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10 Ways To Become A LinkedIn All-Star

10 Ways To Become A LinkedIn All-Star

I’ve been using LinkedIn for six years now and am the type to always keep my profile up to date. I actually became so obsessed with it that at one point in my university career, I was delivering talks on how to best make use of the world’s largest online professional network. Here’s a list of 10 surefire ways to help you leverage LinkedIn and take your professional profile, job search efforts and personal brand to another level.

1. Spice up your profile and Summary

Your LinkedIn profile will tell a lot about you as a professional. To make the most of it, devote some to keeping it updated and ensuring you have all the relevant sections of your profile completed. Adding courses you’ve taken or organizations you’re a part of is great, but the real meat and potatoes of your profile lies within the positions you’ve held and your profile summary.

When listing each of your roles on your profile, ensure that the dates are correct and your job title is accurately displayed and aligned to your resume. Considering you have quite a bit more room to describe your positions, work on including a few sentences about what each of your roles entailed and your major job responsibilities, followed by a few bullet points (no more than five) on some of your key achievements in the role.

The key to successfully writing out your bullet statements is to make them achievement-oriented. Follow the formula “Achieved %/$ increase in X by doing X”. An example of this might be: “Helped the business unit realize an additional $25,000 in cost savings by performing a cost-benefit analysis of various accounting softwares and implementing XYZ.”

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Your profile’s Summary is an opportunity for you to add some personality to your LinkedIn page and grab your reader’s attention. Rather than simply providing an endless list of what you’ve accomplished throughout your career, think of your Summary a a personalized elevator pitch. Here are some things to consider when writing your Summary:

  • Who: Briefly mention a sentence or two about yourself; what your career has entailed and some of the positions you’ve held. If you’ve worked for large organizations, this is your opportunity to put them on display.
  • What: What makes you special; what are you known for and what are some of your most noticeable career accomplishments?
  • Something personal: Towards the end of your summary, mention some of your interests and what you like to do outside of your 9-5 – no one wants to hire a robot.
  • Use key/buzzwords: Your summary is an opportunity for you to attract recruiters by infusing buzzwords associated with your particular position, skill set and industry.

Here’s an additional resource to help you craft the perfect profile Summary.

2. Harness the power of Advanced Search

LinkedIn_Advanced_Search_Operators_Example_Search_1

    LinkedIn’s Advanced Search is the ultimate professional creeping tool. Within seconds, you have the ability to find specific members (say, recruiters, managers, etc.), companies, groups and a host of other options to help you build your network and refine your job search prospects. When it comes to job searching in particular, you have the ability to search by Company, Date Posted, Job Function, Industry and Experience Level. This is how I’ve typically reach out to recruiters for jobs I was interested in applying to and did it ever make a difference! One of the best advanced job search features is the ability to narrow your results based on your desired salary range. Although this feature requires you to upgrade to a LinkedIn Premium account, I would suggest using one of LinkedIn’s periodic 30-day free trial offers to explore the full range of features available and see if you’d like to continue with the account after the trial period expires.

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    3. Reach out to recruiters

    Reaching out to recruiters and hiring managers is a key method to helping you personalize your cover letter (e.g. “Dear John Smith” vs. “Dear Hiring Manager”) and distinguish yourself from hundred’s of potential competitors for a particular position. Often, when you pull up a position from LinkedIn’s Job Board, a thumbnail with the posting recruiter’s profile is shown in the top-right corner of the posting’s page. This is your opportunity to reach out to the recruiter and make an impression. Connecting with them and keeping in touch with them throughout the hiring process is a great method of setting yourself apart from others.

    4. Choose your connections wisely

    Do you remember seeing the term “LION” next to people’s names on LinkedIn? My personal opinion is that it’s better to make meaningful connections (quality) rather than simply amassing contacts that may be of some future benefit to you (quantity). Who you connect with will affect how people view you as a professional on LinkedIn. For example, if you’re connecting with recruiter after recruiter, it’s a good sign to your profile’s audience that you may be looking for a new job. Make it a point to connect with people you have at least met at some point recently, not someone who you were vaguely introduced to by a friend of a friend 10 months ago. People who you know to some extent will be better-aligned to your industry, skill set and will be in a better position to help you because of a somewhat personal connection you have with them.

    5. Post relevant articles and share your thoughts

    What you post on LinkedIn says a lot about you, and is a great a way for you to engage your LinkedIn connections and beyond about subjects/topics you think are fascinating and important. This is a great way to build your professional image. I regularly post quotes on LinkedIn and have even been fortunate to receive personal messages commending me on my posts. In addition, sharing your thoughts on your connections’ posts and the content posted by companies you follow is a great way to get noticed and possibly build meaningful connections.

