It’s no secret that LinkedIn is the top professional social networking site in the world. On the face of it, a LinkedIn profile may simply seem like an online CV, but on a platform where scores of employers are looking for prime candidates every day, it’s a pretty useful CV to have.
LinkedIn is unquestionably the social network for job-seeking professionals or even if you’re not looking right now. 92% of recruiters use social media in their work today and LinkedIn is the social network they use most according to Jobvite. And yet, many job seekers don’t maximise their LinkedIn profiles to help them find jobs. Instead, they copy and paste their resume and hope the right employer finds them.
Besides being a platform for hiring, it’s also a professional networking platform that allows professionals to connect with like-minded individuals, leading figures, and even potential employers. Aside from networking, it’s also an authoritative source of high-quality content and a powerful channel to share your ideas and content.
Here are some statistics about LinkedIn users in Singapore
- There are about 2.7 million users in Singapore as of January 2020
- LinkedIn is available in over 200 countries around the world
- More than 60% of LinkedIn users in Singapore are between 25 and 34 years old
The key to using LinkedIn effectively is to make sure you’re ‘discoverable’ to employers and agencies, as well as using those all-important connections to your advantage. Here’s how you can make the most out of your LinkedIn profile as a job seeker.
Step 1: Build & Complete Your Profile
Your LinkedIn profile is your best chance to showcase your skills and talents and help the right people and opportunities find their way to you. As your professional representation online, you can set it up to be discoverable through the millions of searches on leading search engines and on LinkedIn.
Fact: Members with at least one past position listed on their LinkedIn profile are 12 times more likely to be viewed for potential opportunities
Get started on creating and building your LinkedIn profile with these steps:
Use a good profile picture
Is the headshot on your LinkedIn 10 years out of date? Or worse, have you never bothered to change the default icon on your profile? According to digital experts, DMR, your profile is 36 times more likely to be viewed if it has a photo. Make sure your profile picture is professional with a clear background.
Work on your headline
Your headline should not make people wonder about what you do. Address who you are, who you help and back it up with evidence. Make use of LinkedIn’s headline functionality by listing all the roles you perform. Don’t feel obligated to use your literal title, especially if your title doesn’t adequately describe what you do. For example, if your title is Community Manager, you can state “Commercial Real-Estate Management Professional”. Most importantly, don’t use “former” or any other word that indicates you aren’t currently employed.
Write an impactful summary
The next opportunity to grab a potential employer’s attention is the “Summary” section. This is the make-or-break spot to sell yourself. When worded carefully, your summary can offer a peek into who you are, the extent of your experience, expertise, the type of roles you’re seeking and the best way to contact you.
Write your summary as if it will be all that a busy employer or recruiter reads before contacting you. And do use the summary functionality to include links to content you’ve created or helped with – such as websites, SlideShare presentations or industry articles. Write in the first person. Here’s one spot where you can let your personality shine through and add to your memorability (in a professional way, of course). Be strict about length as well. If you use the entire space allowed, you run the risk of appearing both boring and old, neither of which is going to win you a job.
Pro Tip: It’s important to remember that LinkedIn will notify your contacts when you make changes to your profile, so while you are under construction, make sure you turn off the “Notify my network” function (found in the right-hand column on your Profile page). Otherwise, you run the risk of annoying your contacts with a continuous stream of insignificant updates. When you are happy with your new profile, though, turn it back on and let everyone know!
Add in your experiences, education, and certifications
The more information you provide in this section, the bigger picture you build for potential employers.
List your skills
There are more than 45,000 skills to choose from to beef up your LinkedIn profile. Listing your skills confers a number of benefits – it readily outlines your key capabilities which makes your profile more searchable to those who specifically seek out professionals with your skills and it provides your network with an easy way of endorsing your abilities.
Get recommendations & endorsements
A strong recommendation from those who have worked with you highlights your strengths and shows that you were a valued employee. You can actively reach out to your past managers and work colleagues to get recommendations from them. If you’re going to ask someone to spend time writing glowing things about you, a personalised email will always be appreciated. Don’t be afraid to initiate by writing a recommendation for a former colleague, and then ask if they can return the favour.
Endorsements are also a great way to highlight the specific skill sets you have. An effective way to gather up some of your own is by going through your trusted connections and endorsing them for skills.
Step 2: Grow & Interact with Your Network
Having a strong network is essential. It represents those you know and trust, and you can utilise it for recommendations and ask for introductions into a job or opportunity in which you are interested. No matter how the economy is situated, or what your career is doing, having a strong network is a good form of job security. Don’t wait until times are tough to nurture your network.
