Lewis Howes is a former professional athlete, world record holder in football, and author of the LinkedIn book, LinkedWorking. He is the founder of the Sports Executives Association, and the popular sports and social media blog SportsNetworker.com.
LinkedIn () is one of the best places online to find a job, period. It’s also a great place to connect with top decision makers, generate targeted leads for your business, drive traffic to your website, and more.
I hear countless stories every week from people who land amazing full time positions at great companies thanks to engagement on LinkedIn. Although there are a number of approaches you can take when hunting for the right job, start with these 13 important tips for using LinkedIn effectively.
1. Complete Your Profile 100%
If someone is thinking about hiring you for a position, he or she is going run a Google () search for your first and last name. For many, a LinkedIn profile will rank in the top five results. This gives you a certain level of control in showcasing your best talents with your profile. Make sure your profile is 100% complete, and position yourself as an expert in your niche.
A profile that is only 55% complete, without recommendations and an updated work history may not make a solid first impression when people find you through search.
2. Add a Compelling Headline
Your headline is the first thing potential employers and hiring managers will see after your name. First impressions are an important aspect of the interview process, and this holds true for your LinkedIn profile as well.
Be clear and to the point with your headline. Try to tell people who you are, what you do, and how you can help them in as few words as possible. This simple step will help you stand out from many other LinkedIn profiles.
3. Add All Past and Current Work Positions
It’s important to include where you have worked in the past and where you are currently working. Obviously, the more work experience you can list, the better. You never know which position will earn you the respect of the hiring manager and give you the edge you need to land the job.
There’s always a chance the hiring manager has worked at one of your previous companies, or has hired other professionals from that company. Situations like this may help you get the job security you are seeking.
4. Give and Receive Recommendations
On your traditional resume, you are supposed to have a limited amount of recommendations. However, on your LinkedIn profile, the more people who can vouch for you, the better.
If you only have two recommendations on LinkedIn, most people won’t take your profile seriously. It’s unfortunate, because there are a number of qualified and experienced professionals who aren’t active on the network. This can hurt their reputation. Remember, in the online world, perception is reality. If people believe that no one will recommend you because there are no visible signs of approval displayed on your profile, why would they want to hire you?
The best way to receive recommendations is to give them first. The more you give on LinkedIn, the more you will receive. Take some time to write a few recommendations for those you know, like, and trust, and a majority of them will write you one in return.
5. Connect With Everyone
There are some on LinkedIn who believe you should only connect with a small percentage of professionals you know and trust. Others say (including myself) you should connect with everyone, even if you vaguely know them.
When looking for a job, you never know who will be able to recommend you, or who is looking for someone to fill a position where you would be a perfect fit.
When connecting with others, make sure you always send a personalized message. This doesn’t have to be an essay, but make sure you mention why you are connecting or how you know one another. Also ask if there is anything you can do to assist them. By offering your services to help, this breaks down any initial barriers and gives others another reason why they should hire you.
6. Be Concise in Your Message
When you communicate through your LinkedIn profile, structure it in a way that will help people clearly understand you and what you are after. There are three main components:
Provide a preview so people know what comes next
- In your headline give them the intro to who you are and what you are all about.
Give them the facts
- Let people know who you are by injecting your personality into your work experiences, your summary, your specialties, and in how you help people.
Summarize and reinforce your message
- Finish up strong by adding in your honors, awards, personal websites and case studies. Provide a call to action on how to connect with you and ways to follow up if they want to learn more.
7. Stay Active
I believe half the battle of finding a job is simply letting others know you are alive. There are so many resumes being submitted to open positions that it can be tough to break through sometimes. Luckily, LinkedIn works in your favor if you are active and constantly engage within the community.
Each time you take action on LinkedIn, it shows up on the home page of everyone you are connected to. The more people see your picture, read you name, and check out the compelling content you are delivering, the more likely they are to think of you when a position opens up. Stay active, and the opportunities will be much more abundant than if you don’t participate at all.
8. Join Niche Groups
Groups are a great way to find a position because they have built-in job boards with new jobs being added on a regular basis. Some groups have tens of thousands of decision makers within them. As a member, you are able to send a message to almost every person without having to upgrade to a premium account. LinkedIn also has a great advanced search function, and once you find who you want to connect with, you can often message them directly through mutual groups without actually needing to be connected.
9. Create a Group
Being a group owner has many advantages. It allows you to send messages once per week to all the members, and you are perceived more as a decision maker and thought leader. Start attracting potential employers as opposed to seeking them out all of the time.
10. Add Your Honors and Awards
Including honors and awards is just another way to increase your value to potential hiring managers. Employers want to hire winners, and those who know how to excel. Be sure to show them what you are made of, and post everything relevant to your success in your past work history.
11. Answer Questions
This is a great way for job seekers to showcase their talents and expertise and stand out from the crowd. It’s also valuable to entrepreneurs and business owners for gathering leads.
Add the ‘Answers’ widget on the right-hand side of your LinkedIn home page with the industry topic you know the most about. When you see a question pop up that you can answer, make sure you give your two cents and provide as much information and value in your answers as possible. The more you give to and serve others, the more job opportunities will come your way.
12. Import Your Blog and Twitter Feeds
Simply connect with your Twitter profile and check the box to make sure your tweets are syndicated to LinkedIn. This will save time and make it look like you are more active on LinkedIn as well.
Adding your blog to your LinkedIn profile is a no-brainer. This not only drives organic traffic back to your site, but showcases your regular activities and expertise.
13. Connect Others
I’m a big fan of connecting people. Whenever I see someone with a certain career need, I try to think of the right people I can introduce them to. I want to create a mutually beneficial gain for each party.
The more I do this, the more career opportunities come my way. When you help two people without asking for anything in return, you leave a lasting impression on all involved. This will help amplify your own job prospects, as people will be more likely to help you achieve your goals in the future.
Don’t get discouraged if you don’t immediately see results. Effectively building your LinkedIn presence and online network won’t happen overnight. Remember these tips, and start to actively engage. Take action, be consistent, and you’ll soon be exploring a wealth of new professional networking opportunities.