    6. Give MEANINGFUL recommendations

    There’s a few parts to this:

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    1) Providing recommendations for connections you’ve worked with in the past is very important. Although it’s always great to receive recommendations for your work, don’t get into the habit of being stingy and only providing recommendations for people who have recommended you. One of my LinkedIn pet peeves is someone who messages me saying “Hey, could you write a recommendation for me? I’ll write you one in return.” To me, that really shows that the person is not interested in actually writing me a sincere recommendation and just wants to liven up their own wall. If you really think someone you know or have worked with in the past has done good work – let everyone know about it. Remember – what goes around comes around; perhaps if you unselfishly write a great recommendation for someone, someone else will randomly recommend you as well.

    2) I absolutely despise when someone writes me a useless recommendation, such as “Mustafa was a great addition to our team.” This doesn’t tell say anything about my contributions and skill set. For all you know, all I did was buy my team cupcakes everyday. If you’re writing a recommendation for someone, put a little effort into writing something for them – even if it’s only a few sentences. Talk about what they contributed to the work environment, what they achieved and your general thoughts on them as an individual.

    3) Don’t just ask any random connection for a recommendation, or someone you worked with a really long time ago on a project that neither of you really remember. The key is always always always quality. Ask people who you’ve worked closely with on projects to recommend you, because they understand your work and what you’ve contributed better than anyone else. This might be a coworker, manager, director, etc. This will really make your profile stand out and others are sure to take notice of what you can bring to their organization.

    7. Send personalized invitation messages

    Oh, how I absolutely hate the default “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn” invite message I get from almost everyone who adds me on LinkedIn.

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    Writing a customized LinkedIn invitation message is a great way to help you distinguish yourself from competition when you’re applying to a particular job, or you’re trying to remind someone of who you are after you met them and subsequently decided to connect with them on LinkedIn. I’ve seen many of my own friends send generic invite messages to recruiters. Unsurprisingly, those messages never got any replies and most of the time, the recruiters declined their invitation to connect. I would say I’ve had about a 95% success rate in receiving responses to tailored invite messages. When you take the time to write something thoughtful, people will recognize that and are more likely to respond to your requests and questions. Use tailored invite messages to begin conversations with people, inquire into a particular job role’s responsibilities and to get your foot in the door by mentioning how you are different from the 247 applicants who just applied to the same job you did.

    8. Customize your public profile URL

    2015-01-25_19-17-18

      There’s not much to say here, except that I really like that we have the option to customize our LinkedIn profile’s URL. It’s a particular useful feature when you want to include your profile’s LinkedIn on your personal website and or neatly on your resume.

      9. Use LinkedIn’s job board

      2015-01-25_19-25-06

        I find LinkedIn’s job board is heavily underutilized and unappreciated, although it has some of the highest quality job postings and filtering options available for job seekers. There are plenty of job boards with great job postings and opportunities. Often, you’ll see the same postings from other websites also listed on LinkedIn. However, there are a few added perks to using LinkedIn’s job board:

        • A ton of filtering options (see the above screenshot)
        • The ability to save searches
        • Thumbnails of who posted a particular job, which gives you the opportunity to connect with and reach out to the job’s poster
        • The ability to look for jobs worldwide, rather than having to look at country-specific postings. Basically, the world’s job opportunities are at the tips of your fingers.

        10. Take advantage of free profile upgrades

        Every now and then, LinkedIn will send you a 30-day free trial to upgrade to a Premium account. It is absolutely loaded with awesome features that will really help you get noticed by employers and give your job searching efforts a huge boost. 30 days is an ample amount of time to discover all the features available to you and try them out, so after your month is up, you can then decide if you’d like to continue. Even if you don’t see yourself using the product for an extended period of time, you can at least use it to help you with your job search efforts until you’ve landed a role.

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        Last Updated on April 17, 2019

        10 Essential Soft Skills That Will Help Advance Your Career

        10 Essential Soft Skills That Will Help Advance Your Career

        What’s the secret of professional success? Some of it lies in the mastery of your discipline and all the technical skills you have to carry out your job; but a much bigger part lies in the soft skills list you possess.

