We know it’s only March, but we’re so excited for Spring! We can already hear the birds chirping, see the flowers bloom… and we also know that March is a good time to start thinking about how you’re going to tackle spring cleaning. No, not your closets—your personal messaging.
Last month, we talked about streamlining your personal messaging to land your dream job. For March, we’re going to dive deeper into one of the biggest aspects of your personal messaging: your LinkedIn presence. How can you “spring clean” your personal messaging on LinkedIn?
That’s why we’re releasing a two-part blog series all about LinkedIn: you’ll learn how to optimize your profile, build your network, become an industry leader, and ultimately, optimize your career.
Optimizing Your Career with LinkedIn: Part One
It’s no secret that LinkedIn is a crucial resource for people looking to either change or build upon their careers. Since its launch in 2003, LinkedIn has become a community of nearly 600 million users, distinguishing itself from other social media networks by being a powerful tool for professionals. But out of 600 million users, how can you really stand out?
- Leave a Long-lasting Impression with Your Profile
We won’t bore you with the basics. By now, you should know that your profile picture or your head shot should not be a blurry selfie taken with your cell-phone camera! But your LinkedIn profile is more than just a glorified resume. With the right strategy, your profile can have a profound impact in attracting the right people to help build your pathway to success:
- Your Headline: When you’re only allowed 120 characters, it can be tempting to simply use your job title for a headline. Unfortunately, that’s not enough to compel readers to dig further into who you are. And anyway, aren’t you more than just your job title? Think of your headline as your own brand’s professional slogan: something that is accurate, but catchy and attention-grabbing. Try creating a headline that separates you from your competition and speaks to your results. A headline that says: “Strategic Project Manager Focused on Streamlining Processes and Increasing Cost Savings” is much more impactful, clickable, and intriguing than “Project Manager at ABC Company.”
- Your Summary: Your summary, or about section, is a great place to showcase your most impressive accomplishments right at the beginning of your profile to back up that impressive headline. Your summary shows up at the top of your profile before recruiters and potential hiring managers scroll down, so why not hit them with something impressive to encourage them to stay on your profile a little longer? Many may want to use the summary section to talk about your personal life, which is completely fine, but if you’re targeting your next job, make sure you’re grabbing the attention of future senior leaders with reasons as to why they should hire you, connect with you, and stay on your profile a little longer.
- Work, Education, and Other Sections: Another trap to fall into with your LinkedIn profile is thinking, “the more, the better!” That can be true in some cases—we encourage our clients to complete their profile by leaving no section blank, if they can. However, you don’t want to overwhelm your audience with a wall of text, nor do you want to leave nothing to the imagination! Keep your experience section dedicated to the results that you’ve achieved. Things to avoid are massive paragraphs that will bore the readers (and probably won’t get to read) and text that advertises the amazing things that your company does. Unless you own the company, leave the advertising to them. We’re here to advertise the amazing things YOU do, not what your company does.
- Build a Strong and Meaningful Network
You might approach LinkedIn with a “quality over quantity” mindset, thinking you’ll get ahead by only accepting invitations from people you know closely or people who seem influential. On the contrary, it’s better to expand your network as much as possible. Think about it: with the way information is spread, you never know who may “like” something you post, thereby making it visible to VPs, CEOs, and other LinkedIn influencers you’re trying to target. At the end of the day, you never know who is connected to who.
The goal is to be an industry leader, which means you should be strategic in your connections, yes, but you also want to be seen by as many people as possible. Here is what to consider when building your network:
- Start with Who You Know: This one is easy, and something you’ve likely already done—accepting invitations from your colleagues or any professional people you trust. But this isn’t just about social networking camaraderie, accepting invitations to be friendly. You can really extend your network by digging further into their connections. See who your colleagues are associated with, and which professional connections may be useful to your field.
Additionally—and this one may be tough for the introverts in the crowd—actually talk to your connections. If you don’t know someone but want to, reach out with a personable (but professional) introduction of yourself. Engage with your connections by asking questions, whether it’s for recommendations or career advice. And finally, offer your own recommendations and thoughts. Show some personality, and your network will go a long way.
- Maintaining Your Network: Let’s go back to the spring cleaning metaphor and apply it to your network. Think about your connections the same way you would your closets. Despite your best intentions, it will still grow overtime, and not always in the most helpful ways. If you’ve been on LinkedIn for a while, you may find that the people you initially connected with are no longer relevant to your career or field. You may also realize that you had been eager to grow a large audience and wasn’t as strategic as possible when accepting those early invitations.
Either way, having too many people in your network who aren’t as relevant or useful to your career can create the timeline clutter that keeps you from seeing meaningful and valuable opportunities. Don’t delete connections—remember, you want your network to expand! Instead, utilize the unfollow option. Be in control of what you see so that your timeline remains a tool.
Can you believe this is only Part One of our LinkedIn series? Yes, we at Optimized Career Solutions have a lot to say about LinkedIn, and we’re excited to help you succeed by sharing everything we know! Be sure to check back for our second blog post, which will get you started on becoming an industry leader on LinkedIn.
In the meantime, let’s talk more about how we can help you build your LinkedIn profile in conjunction with your resume. Despite the difference between the two, your profile and resume work beautifully in tandem! Connect with us today and find out how!
If you missed it, our Founder, Kara, launched a mini video series in February called “Falling in Love with LinkedIn” where she shared a few of her favorite LinkedIn optimization tips! Make sure to head over to Kara’s LinkedIn and connect with her there and catch up on the mini video series to make sure you’re optimizing your LinkedIn profile!