By Bob McIntosh
To land a job now, you will need to have a strong LinkedIn profile.
And, that profile needs to clearly brand you.
But is a strong, well-branded LinkedIn profile enough?
According to four LinkedIn experts it is not.
I asked asked Hannah Morgan, Kevin Turner, Jessica Hernandez, and Andy Foote for their insights and received answers ranging from the importance of search engine optimization (SEO) to building a strong network and engaging with your network.
Before I share the experts' advice, let's start with the basics -- branding yourself with your LinkedIn profile. This will always be important.
Job seekers will have to put more effort into writing content for not only SEO, but content that resonates with hiring authorities.
Yet great content won't be enough:
Ensure that all of these elements consistently support your brand.
Gone are the days when your profile was seen simply as an online resume. Also gone are the days when your profile sat on the Internet waiting for hiring authorities to find you.
Now, with more than 722 million members in LinkedIn (December, 2020), you must be more proactive to be found.
This means that, as a job seeker, you also need to consider multiple components of your LinkedIn visibility, not simply your profile.
Many resist getting more involved in their LinkedIn presence, and this resistance to developing a focused network and engaging with their network is human nature, because it takes hard work. But doesn't being successful take hard work?
To discover which LinkedIn trends you should follow in the future, I asked these four renowned LinkedIn experts their thoughts on this topic. Each of them offer valuable advice:
Having an updated and robust profile is important, but posting, sharing, and commenting on LinkedIn will generate attention to your profile faster. In fact, posting updates on LinkedIn almost guarantees more people will view your profile.
LinkedIn users interact with content from peers and colleagues more than influencers or organizations. So what you share will get noticed.
Post information and topics most important to your network and potential fellow colleagues.
According to LinkedIn’s 2017 Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide, these are the topics users care about:
Here are some more tips to keep in mind when posting on LinkedIn:
There’s another reason to be active and positive on LinkedIn. Everything you like, comment, share or articles you’ve written are visible to anyone who looks at your profile.
Your activity shows the topics you are interested in, your communication style, and that you know how to use LinkedIn. You can see anyone’s Activity section, so go check it out. If they haven’t liked, commented or shared anything in 90 days, you won’t see any activity.
However, if they have been active, you can see all their likes, comments, and shares.
At the end of the day, being active on LinkedIn by commenting and sharing articles relevant to your field helps people understand your career interests and calls attention to your professional reputation and personal brand. When people see your photo and headline along with the career-related updates you share, it puts you top-of-mind.
Back in 2005, I remember joining LinkedIn as one of its first Million Members in the US. Then in 2011, the membership hit 100M globally, and now we are entering this new decade 675M+ members strong. It makes sense that being found on this platform is more challenging than ever.
Remember the most valued Social Currency is based on the Gold Standards of Authentic Sharing, Caring, and Reciprocity.
The power of LinkedIn resides in building relationships and engaging with your connections.
Liking, commenting, and starting conversations is the best way to engage not only with colleagues but also with hiring managers, decision-makers, and those on your "get to know" list.
I’ve found that most people don’t actively network on LinkedIn until they’re in job-search mode, but that’s when you should already have a strong foundation in place. You don’t have to wait until you want to make a career move to start engaging on LinkedIn.
In fact, it’s better if you start now.
Admire a few companies? Dream of being on their team one day? Follow those companies on LinkedIn now, look for connections employed by those companies, and start engaging with their posts.
Research who the hiring managers and decision-makers are within the company and request to connect with them. You can start building relationships long before asking for help in a job search.
Not foreseeing a career move anytime soon? That’s OK. It’s still important to connect and engage on LinkedIn. Many of the relationships I have with others in my industry started by liking their posts, following their work, and adding to the conversation.
Make it a goal to invest 10-15 minutes on LinkedIn every day engaging with people instead of just scrolling through the feed.
I have three predictions for your LinkedIn campaign: Video. Causality. Hashtags.
When it comes to putting yourself out there and doing everything to be noticed, it is hard not to imagine a time when the About section will be a video. Whether that happens in 2021 or 2025, I don’t know.
I think LinkedIn users do not care about LinkedIn profile visits as much as they care about whether those visitors took action as a direct result of something they saw (or read) on their profile page or elsewhere on LinkedIn.
The missing link on LinkedIn is, and has been for a while, causality. What causes people to take action on LinkedIn? That’s the holy grail.
People "browsed" me. OK. So what? Most of the time LinkedIn does not even show the route they took (80% of my profile browsers don’t come via Homepage, via LinkedIn Search, via LinkedIn Profile, via People similar to you, via Messaging, via Groups, via Other).
Seriously, what the heck is “Other” and how does that help me? So, I predict that LinkedIn will figure out a way to provide meaningful browser route data, hopefully soon. We are more or less operating blind without knowing this.
LinkedIn is 100% invested in hashtags. I think they are incredibly powerful, and we are just scratching the surface in terms of potential.
Hashtags plus analytics equals a new, efficient, and intelligent way of branding and content distribution.
Imagine a "hashtag dashboard" where you can see clicks live, time on page, and re-shares. I am thinking bit.ly combined with Google analytics, in a LinkedIn wrapper. Exciting, yes?
Here you have it; all LinkedIn experts agree that content is not enough when it comes to your LinkedIn campaign. Yes, it is important, but so is being more proactive in developing a focused network and engaging with your network.
Let's recap. To have a stronger LinkedIn campaign, you will need to:
Bob McIntosh, CPRW, is a career and LinkedIn trainer who leads more than 17 job search workshops at an urban career center. He also critiques LinkedIn profiles and conducts mock interviews. His greatest pleasure is helping people find rewarding careers in a competitive job market. Selected by LinkedIn as one of 10 "Top Voices for Job Search and Careers," follow Bob on LinkedIn. Visit his blog at ThingsCareerRelated.com. Follow Bob on Twitter: @bob_mcintosh_1, and connect with him on LinkedIn.
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