Three Interview-Winning Ways To Build an Effective LinkedIn Presence
From job searching to connecting with prospective employers, LinkedIn is a vital and necessary part of building an online presence that matters for career progression and professional growth.
For better or worse, social media has become an integral part of our lives. From Twitter to Facebook, we tend to spend copious amounts of time on social media platforms building online personas, engaging with followers, and browsing for content. While each platform offers different forms of engagement, none are more important for career professionals than LinkedIn. From job searching to connecting with prospective employers, LinkedIn is a vital and necessary part of building an online presence that matters for career progression and professional growth.
I often will hear from prospective clients, connections, and friends that social media “just isn’t for them.” Although other social media platforms are purely for connecting with friends or pleasurable, mindless scanning, LinkedIn is unique in its benefits and stands apart from the crowd—especially for those actively applying for jobs.
To build an effective online presence on LinkedIn that will increase the chances of winning interviews, follow these tips:
Beginner-Level LinkedIn Best Practices
Achieve All-Star Status. Once a profile has been fully populated with content, LinkedIn will congratulate its owner with a pop-up that reads “Congratulations – You’ve Achieved All-Star Status!” But how do you get to this level? By adding content to “all” sections of the profile, focusing closely on the highly-searchable portions such as the headline, summary/about, and work experience sections. LinkedIn will also prompt users to add additional details like education, skills (ideally, add at least 5), and location. The main reason LinkedIn requests these details is so that user profiles will be fully optimized and searchable. For job seekers, this is vital to being found by talent acquisition specialists.
Research, Reach Out, and Repeat. There are few pieces of advice more valuable to career professionals than telling them to network extensively. That being said, roadblocks are inevitable. Yes, people will fail to follow up on connection invites or In-Mail messages. This is why repeating the processes of reaching out is so vital to success for those wanting to build their professional network using LinkedIn. To gain more insight on the analytics behind profile views and unlock all of the platform’s benefits, upgrading to LinkedIn Premium is also necessary. It is $30 a month well-spent.
Commit 15-30 Minutes Daily: Perusing social media is time consuming, and LinkedIn is no different. However, the LinkedIn algorithm rewards users for genuine engagement with others, which means that those who like, comment, and share regularly will build their networks more quickly than those who stand on the sidelines. One way to begin consistently using the platform is to commit 15 to 30 minutes each day to engaging with others’ content. Follow users who share relatable and relevant content, comment on their posts, and share widely. The benefit of engaging is that you will then begin showing up on others’ newsfeed, which leads to building a larger network of connections in a shorter time span.
Next Steps for Building an Effective LinkedIn Presence
What about professionals who have all the right elements of a solid LinkedIn profile and want to summarize and articulate their achievements to stand out in a tough job market?
Inject Some Personality: Never underestimate the power of creating content that reflects your unique style and personality. While most users will stick with the summary generated by LinkedIn populated with buzzwords and impersonal phrasing, opting for a summary that walks the line between professional and approachable is an ideal strategy to draw recruiters to your door. For example, let’s say you’re pursuing a drilling engineer position. Why not start your summary section with a sentence that provides a bird’s eye view of your personality and expertise? For example:
Hello, I’m (Insert Your Name Here)! My specialty is optimizing horizontal wells and executing complex multimillion-dollar projects end-to-end for drilling operations across four continents.
A sentence like this goes beyond explaining “why” you are the perfect candidate for a drilling engineer position by showing “how” you are also an ideal fit for the company’s culture. It is also the first sentence a recruiter or human resources manager will read when browsing someone’s LinkedIn profile.
Don’t Neglect the Visuals: Given that LinkedIn is a social media platform, visuals are just as important to building your professional brand as the content you add to each profile section. That being said, think like an employer. What images would you want to see? Make your profile photo as close to a headshot as possible and add a professional banner reflecting the core value and competencies you bring to the table. Using software like Canva makes building a custom LinkedIn banner easy and you can even access high-resolution images that pop on your profile page.
Build an Effective Networking Template: If you’re applying the research, reach out, and repeat method of networking, you’ll need a solid template to save yourself time and effort. Remember—LinkedIn is like a virtual handshake, so opt for a brief, personable message that invites engagement without oversharing or intruding. I always suggest finding common ground with potential connections, so narrow your search to fellow university alums or colleagues from a former company when attempting to build a network and extend your professional reach.
While social media might not be for everyone, for those wanting—or needing—to grow their professional network, look no further than LinkedIn. The key to building an effective online presence that leads to a broader network, interviews, and job offers begins with devoting time consistently to engaging with everything the platform has to offer.
Amanda Rico is a Houston Business Journal columnist and highly requested professional development seminar speaker with a track record of working alongside public officials, career diplomats, and corporate executives. She has more than 13 years of experience ranging from generating materials for TEDx speakers and healthcare executives to optimizing profiles for energy and petroleum managers. She holds a PhD in English from Texas A&M University, and BA and MA degrees in English from the University of Oklahoma.
[The article was sourced from the author by TWA editor Stephen Forrester.]