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16.6.2017

How to Use LinkedIn Effectively

Many use LinkedIn as a means to display their resume. But LinkedIn is much more than that. It allows you to actively look for a job and build your own brand in an environment perfect for both. What follows are tips that will help you use LinkedIn effectively to increase your number of customers or find a better job.

1. The Basics

LinkedIn is a very popular online service that could best be described Facebook for work. On Facebook people talk about everyday things, share cat pictures or laugh at dank memes. Whereas LinkedIn revolves around work and professional development thus limiting the number of memes you’ll find there. Your LinkedIn profile page is how you present yourself by utilizing a profile picture, work history, educational background and more. LinkedIn differs from a traditional resume as other users in your network can provide you references and recommendations.

They can come from your supervisors or old colleagues. These recommendation are snippets that explain to potential employers how you made a difference at your previous jobs.

On LinkedIn people can also provide recommendations based on individual skills. This is a surprisingly good model to show what others believe a person is competent at.

2. Profile Pictures

Your choice profile picture on LinkedIn is surprisingly important. The picture always appears next to your name when you participate in discussions, write articles or give recommendations. A good image is one that enables others to recognize you.

Imagine that your picture represents you in a job interview. Do you go a little drunk and dressed in shorts? If not, than you should’t present yourself that way either on LinkedIn. Pick a photo where you smile or have a neutral look. Duck lips and other selfie style images should be left for Facebook and Instagram.

In the perfect LinkedIn picture you are wearing clothes that do not draw focus away from your face. The background should be muted. It is often recommend that you use strong colors on social media, but this does not apply to LinkedIn. It is important your profile photo represent who you are as you’re not competing for attention in the same way as you are on other forms of social media like Twitter.

3. Sell Yourself

LinkedIn displays a headline next to your profile picture. This title is a description of who you are and what you do. Your title you can be the same as your current job title. Even better, you should create a more descriptive title that convinces people of your skills. A title like “Creative Marketing Expert”, “International Award Winning Photographer,” or “Versatile Graphic Designer” are all excellent choices.

Your description is the first thing people will see after your profile picture and title. Take the time and plan what you’re going to write. A good description provides a good overview of your work personality.

Are you a top expert in your field, a fast learner, or an effective networker? These are things that are worth highlighting. Tell people briefly what skills you learned from your previous work assignments and what you want to achieve in your career. The maximum length of the description 2000 characters so brevity matters. Strive to use this space as effectively as possible.

4. Fill the Complete Profile

The more content you have in your profile, the more convincing it seems. LinkedIn is constantly developing their service and new properties pop up every few months. It pays to use all the available features. First, fill in your entire career including volunteer or internship experience you have and any professional organizations you belong to. Include the biggest projects you’ve worked on and how you you contributed to or learned from that experience. You can also add links to your published work. You’ll appear more professional if you’ve filled in all the sections.

Do not forget to fill in your education. Clubs, hobbies, societies and projects you are part of help to round you out as a person and appear more human, so be sure to add them. A shared interest can be the single element that helps gain you a new customer or job.

5. Recommend Others

Emphasize and recommend colleagues and supervisors you’re connected to on LinkedIn and they’ll do the same for you in turn. People want to know you’re reliable and capable and recommendations do just that. By writing recommendations for your colleagues you’ll gain visibility on their profiles.

LinkedIn’s skills section makes it very easy to recommend others. Other people in your LinkedIn network will receive a notification whenever you recommend them for a particular skill. And people love reciprocate. It’s a good habit to recommend a friend back if they’ve done so for you. But choose carefully those whom recommend and the skills you .

LinkedIn has published a list of skills that are most likely to lead to being recruited. You can read the report here.

6. Become an Expert

LinkedIn is a service based on networking. It is easy to do many things wrong as a result. LinkedIn recommends you avoid maximizing the number of contacts you have, but instead focusing on the quality of the contacts you have.

And it’s true. It’s very annoying how many invitations I’ve received from people I don’t know. LinkedIn is built on trust, so how can you trust someone you don’t know. You’re not a company trying to get as many likes as possible to spread your message. Focus on quality connections to grow your career through LinkedIn.

LinkedIn also allows for effective networking through their discussion forums. Join groups related to your industry and participate actively in the discussion to get your name out there. It’s just one more way to enhance your own position as an expert in your field.

You can follow UKKO.fi on LinkedIn here

Piia Peiponen
Author

Piia Peiponen

Piia is a Communications Specialist passionate about social media and Finnish language. When she isn’t working, you’ll find Piia listening podcast or being a dedicated sports fan.

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