in your field.

To maximise their impact, ensure recommendations are genuine and tailored. They should highlight not only your skills but also your work ethic, collaboration and contributions. These endorsements and recommendations not only bolster your profile but also help potential employers or partners gain a clearer understanding of your value and potential – and how you’d fit in with others at the company.

How to Use LinkedIn Effectively (And How it Can Further Your Career) CMD Recruitment

5. Know How to Find Career Opportunities

It isn’t enough to simply have a LinkedIn profile – you need to know how to use it to find the right opportunities. Otherwise your account is  just lying dormant, and likely of no real use to you whatsoever.

The good news is, LinkedIn is highly intuitive and user-friendly, so you should be able to find your way around easily. Use the job search feature to find relevant opportunities. Customise your job alerts to receive notifications about new postings that match your criteria. Follow companies you’re interested in to stay updated on their news and openings. This not only shows your genuine interest but also helps you get noticed by their HR teams.

Leverage your network for job referrals and introductions. If you spot a job at a company of interest, see if you have any connections there who can provide insights or refer you – while times change and technology evolves, it still remains true that who you know can open a lot of doors.

How to Use LinkedIn Effectively (And How it Can Further Your Career) CMD Recruitment

6. Begin to Build a Personal Brand

You need to do something to separate you from the floods of other people on LinkedIn – one way to do this is by taking the time to create and build a personal brand. It’s all about developing a unique and authentic professional identity. Start by defining your niche and expertise. What makes you stand out? What do you want to be known for? Your LinkedIn profile should reflect this specialisation in a way that also reflects your character. For some great examples, you can look to Steven Bartlett or Sonya Barlow.

How to Use LinkedIn Effectively (And How it Can Further Your Career) CMD Recruitment

7. Engage in Groups and Communities

We touched on this in our point about networking, but it bears repeating – groups and communities on Facebook are hugely important, and a great way to get noticed.

Start by joining relevant groups related to your industry or interests. These groups serve as hubs for professionals with shared passions and expertise.

Participate actively in discussions within these groups. Share your insights, ask questions and provide valuable contributions. Thoughtful and respectful engagement can help you establish yourself as a knowledgeable and trustworthy member of the community.

Try to avoid overly-promotional behaviour. Instead, focus on building genuine connections by offering help, answering queries and collaborating with other members when opportunities arise.

Take note of the most active and influential members within these groups. Connecting with them can open doors to valuable connections and opportunities. Engage with their content and reach out with personalised connection requests.

LinkedIn is a dynamic, valuable platform where professionals can connect, network and advance their careers. Employers increasingly rely on it to assess candidates – if you’re not present, or not active, the reality is, it could count against you. A well-optimised LinkedIn profile can make all the difference in job search success, providing a platform to showcase skills, build a personal brand and connect with opportunities globally.

Are you looking to further your career? Whether you’re looking for a significant change or you are simply looking for the next logical step in your existing career, we have what it takes to get you there. Register with us today.

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