Updating your LinkedIn profile is one of the first things you’re likely to do when you’re ready to start looking for a new job. But the social networking site isn’t just for job hunting. It also helps you stay current on developments in your field.
People who build a large audience of followers on social media are called thought leaders because they shape the dialogue on key topics. Becoming a leader on LinkedIn not only makes people aware of your job skills, but it also makes them aware of the success of your company and can help attract other talented employees.
Megan Golden, group manager for global content marketing for LinkedIn, recently shared with AARP her tips on how to produce a winning profile that will help you attract followers and build influence. “By taking these tips, you’re not going to have the vanilla profile. You’re going to have a profile that potentially is going to stand above the rest,” Golden says.
1. Rock your profile
One key to drawing attention to your profile is to make sure it includes your picture. But don’t feel that you need to set up a shoot with a photographer. “You don’t necessarily need a professional head shot,” Golden says. “Given how good cameras are on our mobile devices, you could easily have a colleague snap a picture of you at work with a simple background. Or if you have any experience speaking at events, often there are photographers there you could retrieve photos from of you onstage.”
Golden also points out that even though many people use their most recent job title as the headline for their profile, you should feel free to be creative with yours. “You’re not defined by your [job] title; you are defined by your expertise and your vision” she says. Use your profile headline as a way to showcase your personality and what you bring to your company.
And older adults shouldn’t feel obligated to offer a comprehensive list of their job experience. “Don’t feel like you need to list out every detail of a job you had 20 years ago, but focus on the last five to 10 years and have that [part] be more robust,” Golden says.
2. Build your audience
“People generally think highly of those who keep good company, so building your LinkedIn network simultaneously builds your personal brand,” Golden says. Make sure that when you add connections, you reach out to coworkers, former colleagues, classmates, other associates from companies you have worked with, as well as to your friends.
Another way to build your audience is to write short posts as frequently as possible, sharing your thoughts about trends in your industry. “The more you share, the more opportunities you have for your connections to engage with you,” Golden says. Using hashtags for trending topics and “mentioning” other key leaders (which is done by typing “@” before the leader's profile name) is another way to draw more attention to your posts and profile.