Tips for Leveraging LinkedIn for your Career

People use LinkedIn to connect, stay informed, and get hired—yes, I did say get HIRED! LinkedIn Relationship Managers Shannon Burke and Brittney Bentley recently presented at UMUC, and they shared that ninety-four percent of professional recruiters reported using LinkedIn to source candidates. Dubbed “the world’s largest professional social network,” our guests provided special tips and techniques to harness the power of LinkedIn to learn about employers and opportunities, and to develop a great profile and a strong LinkedIn presence so recruiters might find you.  Shannon provided a real-life example by sharing how she secured her current position at LinkedIn after being contacted by a recruiter who spotted her profile on the platform.

Burke and Bentley stressed the importance of building a profile that will attract and engage recruiters and other LinkedIn users by conveying a compelling story about who you are.  It should include a professional photo and an attention grabbing headline that explains what you do, what your passion is, and what you value.  The summary section should communicate what you care about, what you can contribute to a team, what makes you stand out, or what experience you bring to the table.  It is recommended your summary be 40 words or more and include key words from the industry you work.

When writing your experience section, don’t fall into the trap of simply copying and pasting information from your resume.  Like your resume, emphasize your strengths and highlight your accomplishments, but unlike your resume, you want to write in full sentences, not bullet points.  Use the experience section as a chance to tell your story, build rapport, and allow your personality to shine.  In addition, including interactive features like video, audio, or content you have produced can draw up to 12 times more viewers than profiles without rich media content.

Burke and Bentley also suggest that users enhance their profiles with information about volunteer experiences and causes they support.  Doing so may result in six times more views than profiles without this type of information. Recommendations are another vital part of your LinkedIn profile that shouldn’t be overlooked.  These recommendations can come from previous employers, coworkers, or people you have done business with who will speak to your professional experience and endorse your skills.

In addition to creating a dynamite profile, be proactive in leveraging the strength of the network to create connections and learn more about industries that matter to you.  You can do this by following companies you are interested in, joining groups related to your career path, participating in discussions, and interacting with others.  To learn other powerful tips from our experts about how to leverage LinkedIn for your career, click here to access their slideshow presentation and click here to access a recording of the presentation. And, who knows, maybe one day you too can say “I used LinkedIn to get hired!”

Ann Martin is a career services advisor at University of Maryland University College where she has worked for more than five years. She holds a master’s in mental health counseling from Bowie State University.  As a mid-life career changer, she feels uniquely qualified to assist adult students in transforming their lives and finding their place in the workforce.