“Are you on LinkedIn?”
Have you heard this question before?
LinkedIn now has around 690 million users across 200 countries. If you’re not utilising the world’s largest professional networking platform, then you’re missing out.
This article seeks to give you a good understanding of what LinkedIn is and how to make the most of it’s huge user base for business networking. It’s a great career tool, and it can help you connect with other professional, colleagues and even potential employers.
What is LinkedIn?
LinkedIn is a social networking website, like Facebook. Where it differs from Facebook, is its focus is on work, not play. So, instead of being a social network in the traditional sense, it is a professional network, designed to help people to:
- Connect with other people working in the same, or similar fields.
- Discover professional opportunities and potential jobs/promotions.
- Get industry updates and access the latest industry news, insight and inspiration.
- Get noticed and promote their business, expertise or freelance work.
- Stay in-touch with colleagues.
You won’t find photos of people’s lunch or Friday night celebrations on LinkedIn. People don’t generally share personal, non-job related things on the site. Instead, it is purely professional, with its tag line being “The social networking site for professionals”.
Why you should join
The simple answer is jobs, industry news and networking: a powerful professional trio!
Currently LinkedIn has over 400 million users across the world. It is becoming a website where people not only find jobs, but are actively hunted by recruiters looking to fill positions.
Setting yourself up on LinkedIn can really help you get ahead in your career. It’s simple to do, and easy to maintain. You may only check the site once a week, or even once a month.
How to create your LinkedIn profile
Setting yourself up
- Head to the LinkedIn website at https://www.linkedin.com
- At the top of the first page you will see a ‘Join LinkedIn Today’ section. Here you will need to enter your first and last name, and your email address. Once you have done this click the ‘Continue’ button underneath your details.
- The next couple of pages will ask you to enter some basic information, like what country you live in, your current employment status, the industry you work in and a password for your account. Fill this in and make sure that you double check everything is correct before you click to continue.
- LinkedIn will then direct you to a page where you will confirm your email and allow the site to import your address book. By importing your email address book LinkedIn helps you to start making professional connections with people you already know.
- Next, head to your inbox, find the email from LinkedIn and confirm your address by clicking on the link in the email.
- You will be redirected to LinkedIn. Here you will find LinkedIn has matched the contacts in your email address book, with its members.
- Click on all the people that you want to add to your LinkedIn network. They will all receive a Contact Request from you. If they choose to connect with you, they will be added to your network.
Choosing a photo
This is an important step. Don’t leave your photo space blank. Statistics show that people who don’t add a LinkedIn profile photo, are much less likely to get noticed by recruiters.
So, when choosing a photo, remember you want to look professional. Don’t post a picture of yourself in swimwear holding a cocktail on your latest holiday. Don’t pick an image that features other people either. Pick a photo that will represent who you are as a professional.
Once you have uploaded your photo, you can move on to filling out your profile.
Your professional profile
There are several sections that will make up your profile. As you fill them in, keep in mind what you want to get out of LinkedIn and tailor your answers with that goal in mind.
To add information to these sections, hover your mouse over them until a small pencil icon appears, then click on the icon.
Located at the top of your profile page, beside your profile picture, your headline gives you 120 characters with which to grab people’s attention.
If you do not fill this in, LinkedIn will automatically take your job title and current employer details and pop them in the headline.
But your best bet is to fill this section in. It helps to grab attention, and make you stand out from the crowd.
Start with who you are: your professional title (Personal Trainer, Nursing Assistant, Food and Beverage Manager).
Move on to who you are targeting: (helps clients to increase their fitness and strength; who works to improve clients’ lives; helps with the efficient running of services).
Finish by providing proof of your expertise: (Nationally certified by TAFE NSW North Region, Accredited by Integrated Care & Management Training; Clients include Surry Hills Café).
- Personal Trainer who helps clients to increase their fitness and strength. Nationally certified by TAFE NSW North Region.
