LinkedIn is quickly becoming a widely used media service in business and recruitment as businesses become more digital and their web presence becomes more impactful. Most individuals either currently use or intend to use the social media platform for the purpose of appealing to recruiters and businesses in their field. LinkedIn isn’t necessarily unique in the purpose of users “selling” themselves to others, but it is a more professional and deliberate way of doing so. Here are some tips to better sell yourself on LinkedIn.
1. Define Your Goals
What are you looking for in your career? How do you think LinkedIn will better help you get there? These should be the first questions you consider when customizing your LinkedIn profile. What you put on your profile should tailor to your goals and help you reach them. These goals should be a clear statement; what do I want and how will I get there? More importantly, they should be realizable. The people you will network and connect with want to see that you have aspirations and the dedication to reach those aspirations. Once this is defined, you can begin laying the groundwork for your profile.
2. Improve Your Visibility to Others
In order to start the path to achieving your career goals on LinkedIn, you need to be visible, frequent, and reachable. First and foremost, optimize your introduction card. This is the first part of your page that anyone will notice and where you will make the biggest impact. The introduction card has three parts: the profile picture, the cover picture, and the headline. Your profile picture should be a clear, professional, and mild. Based off this picture is how people will recognize and assess you. You want to appeal to others as easy-going but not unreliable, professional but not unapproachable. Your cover image should be a compliment to your page, not a centerpiece. Make it something more neutral but personalized to your life or work. The headline is where you can clearly state who you are and what you do.
The key is to make it short but make it meaningful with 120 characters. Make a statement about your job or field and how it pertains to you. Use words that you want to be recognized as. If your field is marketing, then you’ll want to include keywords that can be connected to the word “marketing”.
3. Post Quality and Consistent Content
The content you post will define yourself to those who view your page. Much like any other social media network, people want to see interesting things about yourself. The difference with LinkedIn is that you’ll want it to be professional as well. This doesn’t mean you should only post pictures of yourself shaking hands with a Fortune 500 CEO or how you accepted a new position at a company. Perhaps you attended a leadership seminar or committed your time to volunteer or even a discussion post. Vacation beach pictures in Cabo? Probably not. You will want the people who view your content to be interested and engaged.
However, along with being professional, coming off as approachable and human is important as well. Someone is more likely to want to meet and talk with you if they think they’ll get along with you. You’ll also want your content to reach out to a “target market”. This target market can be the demographic of recruiters in your field, clients, peers, or potential employees of your company. If your content can further your personal brand, then it is worth posting.
4. Connect, Connect, Connect
At this point, you have the infrastructure of your profile built. Now all that is left is connecting with peers. Connecting on LinkedIn is how you expand your network. The more connections you have, the more likely you are to encounter people who may have something to offer you. Are the people in your network successful? Notable? Experienced? People will often view the people in your network as a reflection of your own traits and personality, like other social media platforms.
However, just because you have a strong network does not mean you have a strong platform. Joining groups is also a great way to connect with new people and show that you are active in a diverse area of interest. When connecting with someone, it is often best to offer a reason to connect, not just for the sake of doing so. For example, perhaps you are both alumnus from the same school or had the same previous employer. This allows for something to talk over and lead into different areas of conversation. At this point you have everything in place to start the actual networking aspect of LinkedIn.