The saying that the world is a global village is not cliché, but rather our current reality. Every professional who seeks relevance in today’s world must be conversant with the tools that ease networking and interaction with a global audience. One of such tools is the 706 million members strong LinkedIn.
Due to its formal outlook, it is less popular than other social networking sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Nevertheless, it serves as a better tool for personal branding and a repository for an individual’s education, work summary and other experiences such as research and volunteer work.
A well optimised LinkedIn profile can serve as a substitute for both a cover letter and curriculum vitae. Learn how.Tweet
Beyond its traditional job search feature, LinkedIn is a great tool for professional development; professionals can easily learn about the current trends in their locality and beyond. Through interaction with users, one can learn about the various career options and routes that are available to them. I, on a personal note, got acquainted with the diverse non-traditional pathways that exist for medical doctors on the platform. The profiles of persons such as Dr Peter Okebukola and Dr Biodun Awosusi were enough encouragement for me that I could chart a unique path for myself in Medicine.
Additionally, LinkedIn helps an individual to position their self and grants them access to accomplished professionals whom they otherwise would not have access to. This in turn opens up room for professional mentorship and collaboration. The case of Mr Seun Fakorede is an example. His recent appointment as the commissioner for Youths and Sports in Oyo State, Nigeria was birth from his interactions therein. Likewise, prospective students can engage with current and past students of their desired institution and gain valuable insights and assistance from them.
How To Optimise Your LinkedIn Profile
The first step to doing this is having a good headshot. A brilliant photo greatly enhances your visibility. Second to this is your headline. A headline is a 120-character-length self-description that highlights your specialisation, values, and contains keywords that define you. Every profile has a summary that provides information pertinent to their professional trajectory and relevant to their present career posture. It can further be embellished with an attachment of images and key documents of past work, and taken a step forward by enriching the profile with licenses, certifications, awards, publications and other accomplishments – these ought to be conspicuously placed in the profile. You can gain insight on how to optimise your profile by looking through that of others, however, do not lose your authenticity and uniqueness in the process.
LinkedIn also allows you to showcase your skillset in your profile. Oftentimes, based on the information provided, skills are autogenerated for a person. There is an option to search for skills suitable to you and display them in order of priority. Also, there is an opportunity for your connections to endorse these skills. Getting endorsed can be easier for accomplished professionals who have built a reputation in a given area than it is for their younger counterparts; they are able to do this with minimal interaction and engagement on the site. Nonetheless, consistent engagement with the right people and creating valuable content are keys to getting endorsements, in addition to having a well-optimised profile.
Another outstanding attribute of LinkedIn is its recommendation feature. Mutual connections, especially those with a professional relationship, can write recommendations for one another. A good way to begin this is by writing a recommendation for a colleague. Most times, the individual reciprocates the gesture. Asides this, you can request recommendations from your seniors or contemporaries. These reviews give recruiters a broader perspective of your capabilities, skills and experience.
Even though having a compelling profile is the first step to maximising LinkedIn, this effort will go to waste without consistent interaction. This can take various forms. Regularly sharing your thoughts on your status is top on the list. You should tailor your content to your career, volunteer work and other activities that define your career path. Celebrating your achievements is another way to engage others on the platform. In doing this, texts linked with videos and images get a wider reach than those without them. You can also write articles and essays on the LinkedIn pulse, however, this is only available on personal computers. It is essential that you update your profile regularly to reflect your career growth.
Have you heard about how great LinkedIn is for both professionals and students but you are not quite sure how it works or how to get started? This post will bring you up to speed!Tweet
As consistent engagement continues to take place, growing your professional network becomes a necessity. Opting to join LinkedIn groups that are in line with your profession proves helpful. Contributing your knowledge and perspective to such groups attract traffic to your profile and brings with it a growth in your connection results.
Be intentional with your connections. There is room to actively look for accomplished individuals in your field to connect with. This might be all the professional thrust you need. I do this a great deal. When I come across noteworthy persons, perhaps in the course of conferences, workshops, webinars or stumble upon their works online, I search for them on LinkedIn. If I am impressed by what I see, I often send them a connection request accompanied by a short note (less than 300 characters) succinctly describing how I found them and why I would like to connect with them. More often than not, such requests are accepted. This is also applicable to schools and companies. Seek out the organisation or institution’s profile, their employees or students/alumni and request to connect with them.
Lastly, do not be afraid to ask for help and to take shots. You will be surprised to find that some persons are more than willing to assist. If you do not get a response, do not hold it against the individual or organisation. Remember that people have a number of things going on in their personal lives that they don’t make visible online. Give recommendations, congratulate people on their success, and leave an encouraging comment on their status update. Your digital footprint is more widespread than you know. Keep this in mind as you engage online. You never know who your potential recruiter or mentor is.
In conclusion, harnessing the maximum benefit that LinkedIn provides requires having a compelling, comprehensive and up-to-date profile, and consistent engagement with your network as you navigate your career.
- Guest writer – Dr Olowookere Oluwapelumi.
Dr Olowookere is a colleague and friend. He is a medical doctor, public health enthusiast and an alumnus of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun state.
I found his profile impressive the time I looked through while researching how to optimise mine. He also seemed to have a good understanding of how the app works and maximise it, so I reached out to him and asked if he could write a guest post on the subject and he accepted.
I found this post detailed and insightful. I hope you did too. I once read that the best time to build your network is before you need it. I could not agree more. I hope this post serves as the push you need to create a profile on LinkedIn or complete yours if you already did.
I look forward to reading your thoughts in the comments and don’t forget to share this post if you found it helpful.
PS: You can connect with me on LinkedIn here.