There is a “magic” number of connections to have on your LinkedIn profile, and that number is 50. By connecting to at least 50 trusted contacts (past co-workers, clients, classmates, professors, friends and family) you will increase your chances of getting in touch with people and companies that will help you get ahead in your job hunt.
You can start off with connecting with your former classmates, followed by former/current colleagues. You can then branch out to industry peers (people from the same industry or company) and then decision-makers and influencers in the targeted industry or sector.
Something to take note of is that sometimes it’s considered bad etiquette to add people you don’t know on LinkedIn, but it’s usually fine if the other person can quickly see from your profile that you have similar interests or shared connections. Likewise, you can also send in a personalised note when inviting to connect on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn can also be a useful way of staying in contact with interviewers after an interview, or anyone you might have come into contact with on work experience placements or internships, however briefly.
Pro Tip: Use your connections as examples to emulate! Look at how other people in your field are creating their profiles and take note of what career path they took and, more specifically, which companies were willing to employ them when they were just starting out.
You can also join LinkedIn groups to grow your network. Join and contribute to groups related to your industry. Get insider info and learn how your sector/industry works from the inside out, get known for having an opinion or specialism, or find people who can tell you more about their career path to see if it interests you. Once you’ve joined a few key groups, you can message other group members to introduce yourself or your services. But avoid being seen as a spammer and make sure you’re sending relevant messages to the right people, ask questions or offer to help with their projects.
Step 3: Stay Active
To stay top of mind with your contacts, you want to maintain a visible presence on LinkedIn. It’s important, however, to be judicious about how active you are. You know that Facebook friend who seemingly posts every 15 minutes? Well, you don’t want to be that guy on LinkedIn.
First, download the LinkedIn app to your phone. This will encourage you to check out the site whenever you have downtime. Then, visit LinkedIn’s home page at least once a day and see what others are posting. Like and comment on those posts. After you have a feel for what’s appropriate, begin adding items yourself every day or so. The easiest way to do this is to find interesting, provocative stories, photos and videos that involve your profession and make intelligent comments as you share them, rather than trying to blog with high frequency yourself. If you are a blogger, however, be sure to include LinkedIn in your social media outreach.
Having some solid knowledge of recent developments in your industry will pay off in interviews. You can also follow the blogs of companies you’re interested in to keep up with their latest news. But if you have something to say that won’t fit in a snappy status update, write a blog post instead. Simply hit the ‘Write an article’ button on the homepage and get typing. Sharing your own opinions and knowledge on a subject will seriously impress employers and help get your name out there.
LinkedIn has made sharing photos directly from your phone easier, so if you find yourself at a professional seminar, conference or networking event, remember to post a photo and positive comment. Or post your work itself, especially if you are a visual or performing artist, culinary pro, or contractor.
Don’t Add New Contacts in Big Batches
It makes you look indiscriminate. But keep an eye on LinkedIn’s suggestions for additions to your network and invite people you know to link every few days or so. If the person accepts the link, send a friendly note updating them on what you’re up to. You can also customise the copy that goes out with the invitation.
Don’t be reluctant to ask for help in your job search if you think he or she can be of assistance—that’s what LinkedIn is for. Stay on top of your contacts’ new positions, birthdays, job anniversaries and other accomplishments via the Keep in Touch section in the Connections channel, and send congratulations. It’s important to reinforce your connections with LinkedIn contacts.
Step 4: Apply for Jobs
You can search and apply for jobs directly on LinkedIn. All you have to do is click on the “Job” icon at the top of the homepage. You can also view and contact your LinkedIn connections who may be able to refer you for a job.
Targeted searches such as the advanced people or company finders can sharpen your scope and help you find exactly what you are looking for. You can also filter the advanced search by location, industry, alumni status, or the number of employees to get more concise, specific search results. Additionally, LinkedIn company profiles are a good way to find more information on companies in which you have an interest. You’ll be able to see if you have any connections at the company, new hires, promotions, jobs posted, related companies, and company statistics.
If all else fails, you can try cold messaging senior executives and reach out to recruiters. Remember to be clear and polite in your outreach. You can also share a brief summary of who you are, your work experience, and what you’re looking out for.
LinkedIn is a valuable job search tool if you do it right. Remember that LinkedIn is a search engine so pay attention to the keywords that will get your profile noticed by the right people.
To learn more about transforming your profile and raising your visibility on LinkedIn from an expert, join us for our half-day course – LinkedIn Profile Makeover for Professionals.