In the video lesson series entitled, Learning LinkedIn, Oliver Schinkten explains how to set up our own LinkedIn accounts and profiles. He holds our hands through every stage of the process, from signing up for the first time customizing our profile to engage and attract potential viewers.
I will be putting into practice the advice he gives and sharing the process with you here. While I felt like I already had a robust profile, I found the tips Schinkten provided were helpful to me.
Create a LinkedIn Profile
It is worthwhile discussing first why LinkedIn is vital to those of us who are business students. Schinkten says that LinkedIn has become the new resume (Schinkten, 2017). As I’m learning in my human resources classes, resumes are the first phase in the selection process. It’s scary to note that recruiters will look at your resume for all of six seconds. In this article, Lily Zhang outlines ways to grab a recruiter’s attention (Zhang, 2020). I can’t help but notice that many of her tips align with the recommendations for LinkedIn.
Schinkten points out that LinkedIn is better than a resume because it helps us stand out by providing additional insights about who we are and what makes us unique (Schinkten, 2017). Hearing this got my attention.
But first, why?
Thus, we must identify for ourselves what our purpose is for being on LinkedIn. The most significant mistake people make, according to Schinkten, is to create a profile and never use it (Schinkten, 2017). The likely reason people do this is that they don’t know why they’re building one in the first place.
Why are YOU using LinkedIn?
Is it to get a job? Or is it to network? Maybe you’re only doing it because it’s a school assignment. All of those are good reasons. The important part is to acknowledge it for yourself because it will impact how you design your profile.
According to kinsta.com, the most extensive use of LinkedIn is to generate leads (Osman, 2021).
If you’re like me, you might not be clear on the meaning of “lead.”
Leads are people or organizations who are interested in what you have to offer. So, a “lead” could be someone interested in hiring you, acquiring your services, or buying your products. It could even be a network connection (What is a Lead?, 2020).
Maddy Osman on Kinsta.com says that LinkedIn is the number one source for lead generation. Why would that be? People recognize LinkedIn as a place to do business (Osman, 2021). She points to the algorithm on LinkedIn, which is designed to identify metrics specifically related to our professional history and capabilities (Osman, 2021).
So, we’ve identified our ‘why.’ Now, onto the ‘how.’
Schinkten stresses that we must be honest and authentic when creating our profiles (Schinkten, 2017). Remembering to be authentic is essential to keep in mind, especially since most of us are on LinkedIn to generate leads of some kind.
I have found the quickest way to inauthenticity is to try and get people to like me, which provides a problem. It’s one I intend to consider as I navigate the different steps that Schinkten takes us through.
According to Schinkten, the steps to setting up a LinkedIn profile are as follows:
Some things to keep in mind about the various sections:
- profiles with photos have ten times more views
- Professional headshots are not necessary
- They need to be “just something that represents you.”
- It should be recent and look professional
- The required size is 1584×396
- Recommended to use Canva to customize photos
- Use keywords
- It’s like a mission statement and must capture the reader’s attention
- Opportunity to showcase work that you’re proud of and represents you well
Expand work experience
- Be sure to include not only your experience but also accomplishments or achievements you had in the role
- Profiles get 11 times more views when school is added
Skills and endorsements
- Highlight your skills and get endorsements from others
Configure public profile
- Tailor how you want your public profile to appear
Customize profile URL
- Instead of a long-complicated URL, you can create a shortened version
Build Your LinkedIn Network
As mentioned earlier, generating leads is the best thing about LinkedIn. Another way to think about ‘leads’ is connections with people. According to Schinkten, LinkedIn is designed to make connections professionally (Schinkten, 2017). You can also customize who can connect with you. Messages and LinkedIn Groups are different ways that you can communicate with connections you’ve made on LinkedIn.
Using LinkedIn Day-to-Day
Like other social media platforms, LinkedIn has a newsfeed. LinkedIn’s algorithm is designed to show you content based on your profile, keywords, and interactions you’ve had on the platform (Schinkten, 2017).
You can use the newsfeed to add original content complete with media. When it provides value or information to others, you will begin to build your reputation and brand. It also allows people to get to know you and the work you do (Schinkten, 2017).
Next, when you click on the job icon, you are taken to a page where jobs specific to your skills and experience will be recommended to you. A search with varying degrees of filters is also available. The in-depth, customizable job searching function makes LinkedIn truly shine. You can also let recruiters know that you’re “open to job opportunities” using the specific setting (Schinkten, 2017).
Manage Your LinkedIn Account
There is a paid premium account and a basic free account. Depending on your needs, you may decide a premium account is a right thing for you. The primary benefit is to see who is viewing your profile as well as trends and insights. Another critical aspect of managing your account is the privacy settings with many options for customization. Syncing to your calendar or other platforms is also possible with LinkedIn.
Schinkten concludes the series by reminding us that this is an introductory course. We are at the beginning of our LinkedIn journey, and he reminds us that it takes time to build a well-rounded profile (Schinkten, 2017). If you’ve explored other social media platforms, you know that this way of networking requires consistent effort. Reaching out to others and responding to their posts are essential aspects of growing a network. We must also be willing to explore the different features LinkedIn offers to become well versed in its functions.
My Take-Away (Conclusion)
I had fun applying the lessons Schinkten provided us. It offered me an opportunity to fine-tune my profile. I look forward to continued exploration.
In the meantime, here are screenshots of some of the changes I made.
I’ve had a LinkedIn profile for many years and had detailed work and education experience listed. However, my photo was out of date, my headline was long, my summary was written in the third person, and I hadn’t updated my new job.
I want to continue working on the summary because I’m not sure it’s attention-grabbing.
I also explored the job hunting function. I tried all of the filters but found that using too many returned fewer results.
Osman, M. (2021, March 18). Mind-Blowing LinkedIn Statistics and Facts (2021). Retrieved from Kinsta: https://kinsta.com/blog/linkedin-statistics/
Schinkten, O. (2017). Learning LinkedIn (2017). Retrieved from LinkedIn Learning: https://www.linkedin.com/learning/learning-linkedin-3/get-started-with-linkedin?u=2109516
What is a Lead? (2020). Retrieved from Lead Squared: https://www.leadsquared.com/what-is-a-lead/
Zhang, L. (2020). https://www.themuse.com/advice/you-have-6-seconds-to-grab-a-recruiters-attentionheres-how-to-do-it. Retrieved from The Muse: https://www.themuse.com/advice/you-have-6-seconds-to-grab-a-recruiters-attentionheres-how-to-do-it