Easy Ways to Leverage Your LinkedIn Account

Original Illustration by Stephanie DeAngelis

When was the last time you edited your LinkedIn account? If you’re like many of the social network's 450 million users, there’s a chance you’ve barely scratched the surface of LinkedIn’s potential. If remedying this is not a priority, it should be. A recent study reveals a massive 94% of recruiters use LinkedIn to vet candidates while almost half use it to approach job hunters. In other words, an underutilized profile could cost you the job.

Where to start? We called on social media expert Brian Basilico and LinkedIn’s Catherine Fisher to find out how to supercharge your profile in under an hour. With just a few simple expert-informed tweaks, you could score your next big career break. After all, people who regularly update their account are 18 times more likely to be found in searches by recruiters and members. Your next career move starts here.

Maintaining a relevant list of skills isn't just important to show recruiters your value; it's also a vital tool to boost the visibility of your profile. Aim to list at least five key skills; members with five or more receive up to 17 times more profile views.

Be sure to order them according to what strengths you'd like to be known for, too. Fisher explains, “LinkedIn will do the rest by targeting endorsers for those top skills you’ve prioritized, and the more endorsements you have for your skills, the higher you rank in search results.”

You can find potential partners and/or clients on LinkedIn by researching what groups they are a part of. If you stumble upon a group with a lot of potential connections, try to join it. And don’t be too shy to contribute to the discussion at hand. Once you’ve established yourself as an active participant, the group moderators will be more comfortable allowing you to post original content.

Writing your profile summary shouldn’t involve simply cutting and pasting text from your résumé. There’s one key difference: It needs to be search engine optimized. In other words, you need to use relevant keywords so that it has the best possible chance to appear when recruiters are searching for candidates. To hone your summary, think about your specialty skills, and be sure to mention them throughout the text. Length matters, too. Summaries over 40 words are more likely to show up in search.

Don’t just use LinkedIn as a sales pitch platform. Bring something to the table by offering the network great content. Brian Basilico, author of It's Not About You, recommends using your content as a means to showcase your knowledge and your brand. Share other user’s content to demonstrate your awareness of the industry. Make sure to cite correctly, and your expertise by association will shine through.

As tempting as it is to see that “500+” on your LinkedIn profile, it’s more important to develop quality relationships. Before connecting with someone on LinkedIn, strategize. Figure out who you want to target and why. And don’t forget to use tags as a way to categorize your connections (e.g., client, potential client, power partner).

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