Updating your LinkedIn profile, likely comes to mind, when you are considering a job change. The rest of the time it sits neglected, other than adding new people to your network when the opportunity arises. The reality is, you need to proactively manage your profile if you are going to be seen by those that matter and ultimately sell your accomplishments, projects, and skills to support your ongoing career development.
Having a LinkedIn profile that is working for you behind the scenes, will enhance your job prospects, increasing your credibility, build your position in your network, and the sports business market place. (have you used the new QR feature to add people at networking events, on the mobile app yet?)
It’s an important aspect of your digital career toolkit to manage. Here are the 10 key practical steps to building and growing your LinkedIn profile for career success.
1. Do the basics right – first impressions matter!
When people look at your profile, they decide whether you’re worth connecting within the first few seconds so it needs to be credible.
First, your profile photo is important, make sure it’s recent, professional and welcoming.
Next, create a professional Headline that stands out. This is attached to your photo and travels everywhere with it across the LinkedIn platform and in Google search results. Make a compelling narrative in less than 120 characters, not just your job title - but your USP, highlight what separates you from the crowd, or your offer. Be bold and it will pay off.
Completing your full profile will mean the more chance you have of being found by employers as you will appear in more search results. Once found, they need to want to click on your profile and read more.
2. Build out an awesome profile
As mentioned, you need to sell yourself as best you can. There are a few ways to achieve this.
Your summary: This is key real estate, don’t waste it. Make it around 3–5 short paragraphs long ideally with bullet points in the middle section. You need to describe WHO you are, WHAT you have done, and WHERE you would like to work next; include some highlights of your professional experience, interests, skills and your unique set of qualifications. Make sure your highlight your achievements and use numbers where possible. You have a maximum of 2000 characters to use.
Be personal: LinkedIn is a social network, designed for interaction, and you are trying to build a relationship with the reader. Be warm, inviting and write in the first person. Let the reader get to know you in your summary, and the person behind the skills by sharing your values and passions.
3. Fill your profile with industry relevant keywords
These are really important to help clearly communicate your expertise as well as to make your profile easy to discover by relevant employers.
Include these in your summary and experiences sections where appropriate. It’s a really valuable way to get noticed and be found for the attributes that are important to employers.
Search for the popular keywords used in your sector or functional areas (Wordly, GlobalSportsJobs and LinkedIn itself, are all good options), to discover the words that are connected to the type of jobs or career paths you are focused on.
By doing this search on LinkedIn you will also discover other people with similar career paths that you may be able to reach out to and chat with, helping to grow your local network.
5. Share your previous work experiences
Make sure you have a logo for each company you've worked at. If there's no logo, viewers will assume the company doesn't or didn't exist.
Use the STAR method to tell the story of your time in that job:
- Situation – What were the job goals?
- Tasks – What were you expected to do?
- Action – What did you actually do?
- Results – What happened?
Where possible, you should upload previous examples of your work to demonstrate your capabilities. This will add another dimension to your profile and make it more visually engaging and credible.
5. Get some love!
Logos are nice, but recommendations are better. You should have at least one for each job. If you don’t have these already, then ask your co-workers and peers for a minute of their time to write something for you. Don’t be shy. It’s worth asking. A good approach is offering to writing a recommendation for them first before asking for one from them.
The fact is, how we are perceived by our peers, is interesting to future employers, a lot more than our own words.
6. Build your network up
Continually keep connecting with individuals or companies to broaden your network and increase your sphere of influence. Be careful not to just ‘add’ people that you do not know or cannot explain your connection to – the quality of your network should always be better than the quantity.
Make sure that you join relevant groups within LinkedIn, as they are another good way to build connections and increase your visibility. A good start is Globalsportsjobs company and group pages!
7. Publish content and engage
Daily likes and comments on others posts, sharing your own shorter posts, as well as writing monthly long-form articles, will really help you to stand out as a thought-leader in your sector.
If you are ready for sharing your own video posts – these are hot right now, so dive in with some short ‘Live’ videos of you talking about a topic that you have an opinion on.
8. Manage your settings
Make sure people can find you, and that your updates are being shared to the public and not just your network. This will help the wider LinkedIn community to see your content
9. Customise your profile page
URL and add it on to your CV and as a footer in your emails. You can find a great guide to this here.
10. Manage Your Digital Footprint!
Employers are forever investigating all forms of social media, so do not embarrass yourself with any inappropriate photos or bad language when updating your status. If you’re applying for a new job, make sure all your social media accounts resemble the professionalism of your LinkedIn profile or change the privacy settings to make sure they are not open to the public.
Following these steps will help you build a better profile and become noticed. Ensuring your profile sounds and looks professional, whilst conveying your personal passion and commitment for your chosen profession are key first steps.
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