        Soft skills are your people or relationship skills—how well you get along with others and your ability to communicate and collaborate—as well as the personal characteristics you bring to the job, such as optimism, a can-do attitude and the motivation to work hard. These skills are not always easy to point out, but their absence can cause serious problems and negatively affect the whole work atmosphere.

        They say that hard skills will help you get the job, but soft skills will help you get along—and get ahead. With that in mind, here’s the top-10 essential soft skills list to help you advance your career.

        1. Communication Skills

        Communication skills are hands-down the most sought-after soft skill that bosses want, and this one ability covers a lot of ground.

        To communicate well, you have to listen carefully, interpret the context of the conversation, express yourself clearly, persuade others of your point of view, check your body language and use an engaging presentation style that won’t intimidate or bore your audience. That’s a big ask!

        Your personality traits can influence the way you communicate with others. For instance, some people get straight to the point and center their arguments around facts and logic; others are cooperative and sensitive to how others feel. Both these approaches are equally valuable but there can be misunderstandings if you don’t understand where the other person is coming from.

        Taking a comprehensive personality test can help you understand why you communicate the way you do and where your blind spots are. It can also help you understand other communication styles is so you can tailor your communication to the person you’re dealing with.

        After all, connecting with your conversation partner is the hallmark of good communication.

        2. Flexibility

        Change is an essential part of any business. Companies need employees who are flexible enough to work with new initiatives, open to new ideas, and generally are able to tough it out when things don’t go as planned.

        Research has found a link between job performance and flexibility over the long term because there will be times when you have to step outside your routine and rise to fresh challenges that didn’t exist before.

        Being flexible doesn’t mean you have to hop into a new task or job role like an expert. Rather, it’s about showing you’re willing to accept new responsibility and learn different things.

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        Bosses look for people who are prepared to step outside their comfort zones and are open to alternative solutions when their first idea doesn’t work.

        3. Being a Team Player

        Working on a team can be challenging but learning to do it well can definitely help you get ahead in your career. Employers look for people who can negotiate, cooperate and manage conflicts with other people to achieve a common goal. That includes the ability to build lasting relationships with customers and clients.

        What makes a good team player? Essentially, it’s someone who knows the goal and knows her role. Employers look for evidence that you know your strengths, your responsibilities and how you can best contribute to the team, then put those skills into action by sharing ideas and communicating in a respectful manner. That’s the definition of being a good team player.

        This is another area where taking a personality test can help you get ahead. When teams work together, each member brings a unique set of skills and qualities to the group. Research has shown that different combinations of personalities affect how teams collaborate and how productive they are.

        Knowing who you are, and how you work on a team, can drive new insights and open the door to better teamwork.

        4. Positive Mental Attitude

        There are plenty of things you can’t change at work, like the people you work with or the fact that the printer is broken again. The one thing you can change is how much you let these things bother you.

        Bosses like people who are calm, rational and upbeat—those who diffuse tensions in the workplace, not get all grouchy and go around slamming doors.

        Studies show that people who maintain a sunny disposition have better relationships at work, are happier in their jobs and make better decisions than those who whine and complain. Some suggest that a positive mental attitude can also make you live longer—which means it’s beneficial for every area of your life![1]

        It’s not always easy to keep a “glass half full” mentality when work is stressful and the deadlines are piling up. But there are some things you can do to help maintain a positive attitude. Laughing at your unfortunate circumstances keeps the work environment positive, and taking “sanity” breaks can help you keep your cool in high-pressure situations.

        Managers look for positive mental attitude in a team member that is ready for a promotion, so it really does pay to keep your cool in challenging situations.

        5. A Strong Work Ethic

        People with a strong work ethic are committed to the role, persevere when things get tough and are inspired by challenge. These people are ambassadors for the organization, and will always be seen as top talent and ideal candidates.

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        If you can exhibit this skill, then expect to be seen as a great candidate, eligible for new opportunities and positions throughout your career.

        Since a strong work ethic can mean different things to different people, it helps to show specific examples of your exceptional work ethic during a performance appraisal or interview. For instance, you might talk about:

        • A time when you persisted in the face of challenges and did not shy away from hard work.
        • How you volunteered to help with projects even though these tasks did not form part of your job description.
        • The networking, workplace learning and skills betterment you’ve undertaken, which shows ambition and drive (people with a strong work ethic have those qualities in spades).
        • How you own your mistakes and never, ever point the finger of blame at others.

        For help with building a strong work ethic, check out these tips: How to Build a Reliable Work Ethic

        6. Public Speaking

        Who’s terrified of public speaking? Pretty much everyone, since public speaking is America’s number one fear, ahead of death at number five and loneliness at number seven.

