There are several happenings over the past decade that the Carex team could have never predicted. I mean, did we see it coming that Taylor Swift would methodically re-record all of her albums, and they’d be better than the originals? Or that Bitcoin and NFTS would become…a thing?
Well, we’ll add another phenomenon to the list — we certainly didn’t expect LinkedIn, a site literally only used by companies to either post jobs or tout awards to become one of the most useful and vibrant career, networking, and business-building sites around. (Admit it: how many you didn’t log into your LinkedIn account for years at a time back in the day?).
LinkedIn’s shift was already starting to occur well before the pandemic, but really kicked into high gear due to a confluence of factors:
- In-person networking halted, meaning most people really were craving connection and collaboration and needed to find a new outlet,
- The lines between work and home were blurred, with kids and pets running in and out of Zoom screens and our video backgrounds telling the story about where we live and who we are, and
- We started to understand a fundamental truth: we’re humans outside of work, and work isn’t the only thing we do with our lives. It was only a matter of time before how we presented that reality to our online professional network changed as well.
What it means to be a professional has changed, and LinkedIn has become the place where more and more employees, business owners, and job seekers alike can share their perspectives, network with recruiters, and connect with people they’ve never met that do similar work—or completely different work.
If you’re a current job seeker, how do you navigate this brave, new LinkedIn world? We’ve got a few tips — some obvious, some not so much — to help you get everything out of this platform.
- Upload a great profile picture. Obvious Tip #1 — but you’d be surprised at how many people have a blurry, unprofessional photo on LinkedIn. The key is to look how you’d normally look in a professional setting — this makes it easier for people who might have only met you on social media to recognize you when you meet IRL.
- Create a header image. Your header image doesn’t have to have you in it, but it should give potential connections a bit of an idea of who you are and what you do professionally. If you’re stuck, the free version of Canva has already made LinkedIn header images that just take a few detail changes to make your own.
- Craft your headline. Headlines don’t have to be your job title—so feel free to get creative and write a headline (within the 220-character limit, of course!) that encompasses who you are. If you need some inspiration, take a look at a few of the people on our team: Ginger and Wendi both have headlines that give you clues as to what kind of people they are, personally and professionally.
- Rock your “About” section. LinkedIn gives you a whopping 2,000 characters to tell your story, so…tell it! Tell your potential connections and recruiters a bit about your work history, what you’re looking for next, and why you’re so passionate about your professional endeavors. Make sure to add relevant keywords to this section, as many recruiters search for specific roles or technical skills on LinkedIn (our own Katie Evenson does a great job of this with her profile!) And, put a few personal details in, too — what you like to do when you’re not working, if you have any pets, or a favorite place you like to travel. Putting those details in makes you human—and makes it easier to connect.
- Get a custom URL. Customizing your URL will actually make finding your profile easier—and it’s a super easy fix. Head here to take care of that.
- Turn on the “show recruiters you’re open to jobs” feature if you’re job searching, or are considering a new role. It’s where recruiters start and will get you contacted before others with similar qualifications. (And, if you don’t want to be super public about it, you can also make it so that only those using LinkedIn Recruiter will see that you’re interested in hearing from them.)
- Create content. LinkedIn still depends on content to keep things fresh. It’s worth posting new content—whether it’s posts you’re crafting based on your own insights and perspectives, or sharing links and work from other people on LinkedIn or thought leaders you find interesting. You never know how you’ll show up in someone’s feed and how a connection will begin—posting consistent content is a reliable way to draw new people into your network.
- Consider turning on Creator Mode. Not everyone wants to use LinkedIn to grow their reach and influence, and that’s okay! If it is something you’re interested in, however, turning on Creator Mode, where people can follow you without having to connect with you— is a very easy way for people to discover your content, and for you to grow your connections.
- Research. Because LinkedIn has shifted from a purely professional platform to one that’s a hybrid of personal and professional, you’ll find that many employees—not just CEOs and VP—are on the platform, talking about their companies. Researching and following some of these folks can give you an inside look into the companies that their LinkedIn Company Page might not divulge.
- Engage & Connect. There are so many ways to get involved on LinkedIn that weren’t there a few years ago. Like, post, share, and become part of industry or professional groups on the platform — it’ll build your presence, and it’ll show others you have a unique view. And, it used to be that people only connected with those they knew on LinkedIn. That view is quickly changing, so if you see someone who’s content you’re loving or who works at a company you’d love to learn more about, don’t be afraid to take the first step and reach out. You never know where it might lead!