Five competitive ways to make your LinkedIn profile work for you

Five competitive ways to make your LinkedIn profile work for you
LinkedIn's founder and CEO applaud from the bell balcony of the New York Stock Exchange during its IPO. (Photo: Reuters / Alamy Stock Photo)

It can be daunting and soul-destroying trying to navigate the fiercely competitive job market. Here’s how you can stand out in a sea of applicants.

Social media has fast taken over as a place to get news, a place to make friends and a platform to find jobs. A 2018 report on the impact of social media on recruitment by Tanja Koch, Prof Charlene Gerber and Prof Mias de Klerk found that jobs posted on LinkedIn received more views from potential candidates than those on Facebook and Twitter combined, and garnered twice as many applications per job advertisement in general.

“More than 95% of recruiters who use social media in their recruitment process indicated that they use LinkedIn, compared with 66% utilising Facebook and 52% engaging with candidates on Twitter,” the report says.

So, how do you ensure your LinkedIn profile stands out and gives you the best possible chance of landing your dream job?

1. Use keywords

Angie Le Roux of Kontak Recruitment says you should pay attention to the information you put out. “You might think you are being clever by using a fancy title but the truth is, no recruiter is ever going to find you. For example, if you are a personal assistant to the chief financial officer, then say that. If you say you are the ‘CFO’s right hand’, chances are you will never come up on the radar of a recruiter looking for a high-level personal assistant,” she says. Your LinkedIn profile default setting is to use your current job title as your headline, but you can edit this to reflect job titles and your industry. For example, your headline could be: Media Consultant | Communications specialist | Public relations. When you add a new position to your profile, uncheck the box that makes your new job title your default headline.

2. Create a personal URL

When you first create your LinkedIn profile, LinkedIn assigns a line of numbers to your URL that will personalise your account. But you can edit this to create a personalised URL that is easier to read and can easily be shared. To do this:

  • Go to your profile
  • Click “Edit public profile & URL”
  • Click on the pen under the “Edit URL” section
  • Choose your desired URL
  • Save your changes.

3. Stay active on LinkedIn

Like most social media platforms, engagement is key. Once you have set up your profile, start sharing content. “You could post topical articles in your field or new qualifications you have completed. Start a conversation, share advice and respond to other people’s posts. The more people see you, the more they know who you are and remember you. This will build what is known as online confidence. People might never have met you but they start trusting you because your name has come up on their network so many times,” Le Roux says.

Experts recommend that you shoot for around 350 to 500 connections on LinkedIn. This will enable you to be a part of enough industry networks

4. Ask for recommendations

Ideally, you want at least five recommendations on your LinkedIn profile. These don’t have to necessarily be from the same people listed as referees on your CV, but could include colleagues, clients or even staff who have worked under you. One of the best ways to get recommendations is to write them for other people. LinkedIn then automatically nudges that person to return the favour.

5. Cultivate key connections

Natalie Rogers, an executive consultant at recruitment agency Six Degrees Executive, advises that you review company profiles and connect with key decision-makers. “Experts recommend that you shoot for around 350 to 500 connections on LinkedIn. This will enable you to be a part of enough industry networks, including recruiters, looking for people with your skill set,” she says. When you reach out to a new connection, take the time to include a personalised note, explaining who you are and why you want to connect with them. It is more likely to make them accept you as a connection, particularly if they don’t personally know you. DM168

This story first appeared in our weekly Daily Maverick 168 newspaper which is available for R25 at Pick n Pay, Exclusive Books and airport bookstores. For your nearest stockist, please click here.


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