How to use LinkedIn to maximise your chances

Whatever stage of your career you may be at, LinkedIn has become indispensable to connect, self-actualise and plan your next move. A LinkedIn profile can really change dramatically the course of your career, as it did for me, but could equally cripple an application if not kept up properly. So, I thought I would share a little bit of my LinkedIn science.

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This is not Facebook

Needless to say LinkedIn is not Facebook, nor is Instagram. And where the lines keep blurring between our profesional persona and our personal self, there is a line to be drawn in the sand. What you share, your choice of profile picture, your connections and your posts ought to reflect who you want to be perceived as in your profesional sphere. Sexiness, buddiness, sassiness should carefully be avoided.

Check who you follow

Either you are just starting your career or are hoping to pivot, the influencers and companies you follow are not only an important reflection of where you want to be, but will also influence your chances. It needs to be consistent within a given industry or amongst a discipline and be sure that recruiters will look at it. Be interesting. Yes following Google and Facebook does look good, but is there someone a little more niche, a little more subtle to bring out in an interview? Similarily, if you apply for a big consultancy, make sure you follow them and either all their competitors or none at all. A recruiter could read into it. Make sure to follow your current organisation and share with your connections relevant updates or job openings to build a network inside your company. Make sure to comment on relevant posts and shares. Back to the Facebook point, do not shy away from opening a conversation but only comment if you have an intelligent rationale and an interesting opinion to bring to the table. A simple emoji won’t do.

Reach out to people only after you have met them in person

I am very diligent on this one. The rule doesn’t really apply to friends and people you met in school, but for the love of God, do not add people on LinkedIn you haven’t yet met in person or had a meeting with. Or worse, people who might interview you or remote colleagues you know you will meet. Awkward at best, unprofessional at worst. Trust me. Connect with people you have actually connected with. Plus, it is always a good intro to drop a little line with the invitation in the likes of ‘Hi X, it was a pleasure to meet you in Y, looking forward to connect further. Best’.

Become a thought sharer

The difference between a LinkedIn profile and a fucking great LinkedIn profile is the effort you put it in. Have you ever checked your all-star score? Where do you rank compared to your peers? I know I personally got a top rating by the number of connections I made but most importabtly by consistantly updating my profile and sharing native organic blog posts. The genesis of 9to9 actually traces back to LinkedIn posts. Make your name known, connect by liking and commenting to similar posts. Find a niche, an industry topic that not only is relevant to your career path but which passionates you enough to keep on writting. Making women more confident and more equipped in the business world had always been my calling, and so I used the platform to place myself there.

Keep it honest

Just don’t make things up, don’t lie, and make sure dates, job titles and responsibilities do indeed match your print CV. Inconsistencies or doubts will kill your application and potentially your reputation. Blanks, gaps if they exist can be ground for interesting conversations, don’t fear your reality, embrace it. There is a special place for honesty in business.

Keep it concise

My boyfriend used to tease me about my LinkedIn when we first dated 3 years ago (that story in itself is probably for another blog post). ‘The LinkedIn queen, it's not a CV it's a memoire’. At the time, I proudly believed that more was more. I then used to note down literally every single project I got involved in, significant or not, or any academic performance, even if it meant adding my 17 years old exploits. Now looking back, I see the value of trimming it down. First because as an employer I honestly won’t bother scrolling down more than one sheeter – there are other candidates to be considered and secondly because concisness reflects one’s mind and personality. As a Project manager, as a Lawyer or even as an Academic, precision, and prioritisation of information is key. So demonstrate it. Check out my profile for an example.

Choose your photo carefully

Ladies. I can not stress it enough, keep your cute selfies and other proved to cleavage pics for your Instagram, and stay professional. Sexy is not the new nerdy. That being said, your photo should really speak of who you are and match the type of environment you hope to work in. My good friend S- is the super manager corporate type, I am the techy one- obviously our pictures are not the same. Where mine would look far too relaxed for her environement, hers would look too stiff in mine. Again, as shared in this post, you want the right people to feel they can relate to you and feel sincerity. When rumours of a new comer at work spreads, what is the first thing we do? Yup, a good Facebook and LinkedIn stalking session. So planned ahead and be in control of your image. On that note actually, you might want to keep your Insta private when looking for a job and upon joining an organisation.

Keep your latests accomplishments up to date

Conciseness is key but a little self-actualisation is equally important. Either you are happy in your current work place and want to establish yourself politcally, don’t shy away from calling out your projects and add your collaborators to it. You want the right stakeholders to place you in the organisation. If you are looking to move, it is even more important to make sure your profile reflects your progress. Take the time to summarise your responsibilites under each role description and project. This might sound a little much, but trust me. To be good is easy, to be great requires time. By the way, the blabla won’t work. Avoid, led, manage, headed, oversaw. Explain clearly your contribution, this will make you stand out. More on how to apply successfully to a job here.

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Keep your profile opened to recruiters

Looking for opportunities or not, it’s always a good idea to keep it opened to recruiters and have your interests up to date. It being cities or industry or specific roles, make sure to keep these relevant. You never know what might come out of it, and if anything this could really remind you how happy you are in your current job.

Capitalize on endorsements

Similar to invitations and direct messages, endorsements should be subtle, timely and genuine. Rarely someone will offer, so if you successfully completed a project with a peer and feel the legitimacy to ask, don't shy away. Upon leaving (on good terms!) an organisation, reach out to some people who will have something precise to say about you and who worked directly with, for or above you. Again, the key here is authenticity. 

I'm personally keen to hear how you use LinkedIn and if it has brought some career opportunities to you! Hit us in the comments, I'll be delighted to read xx

Evodie F.