How to Use LinkedIn to Advance Your Career

Optimizing for LinkedIn

With more than 500 million members in over 200 countries, LinkedIn remains the top professional social network. It’s unique among the major social media players because it has a very specific user base: educated and affluent people who are already in a professional mindset and actively looking for solutions.  

So, how do we know that we are utilizing this powerful tool to the best of our ability?

Listen to the experts
The Houston Interactive Marketing Association (H/IMA) hosted a LinkedIn Optimization event with expert speaker Raissa Evans. The goal was to learn how to improve our LinkedIn profiles and to give us a better understanding of a platform that is vital to our business, focused on recruitment. The strategies presented revolved around the perspective of a potential candidate marketing themselves to potential employers.

Follow the leader
Always follow the LinkedIn prompts at the top of your page. If you have pieces missing from your profile, LinkedIn will not prioritize your profile compared to another completed profile. You can make the comparison with the Google algorithm – optimize your LinkedIn profile with the keywords that might be used by a potential employer. 

Keep it simple
Your headline should be short, sweet and to the point. Headlines should include your professional name, your title at your company and the company that you work for at the moment. Anything else is fluff and can throw off your readers. Be sure to include keywords related to your company and your role. If you are a copywriter with a title like “Creative Word Architect” just stick with “Copy Writer” for your title position. A hiring manager or potential contact is unlikely to search for a “Creative Word Architect”. Search algorithms like to work with exact phrases. Think about what a person is likely to type in when they search for someone with your position.

Save the fluff for Facebook
The “About yourself” paragraph is after the headline. Relate this paragraph back to your current role with relevant company information at the end. Only post topics of current professional relevance in this section. “About yourself” is the preview pane to your resume so use this space to market yourself with your accomplishments. Include any advancements that you have made within the company or any goals that you have met. Think of it as your elevator pitch. If you were to step in an elevator with a CEO what would you tell them about yourself? Do not include personal pieces (fluff), it is unprofessional and unnecessary.

Would you share with your CEO?
The bulk of your page includes your activities, articles that you post and articles that you share. It is imperative that the articles reflect how you want to appear as a professional. When sharing articles remember that LinkedIn is a business platform, so sharing posts on social, political and cute topics isn’t the point of this channel. All your network contacts can see your activity, the things you share, like and post so keep them relevant to your current company’s interests. Keep in mind that this is a tool for your professional self. What type of business conversations do you like to take part in? Will you appear to be an expert in your industry? Would you share that article with your CEO?

Neutral or nothing
You can share your personal business interests as long as they closely relate to your job. Topics like diversity and inclusion, corporate social responsibility and politics should remain neutral.  Keep a positive stance and refrain from getting into an online feud.

LinkedIn learnings
LinkedIn is a professional platform, so keep it professional. Complete everything that LinkedIn asks you to complete so that the platform works in your favor.  Do not include “fluffy” pieces that throw off your reader. Make your page easy for your targeted audience to understand. Keep in mind key words when you are writing your copy to help LinkedIn prioritize your profile. LinkedIn is the window of your resume so make sure it is organized, concise and professional.