        Yet, according to Warren Buffett, mastering this one skill you could increase your personal value by 50 percent.[2] That’s huge!

        If you’re not natural at public speaking, you’re in good company. Buffett had to work hard to overcome his stage fright and once dropped out of a public-speaking course before it started—because he was afraid of public speaking! He eventually realized that he needed to build up his confidence by just doing it; over and over in front of small groups.

        For a more structured approach, Toastmasters International teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a variety of pathways. Membership of this non-profit looks good on your resume but the real payoff will come when you can put your newfound skills to use on the job or in the interview room.

        Or, you can check out this advice: The Ultimate Public Speaking Tips to Hook and Impress Any Audience

        7. Integrity

        From a manager’s point of view, the two integrity skills that will set you apart are:

        • Always doing what you say you will do
        • Owning an error instead of minimizing or hiding it

        …even when no one is around to check up on you.

        There are lots of people who have climbed the ladder without scruples, but they are not the people who others trust, respect and support when promotion time comes around.

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        Behaving with integrity is a safe and consistent way to enhance your reputation and achieve your professional goals.

        8. Managing Your Time

        Phone calls, texts, Slack pings, meetings, huddles, side projects, multitasking—we are busier today than any generation before us. There’s no denying the workplace is an incredibly distracting place to be.

        A lot of us have traded effectiveness for busyness which we wear as a badge of honor, both as a proxy for productivity and to show our value to the company. But what bosses want, what they really, really want, is someone who actually gets stuff done on time.

        Time management is not merely the art of being on time, but of managing your time so you focus on the projects that really matter and add value to the business. This means prioritizing well, sticking to schedules, delegating, and not getting distracted by tasks that are easier to perform or less important. It means planning ahead and learning when it’s appropriate to say no.

        Time management can be a tough skill to maintain, but not a difficult one to pick up. Monitor your actions for a few days—how long do your tasks take to finish? What’s interrupting you? What causes you to lose focus? Once you have the answers to these questions, you can set a schedule for yourself to make sure you’re spending your time wisely and this valuable asset is never wasted.

        These 20 Quick Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity are also great to try.

        9. Assertiveness

        In any workplace, you typically will find people with the following conflict styles:

        • Passive: Those who go out of their way to avoid conflict.
        • Passive-aggressive: Those who express their negative feelings through actions rather than words.
        • Aggressive: Those who respond to conflict in a hostile and rude manner. These people get their opinion heard but they won’t make any friends in the process.
        • Assertive: People who stick up for their rights while still respecting the rights of others.

        Managers look for assertiveness above all other styles because it allows decisions to be made without conflict or alienating people.

        How do you use this information for yourself?

        It starts with understanding your personality so you can anticipate how you will react when conflict arises and address your own shortcomings. Then, you can start influencing the team for top results, and securing your own career advancement in the process.

        Learn how to be assertive and gain respect:

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        How to Be Assertive and Stand up for Yourself the Smart Way

        10. Creative Thinking

        LinkedIn recently analyzed over 50,000 skills that employers search for when looking for candidates to find out what skills are currently in demand.[3] Taking the number-one slot on the 2019 soft skills list was creativity: the ability to solve problems and think outside the box.

        Creativity is about bringing fresh, and sometimes unorthodox, ideas to the table. This helps companies to innovate, and companies that do not innovate will not survive very long.

        How do you showcase your creative thinking skills? The golden rule is to participate.

        Be brave and share your ideas during group brainstorming sessions. Volunteer to run a society, networking event or recruitment drive. Ask “what if” questions: “What if we add this information to the client welcome pack?” “What if we eliminate step 3 from the process?”

        These activities demonstrate that you’re prepared to go beyond “business as usual” towards creative problem solving—an ability that will serve you every day, all throughout your career.

        You can learn to unleash your creativity power:

        What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

        Final Thoughts

        The good news? Every item on this soft skills list can be learned. Although you may feel lacking in certain areas, taking an inventory of your strengths and weaknesses will allow you to focus in on the areas that you’ll benefit from developing.

        So take an inventory of your personality, skills, and talents. This will give you a baseline for your communication style, attitude to change, conscientiousness and more. You can then identify your weak areas and develop strategies for improving your team-building, assertiveness and conflict skills.

        The better news? The effort is worth it. Developing your soft skills opens the door to a new job or a promotion, and helps you succeed once you get there.

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        Featured photo credit: Rachael Gorjestani via unsplash.com

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