This is my takeaway from the recent Workshop conducted by Ms. Radha Shreeniwas (HR Business Partner, Director@LinkedIn) during the RestartHer conference by JobsForHer in Bangalore last week. I am sharing it because I have done these and it has helped me significantly in getting seen and being approached by many companies for freelance writing works which form my profession.
Those who actively use LinkedIn to build and nurture their professional network will know better how far it takes you! Here I am pointing out the basics because, from my interactions with the women restarters over a year, I have noticed that very few of them tend to make use of this wonderful platform that can catapult them into the right kind of opportunities they have been looking for all these years!
Your Complete Professional Profile
To start with, you have to create a profile and complete it to the core. Do not hesitate to mention all your academic qualifications and also your professional experiences. You may have worked in different roles in different companies. But do not hesitate to put them here, as long as they are relevant in terms of your career graph and tenure. You definitely wouldn’t want to create a gap there, by not updating some jobs you have done!
Keep your Profile updated
So what happens is, you created a profile a few months back and forget it! Now when you are frantically looking for a job, you try to use the same profile, which was updated months before. Please invest some time to update your profile! An updated profile will impress the people you are trying to network with and also the recruiters who may be looking for a person like you to join their organization.
Update your Career Gap
Yes, when you get a chance to update the details of your career gap, use it wisely. Find out a creative way to showcase your career gap or shift in the role which will leave a good impression on the recruiter who may check your profile.
Make use of the Profile Description
While updating your profile, you get a chance to give a brief introduction where you can explain your career gap and role shifts in a creative way. A crispy introduction is good enough to get you noticed by the right recruiter.
Update your Skills
Did you know that your skills are the keywords many recruiters use to search for their right candidates? So that’s a part of making your profile Search Engine Optimized. SEO? Yes, it is important to keep those keywords relevant to your profile and industry updated on your LinkedIn Profile. If you are on a career break or learning new skills, do not forget to update the same as and when you start and finish learning the same. Remember, you can share your profile updates which will be notified to your connections.
Share Articles or Updates
Once you have your complete profile with skills updated, next you need to start using LinkedIn wisely. You can either publish your own articles and updates that are relevant to your industry or share them from other websites. This is important to keep your profile live and relevant. This further helps to get your profile noticed by people in your industry and helps you grow your connection fruitfully. Just make sure that whatever you share are professional updates and not the typical social media shares that add no value to your profile.
Comment on Updates by Others
If you add value to the discussions with your insights as comments, that’s another great way to get noticed. Let me share my experience on this – I once shared my thoughts on one of the mentors’ articles published on LinkedIn which he noticed and connected! Since I am based in Kerala, there was no other way I could have managed to meet this mentor who is still in touch and helps me out with his valuable insights. Another experience is that I once commented on an online article published on freelancing by The Times Group. This comment got published in their print edition the same week!
So comments that add value to the articles or updates published will get you noticed too which helps to add better connections that may have the potential take you forward in your career ahead.
Set Job Alerts
Set job alerts relevant to your experience and passion. Even if you don’t have the experience, if it matches your skills and passion, do not hesitate to set an alert. With an updated profile, you can directly apply to those jobs from LinkedIn. Your profile description will help you with your introduction. You can add a covering letter when you apply which you can customize based on the company/job requirement.
Follow Influencers and Companies
When you follow the popular influencers, mentors, and companies that interest you, their updates will show up on your feed automatically. This way, you will know when those companies and people post interesting articles and even job requirements that they may not put on LinkedIn jobs. Choose whom to follow wisely or else it will clutter your profile feed and you may miss out on the juicy updates!
Grow your Network
This is the most important and most difficult part of making the most of LinkedIn. The ultimate aim for most of the people who use LinkedIn is to grow their professional network. If you are looking for a job in a particular field, try to follow companies and influencers who are in the relevant field. Try to connect with people who can add value to your network. But connecting with someone and immediately asking for a job is a strict NO. Try to interact with them by commenting on their updates so that they notice your profile first. Use the network to network further! Don’t expect them to help you with your job hunt. Don’t ask for recommendations from unknown people. Add your ex-colleagues and ex-bosses who can help you with recommendations. Try to add value to your profile by adding value to your network. The Success that you deserve will come to you ultimately.
Another fact you need to work on is to maintain an offline network also! Attend the career fairs and other relevant events that are happening around you. It not only helps you to meet more like-minded people but also to understand the different channels they are utilizing to network and explore the opportunities.
While it remains a truth that most of the companies prefer the referrals or direct recruitment drives to strengthen their workforce, you can definitely increase your worth by using LinkedIn to build a network you can utilize at the right juncture. Moreover, many recruiters tend to cross-check your LinkedIn profile before they shortlist or finalize the candidature.
So, don’t wait any longer! Update your LinkedIn profile today and spend 40 to 50 minutes on LinkedIn to keep your profile live. You will see that your network will start to grow steadily and you will start finding better connections and opportunities coming your way. You can also use your LinkedIn profile link on your resume/covering letter to make it look more professional.