Linkedin: gaining extra value

We discover some tips for extracting additional value from LinkedIn to make sure you stand out in a crowded social media network

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LinkedIn is without question one the most important social media networks for professionals. With more than 300 million members, it’s the world’s largest professional network. An estimated 95% of recruiters also use the network to vet candidates.

The sheer number of users is perhaps its greatest asset, but they can also be pretty intimidating when it comes to standing out from the crowd. But don’t worry, beyond the obvious suggestion of adding a photo to your profile, there are a number of simple tips to ensure that you do.

Recommendations

LinkedIn displays recommendations prominently, so do take the time to ask clients and colleagues to recommend you. A number of positive recommendations can often be a deciding factor.

Katie Self, senior consultant at Michael Page Digital, says: ‘Recommendations mean that recruiters can see that your services are valued and that others have had positive experiences working with you. I trust these more than anything else. Testimonials endorsing your achievements play a big part in painting you as a desirable candidate.’

Targeted summary

The summary box in your profile needs to be targeted at the people you want to see it – recruiters and employers. This needs to explain why you are different and the value you can bring to an organisation. Make sure you include keywords that recruiters are likely to be searching for.

Search Engine Optimisation is very important on LinkedIn. Keywords should be repeated throughout your LinkedIn profile and professional summary, as recruiters often use that field for searches.

External sites to consider linking to:

  • Blog Link Application – Blog Link is an application for LinkedIn that you can use to display updates from your blog or website within your LinkedIn Profile.
  • Box.net – Box offers secure content management and collaboration for individuals, teams and businesses, enabling secure file sharing and access to your files online. It allows you to create links to files such as CVs and marketing kits.
  • Slideshare – LinkedIn SlideShare is a Web 2.0-based slide hosting service. Users can upload files privately or publicly in formats including PowerPoint and PDF.
  • Company Buzz – LinkedIn’s Company Buzz application is a tool that displays real-time tweets relating to your company (or other search term).

If you write an industry blog or use twitter in a useful way, link these to your profile. Employers want to see that you keep up-to-date with industry trends. Likewise, consider opportunities to get involved in forum debates, so long as you are considered before contributing.

Similarly, make sure you mention client wins, new recommendations, product or service launches, networking meetings you are attending and so on.

Refresh your profile

Recruiters and employers are always looking for evidence that you are keeping your LinkedIn profile active and up to date.

At the very least, try to update the content in your LinkedIn profile regularly by refreshing your profile at least once a quarter. You are more likely to show up in the LinkedIn updates if you regularly update your status and general profile.

Alex Miller, journalist

"Recommendations mean that recruiters can see that your services are valued and that others have had positive experiences working with you"