- Nursing Assistant who works to improve clients’ lives. Accredited by Integrated Care & Management Training.
- Food and Beverage Manager who helps with the efficient running of services. Clients include Surry Hills Café.
Your LinkedIn summary falls below your profile picture and headline, and is vital in demonstrating your value to businesses. Here, you have 2,000 characters with which to sell your skills and expertise.
Your best bet is to divide your summary into 5 paragraphs.
Start with who you are and the work that you do.
E.g. “I’m a Personal Trainer with two years’ professional experience training a range of clients from athletes to stay-at-home parents.
“I have worked within the Harvey’s Gym chain, as well as freelance training clients in their homes, local parks and beaches”.
Now you want to move into what your current work is.
E.g. “Currently I start my days at 6am, putting a group of executives through their paces, with a brisk 5km run and stretching session.
“After providing them with individual feedback on their progress, and answering any questions or concerns, I move on to Harvey’s Gym where I motivate groups of 30+ people to push their limits in high energy classes including Body Pump, Body Combat and Athletic.
“From here, I head out to the beaches where I take two afternoon and sunset yoga classes on the sand, encouraging clients to stretch out, build lean and flexible bodies, and find centre and calm.
Next, you want to provide concrete examples of some of your work successes.
E.g. “Recently I coached a client with no exercise experience to run a half marathon over 12 weeks. They completed the race in just under 2 hours!
“I also helped a client who was looking down the barrel of shoulder surgery, to strengthen their muscles and gain back mobility, thus avoiding the need to go under the knife.
“Over my two-year career I have also helped my PT clients shed a total of 3,000 kilos, and that’s not including those in my Harvey’s Gym classes!”
The next step is to them know a bit about you, and how you work.
E.g. “I am a creative, motivated and caring trainer. I don’t believe in a one-size-fits-all fitness approach. People are different, and every person should have a fitness plan that works with their style, physical capabilities and goals.
“I work to understand clients both physically and mentally, so that I can tailor make fitness plans to fit them and ensure they reach their goals.”
Lastly, you want to pop in your relevant qualifications and contact details.
E.g. “I have a nationally-recognised Certificate IV in Fitness from Open Colleges.”
“Currently, I combine freelance PT services with Harvey’s Gym work, and I can be reached at (include your email or phone number here).”
This is where you pop in your work experience. It’s best not to copy and paste from your resume, you want to demonstrate your value in a unique way.
To do this, list a challenge you faced and how you solved it, as well as what you achieved.
E.g. Title: Group Class Trainer, Harvey’s Gym
“I joined Harvey’s Gym when the company was struggling to fill its daytime group classes. Tackling this problem head on, I began to chat to gym members around the club, building relationships, helping them with a few of their training issues and telling them of the benefits of the daytime classes.
“Within two weeks class numbers shot up, and now seven months later, most day classes I lead have a wait-list.”
Here you can enter your education experience. Include:
- Any tertiary or Certificate courses that you have completed towards your career. If it is not relevant to your job, then it’s best to leave it out.
- The institutions where you studied.
This section is where recommendations from your LinkedIn connections are displayed. It’s best to get one or two recommendations on here.
Below, you’ll see LinkedIn’s guide to requesting a recommendation:
- Head to your profile and click the down arrow to the right of the button near your profile picture.
- Click Ask to be recommended from the drop-down menu.
- Follow the prompts to request the recommendation.
- Click Send.
This section allows you to choose your areas of expertise from a list. Only select skills which you actually have, as this will make you look more credible. Try not to throw your net too wide, keep in mind what jobs you want to get, and focus on skills which match that job.
Connections in your LinkedIn network can endorse your skills. What this means is that they can go through your skills list and publicly endorse you for particular skills.
So there you have it! Your complete beginner’s guide to setting yourself up on LinkedIn. Whether you check-in once a month, once a week or once a day, it is a great way to learn about job opportunities, network and stay in touch with the latest industry updates!