Reignite your career 5: 8 ways to stand out on LinkedIn

Create a standout LinkedIn profile and master this crucial midlife networking and job hunting resource

This post is part of the Noon Masterclass: Reignite Your Career by Noon’s Career Expert, Lisa Unwin

Catch up with Part 4: How to explain a career break

Are you on the right social network?

Lisa Unwin portraitWhen I was writing She’s Back with Deb Khan, we interviewed more than 1,300 women about social media. What did they use? Facebook and Instagram were the most popular. Few used LinkedIn. And yet many of these women wanted to return to work.

Where are all the jobs? LinkedIn.

Why use LinkedIn for job hunting?

It is used by recruitment companies; it’s a first port of call for many employers to check you out; an online reference checked by the people considering hiring you. It’s also where many of your old work colleagues hang out. You need to be on there. And you need to stand out.

1. Use a professional photo

It’s not OK to have a holiday snap. Or a landscape. Use a smart professional photo. And it’s fine to smile; profiles with a smiley headshot get 25% more views.

2. Create a compelling summary

Be creative here, tell the story of your career to date, your successes and give some personality away. You could feature your core competencies, focusing on a number of key skills that you offer and what you intend to do in the future.

3. Detail your experience

This should reflect your CV. It is crucial to use the right keywords. LinkedIn also provides you with the opportunity to add more detail on some of the projects you’ve been involved in, awards you’ve received and languages spoken. Add links to videos and other media.

4. Connect with people

Inevitably, on day one, you will have no contacts. It’s up to you to create them. Use the search function to find old colleagues or work acquaintances. Yes, some will ignore you but so what. Most won’t. At a minimum, you should be looking for 50 connections. Say hello when you ask them to connect and either then or later ask for them to endorse you. It might feel a bit odd to begin with but it’s common practice. You won’t look strange.

5. Endorsements and recommendations

The endorsements section allows you to select key skills, for which people you have worked with can then endorse you. Aim to build up endorsements over time. The best way to have people endorse you? Endorse them first. Recommendations are even more powerful but can easily fall through the cracks as you need to be proactive about asking for them and then tracking the results. They add a lot to your credibility on the site as someone has to actually take the time to write something, rather than just ticking a box for an endorsement.

6. Follow people

Find people on LinkedIn whose work you admire or who you’re interested in and follow them. You could choose key influencers – Arianna Huffington and Sheryl Sandberg for instance. Equally you could choose people who are working in your field who write articles and share pieces that are of interest.

7. Join Groups

There are thousands. Some are people with common interests – Social Media Marketing, for example – others could be alumni groups for certain organisations. Others are specifically created for people who have a similar skill set such as HR Grapevine or Strategy Consulting Network for instance. The requirements could change but LinkedIn itself will tell you how far your profile is ‘complete’.

8. Complete profile

Currently, to have a 100% complete profile you need: A profile photo. 2 or more positions held, along with descriptions of your roles. 5 or more skills on your profile. A summary statement. Details of your industry and postcode. Your school. 50 or more connections.

– Lisa Unwin

Lisa Unwin, Founder of the Reignite Academy, is Noon’s Careers Expert.



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