LinkedIn is more than just a social network. While the likes of Instagram allow you to share curated, engaging content and Twitter is the place to be for insightful (and sometimes not-so insightful) conversations, LinkedIn is the network that can attract professional contacts that could take your tech career to the next level.
With the new year just on the horizon, you may be thinking about transitioning into a new career. If so, you’ll want to promote your skills and experience in a way that relates to your dream role via your LinkedIn profile. Whether you’re wanting to reposition yourself for a brand new role, industry or both, LinkedIn is the tool that will make you visible to prospective recruiters and widen your network for potential opportunities.
Isn’t it time you started to make the most out of what this free platform can do for you? Read on to find out how.
Revamp your Headline
Your LinkedIn headline appears right below your name on both your profile and in search results. While it typically defaults to your current job title and company, if you’re aspiring to reposition yourself you want to tailor your headline to make you a more attractive prospect to any potential employers or recruiters.
Say, for instance, that you’re currently working as a content strategist for a financial company but are looking to move into working for a software or gaming company. While you could keep your existing role as your headline, you’ll make a better first impression by revamping your headline to cover your overall expertise, e.g Content Strategist | Social Media Marketing | Direct Mail | Content Curation.
Use a Professional Headshot
Continue to make the best possible first impression with a well-chosen professional headshot. Photos on LinkedIn profiles are still a hot topic, with many on both sides of the camp, however, research conducted by the platform shows that users with a profile image are 14 times more likely to be viewed by others.
Your headshot needs to show you in a professional and approachable light so if you can, hire a professional photographer. If you need to take a DIY approach, ensure you position yourself in front of a plain background facing a light source that’s around 1m away. Keep a natural smile on your face, authenticity matters more than big expressions.
As for what you should wear, certain industries have their own ways when it comes to dress codes, so, it pays to do some research on your ideal companies. After all, as the old saying goes, you need to dress for the job you want and not the one you have.
Include Volunteer and Part-Time work as Professional Experience
The Experience section of your profile is important, but even if you don’t have masses of relevant experience you can still include part-time, volunteer, or consultative work – provided it’s substantive. There is a section later on for Volunteer work, but since most employers and recruiters will scan your profile starting with your experience, you run the risk of it being overlooked if you don’t include it straight away.
You want to catch the reader’s attention and provide a strong picture of your skillset and knowledge. If you’re pivoting industries or roles, think about the transferrable skills that you’ve built up over the years and list them first. Any mentoring or training activities, for example, should be listed if you’re looking to move into an HR or leadership role.
Tailor your Activity for your New Career
You can also showcase your expertise by tailoring what you post, comment, and share in your Activity feed. This is a great way to show that you’re active and interested in your new field, especially if you’re planning to change industries. Sharing relevant insights, such as key data about your new industry that you’ve gained from professional training or research, can be a good way to expand your reach within that field.
On a similar note, you don’t even have to create new content from scratch. By following key executives working in your target role or industry, you can comment on their posts which, when used sparingly, is an effective way to get their attention and potentially develop some in-roads.