Why is a LinkedIn profile important?
LinkedIn is a social network launched in 2003, a few months before Facebook launched at Harvard. It is the world's largest professional network, employs around 18,000 employees, has 810 million members, and has members in 200 countries and regions worldwide.
An active and engaging LinkedIn profile that displays your knowledge, skills, and abilities in your area of expertise is invaluable. 93% of selection representatives use LinkedIn to research and enroll up-and-comers, so if you want to grow your professional network, seek employment, or build your online resume, LinkedIn is a great place to start.
Who should have a profile on LinkedIn?
LinkedIn for students
College students are generally very social-media savvy through platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. However, students seldom consider LinkedIn to be used as a social network as it is generally thought of as used only by professionals in various industries. Students may feel they do not have enough contacts to add to their profiles and lack relevant work experience, making for an ineffective profile. This is a misconception, and it is becoming increasingly important for students to get on LinkedIn. Students should aim to establish connections, look for job opportunities, build trusting relationships, and create their personal brand while still in school.
- Establish connections: Connecting with professionals who operate within your industries of interest can help you gain insights or collect details about events and career opportunities. College students can begin this process by connecting with others in their universities, then branching out to alumni, specifically ones who work for your companies of interest.
- Look for job opportunities: According to a Jobvite study, 94% of recruiters are active on LinkedIn, but the percentage of job seekers is far less. It has become more common for companies to use LinkedIn to discover new talent for their organization; therefore, making yourself more visible on the platform can help you secure new opportunities and be better found by recruiters.
- Build trusting relationships: LinkedIn can provide validity to your work background, as recruiters often look at a candidate's profile before reaching out to begin the interviewing process. According to Business Week, 87% of recruiters use Google and social networks to make decisions on candidates, and 95% of recruiters have eliminated a candidate based on what was shown on these platforms. Building your LinkedIn profile early in your career will allow it to appear higher in search engine results than Instagram or Facebook as the first platforms to appear.
- Create a personal brand: Personal branding is becoming increasingly essential and pivotal to career success. By creating a LinkedIn profile, you can showcase who you are, your interests, values, and your skill set.
LinkedIn for young professionals
LinkedIn is not only for students, and young professionals must have a presence on the platform. Connecting with others in your field or facilitating collaborations are possibilities while using LinkedIn. By connecting with industry leaders, you may learn about new opportunities to advance your career or begin a conversation that expands your network.
For young professionals seeking to move up the ladder, LinkedIn provides an avenue to start conversations with people who hold positions you are interested in. People enjoy sharing their experiences and making meaningful relationships. Use the "send a message" option when connecting with others on LinkedIn to introduce yourself and begin what could be a meaningful conversation.
Finding a mentor is another possibility through LinkedIn. Young professionals should seek to form a "personal board of directors" or trusted people who can help navigate professional opportunities and give valuable advice. Mentors can influence one's perspective on issues and struggles within their career, and having direct communication with someone with insight and experience is invaluable.
As a new entrant into the professional world, staying on top of industry news and trends is made easier through LinkedIn. Follow boards and people with relevant knowledge, and be aware of new articles from various perspectives to stay informed on current events.
LinkedIn for companies
Having a LinkedIn profile is vital for individuals, but what about companies? The following reasons describe why your company should have a profile.
- Employee belonging: Often, when an employee begins a position at a new company, they will announce it on LinkedIn. Having a company profile allows employees to recognize themself as a part of the company and share information about the organization, which builds brand awareness.
- Brand representation: A company profile helps build an expression of the brand online and acts as an avenue to showcase the business professionally. Many B2C companies use Facebook and Instagram to target their audience; however, B2B companies prefer targeting professionals, making LinkedIn a more viable option.
- Advertise job openings: Advertising job openings on LinkedIn puts your position in front of connections seeking employment. A company's profile should include employee spotlights to display the culture and values of the company. If you have employees who have been with the company for years, share that information to show you care about your staff and appreciate employee loyalty. These are qualities that candidates look for when considering joining a company.
- Basic company information: LinkedIn is a great place to find quick company information. Readers can discover company size, types of roles in the company, website, email, phone number, and other sought information that help customers connect with ease.
Tips for building a standout LinkedIn profile
Work on your Banner
Studies show that people remember 20% of what they read but can retain 80% of what they see. Also, our brains can process visuals far faster than text, so if you put information in the picture, the possibility is higher that it will have a lasting impact. Your LinkedIn Banner should reinforce who you are.
Some ideas for a good banner include images that highlight the following:
- Your hobbies - Hobbies can describe the type of person you are and acts as an excellent way to introduce yourself to your connections.
- Your city landscape - If your work is related to a specific geographical location, featuring a city skyline or landmark is a way to showcase to future connections the area in which you operate.
- Your clients - Showcasing a picture highlighting your target audience can help build credibility among your clients.
Carefully craft your "about" section
Your "about" section should give an overview of who you are. Include Keywords relevant to your industry or specific roles you desire to help hiring managers easily find your profile. Keep this portion concise, relevant, and informative.
- List current and past experience: This portion is integral to displaying your skillset to an employer. This section is not only crucial for future connections but helps LinkedIn suggest potential connections based on your work history. This section should be brief - bullet points are acceptable, especially over prose. It is also essential to use keywords in this section to explain your skills and expand on responsibilities in current/prior roles.
- Be active with posts and engagement: Once you have made connections, interact with postings you feel passionate about by liking, reposting, and sharing. These actions increase your engagement on LinkedIn and show an active account. It is also helpful to create postings that highlight your achievements and your core values.
- Add skills that display your work: You may find that LinkedIn connections will endorse you when adding skills, reflecting positively on your profile. Taking LinkedIn skill assessments is another way to highlight your skills. These online assessments demonstrate your proficiency in Microsoft Excel, R Programming, WordPress, QuickBooks, Adobe XD, and more.
Customize your LinkedIn URL
LinkedIn automatically applies a URL to each account, following this format: www.linkedin.com/john-doe375439857. However, users can customize their URL, which may appear to be a minor point. Still, when including your Linkedin URL on your resume or other professional documents, it is helpful to have it be succinct. For instance, you can change your URL to be in the following format: linkedin.com/john-doe/
With the world becoming more virtual-friendly, it is vital to establish yourself online professionally. Beginning in college or early in your career is a prime time to craft a LinkedIn profile. This will allow you to be more discoverable by companies of interest and helps you become a part of a breadth of industry professionals with shared interests and experiences. Companies can create an online community by establishing a LinkedIn profile and help employees feel more engaged in a virtual environment.
Written by Lauren Kemp
Lauren Kemp, Communications and Marketing Specialist at J2T, earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Management with a minor in Latin American studies and a Master of Science in Innovation and Management from Montana State University. Lauren hails from Montana and enjoys reading about the history of her home state. Her bucket-list items include touring the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina, and taking an immersion trip to Chile to experience Latin American culture first-hand.
J2T is a recruiting and staffing firm that solely focuses on accounting and finance roles. J2T Flex facilitates all operational accounting needs, both direct hire and contract or contract-to-hire needs. On the direct hire side, J2T Recruiting specializes in senior positions starting at Sr. Accountant up through CFO in direct employment and contract or contract-to-hire conditions encompassing everything in the corporate accounting and finance organizational chart. J2T is a women-owned business exclusively serving the Colorado and Montana markets with the overarching goal to serve you in all areas of the hiring experience.