Everyone knows that when it comes to furthering your career or getting a new job, LinkedIn is the most important social media tool at your finger tips.
Perhaps you created a LinkedIn account as a result – though maybe begrudgingly because of the amount of email you heard the site generates – because nowadays, virtually all recruiters expect professionals to have a profile.
But you might not realise the site has just undergone some major changes – so if you’re serious about progressing up the career ladder, it’s vital you go back in and edit your profile now.
Keep going until its 100% complete too if you haven’t already. It’s also a great opportunity to make sure your profile is accurate, professional and stuffed with relevant keywords.
After all, you don’t want to risk being overlooked because your LinkedIn is incomplete, full of errors or out of date.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that, like many social media sites, LinkedIn introduces changes every year or so, so it’s a good idea to subscribe to the professional networking platform’s official blog to keep on top of any future tweaks.
In the meantime, here’s what you need to know about the latest changes to the online behemoth, which now has a massive 500million users, and which boasts that for each new connection you make, you’ll expand the reach of your professional network by an average of 400 people, 100 companies and more than 500 jobs…
Your face now shows in a circle above your headline, rather than a square to the left, giving your photo centre stage and making it even more important.
Yet a staggering number of profiles still don’t include a headshot, despite LinkedIn’s own research which shows that profiles with photos are seven times more likely to turn up in searches, encourage 21 times more profile views, nine times more connection requests and 36 times more messages than those without.
The circle gives you less space, making it even more crucial to choose a professional-looking picture. Make sure your photo is a close up of you facing forward and making eye contact with the camera. LinkedIn’s new editing and filter features make it easier to enhance your profile photo too, even if you can’t afford to hire a professional snapper to take one.
Only the first two lines of your summary now show up automatically – anyone logging onto your profile will need to click on ‘view more’ to see the rest of it. This means it is now crucial to hammer home your USP and the most relevant key words to the role you have or the one you want in those first two precious lines. Try to make them engaging and encourage the viewer to make that click and read on.
You used to be able to see a profile’s top 10 skills before the ‘view more’ drop down option. Now, LinkedIn only shows the top three. It selects these automatically according to how many endorsements you have received.
However, you can override this and re-order your skills yourself to show the three you think add the most value to your profile first. This will also encourage your connections to endorse you for your most relevant skills. Make sure your top three skills are important, searched for and show what you can offer to any relevant employer or potential connection.
Order of content
LinkedIn now has a standardised layout so you can’t customise your profile and move important content to the top anymore. As a result, the words you use on your profile need to work even harder. Make sure they are compelling, authentic and easy to read, as well as SEO optimised – and check and double check for any spelling or grammatical errors.
Ramp up your connections
LinkedIn has made it easier to expand your network with a ‘Connections of’ filter which allows you to see your connections’ connections. Use it to connect with relevant people and increase your chances of getting a referral for a job. Just click on ‘See connections’ on the right hand bar of your profile page, then find the person who might have the best ones. You can then use the ‘connections of’ filter to find other useful people.
It’s not just about your work experience
Despite all these changes, it’s worth bearing in mind that LinkedIn was, and still is, about much more than a list of job titles and your workplace skills.
It can give potential employers, clients and business partners a real sense of who you are. However, this doesn’t mean posting photos of your baby or office party, no matter how cute or funny. Keep it relevant and professional.
Instead, it’s a great idea to make sure you give details of any voluntary work you’ve done or charities you support.
Don’t underestimate this feature. According to LinkedIn, 41% of employers consider volunteer work to be as important as paid work
You might not have logged in to LinkedIn for a while before the site made these tweaks. But now that you have, why not promise yourself to dedicate regular time to LinkedIn?
Set a few minutes aside every week to like, comment, connect and share on the platform and you will amplify the chances of recruiters coming across your profile – and your next LinkedIn email might just be a job offer…