In modern business it’s not only essential to have a LinkedIn account, but also critical that you use it to good effect to win work.
In this post, iContract’s marketing manager Chris Lee outlines five simple steps freelance contractors can take to improve their LinkedIn profile.
In a recent post I covered how to use Twitter to win contracts. The key reason being that potential employers and recruiters are very likely to check out your social media profiles prior to interview.
And the network they’re most likely to research you on first is professional social network LinkedIn.
Your LinkedIn account must create that all-important first impression and tell your target audience – in this case recruiters and potential employers – just what you bring to the party.
Before we explore the five tips, it’s worth considering using a paid account – such as Job Seeker (£19.99 + VAT), Business Plus (£29.99 + VAT) – or the standard free one.
There are benefits from paid, including the ability to message people outside your network and see exactly who’s been looking at your profile, so long as they have not protected their own accounts to search incognito.
Here are those top LinkedIn tips:
1) Customise your profile
The first thing to do is to make sure your picture, header and biography are up to date.
Picture: Use a professional shot. Make sure it’s clear, not blurred or too dark, and set in a business setting, not at a wedding or night out, for example (however smart you might be in the shot). Your potential employer will want to know what you look like and in finance, law or even IT, business casual will be a minimum.
Backgrounder: You can use a header image, much like in Twitter or Facebook. Use this space to illustrate further who you are and what you stand for. Is there a great picture of you speaking at a conference that you can use?
Biography: Use the summary to good effect here. Summarise your career achievements and goals in the first paragraph, then go into detail – either from your most recent role backwards or from your most significant achievement. What will potential employers be getting if they hire you?
Include any awards and politely ask close connections for written endorsements.
Don’t forget to include your personal pursuits – it’s not all work, work, work!
The fuller your profile and the more active you are, the more people are likely to view you, so make sure you give people opportunities to view your profile.
Embed a ‘view profile’ link in your website, or a link to your profile in your email boilerplate.
2) Use LinkedIn daily
Make sure you’re active daily, especially in the days and weeks before a period of interviews. Share useful links and express an opinion on what they mean for the industry.
Remember it’s a professional network so make sure you share links related to your industry, not personal interest or entertainment articles. That’s not why other people are on LinkedIn.
3) Take advantage of LinkedIn Pulse
LinkedIn has a publishing suite called LinkedIn Pulse, which anyone can publish on. If you don’t have your own blog, then this is a great platform to get your opinion out there in your peer group.
Make sure you use relevant tags so people following that topic can get involved and share the link on other media, such as Twitter, to help that content spread.
4) Use analytics
LinkedIn provides some great data that you can use to your benefit, such as how many views your LinkedIn Pulse articles receive, or who’s been looking at your profile.
The whole point of social media is to engage and be sociable, so join groups that are relevant to your industry and get involved in debates in order to get on other people’s radars and make new connections.
Don’t use groups as a place to post your blog links unless they are relevant to a particular discussion, as other group members may not like that.
There’s nothing worse than a neglected social media feed so be sure you’re active every day, and commenting on and liking posts from other people in your network.
In social media – like life – the more you put in, the more you get out. Make sure you follow iContract on LinkedIn.