I spent a lot of time and money learning how to use LinkedIn. I’m going to give it all to you here, for FREE, and without any fluff. There are three pillars to using LinkedIn. You want 1) Authority, 2) Search Optimization, and 3) a Large Network.
We will discuss how to increase the authority of your profile and how to search optimize your profile first, then discuss strategies for increasing your network. Implementing these strategies can increase your chances of getting a job on LinkedIn or they can increase the amount of revenue your business or recruiting service brings in year after year.
The Importance of Search Optimization
People search for you on LinkedIn. If a Recruiter is looking for a navy nuke to fill an engineering position, she goes to that little search box and types in “navy nuclear,” or “reactor operator,” or “quality assurance technician”.
It works the same in any industry. If someone is looking for a divorce attorney in Houston, they go to this search box and type in something like “Houston Divorce Attorney.” If a Nuke is looking for a good Recruiter in Virginia to help with his job search, he goes to this little box and types in “Navy Nuke Recruiter in Virginia.”
When you begin to optimize your LinkedIn profile you need to determine what you want to be associated with, i.e., what keywords do you want to be found by? Long ago, I optimized my profile for the keywords “navy nuke.” Go to your LinkedIn profile and search on the words “navy nuke” without the quotations.
Does my profile pop up on the first page? It might not anymore because I have since optimized for different keywords but a lot of the Nuke stuff is still in there. Now whenever recruiters use LinkedIn to find Navy Nukes they see my profile and ask to connect with me.
Your first step in making a LinkedIn profile is deciding what keywords you want to optimize for. Then you want to create your profile with the goal of being on the first page of search results for that particular keyword (the top 10 search results).
Optimize Your LinkedIn Headline
1) Click on Profile, 2) Click on Edit Profile. You can start by editing your headline.
It is important to use a professional looking picture, which shows your face and makes you look employable. Use your first and last name. The red arrow is pointing to the headline. You want to optimize your headline by naturally including your keywords. You can see that I managed to include the words “Navy Nuke” in my headline. It needs to look natural, not keyword stuffed. If you don’t know what keyword stuffing is, then Google it and avoid keyword stuffing.
I do more than one thing and want to be known for more than one thing so my headline might look a bit different than yours. If you want to be known for more than one specialty, then I suggest you use this character “|” to separate your specialties. It can be found on your keyboard above the enter button; you will probably have to use the shift key to access it.
If you only want to be known for one thing then there is a formula that we will employ to fill out the headline. This formula will actually be used on your entire profile but start by using it to update your headline.
Who you are, Who you help, How you help them.
Let’s assume we are updating this profile for a Quality Assurance Technician. You would update your headline with something like this: As a Quality Assurance Technician I help pipeline manufacturers achieve ISO 9001 compliance quickly.
Who you are: Quality Assurance Technician. Who you help: Pipeline Manufacturers. How you help them: Achieve ISO 9001 compliance quickly.
If you are like me and you do more than one thing, then mimic my style of headline. If you only do one thing, then this is a great opportunity to use the Who, Who, How formula on your headline. Unfortunately the example I provided is very bland. The more interesting you make yours, the more people will want to connect with you, but keep it professional.
Think of the headline as a hook to get someone to actually read the rest of your profile. If you show up in the LinkedIn search results, then this is all that will appear and the searcher has this tiny bit of info to decide if they want to click on your profile or some other search result.
Optimize Your Profile Link
At the bottom left of my badge up there, you can see my LinkedIn profile link. It is www.linkedin.com/in/dustinsanchez/. To the right of it you see the word “Edit.” Most people have not optimized their profile link, so they get something that looks like this: www.linkedin.com/pub/dottie-bowling/3/303/994. The link still works, but all those numbers just kind of clutter things up.
It’s really not a big deal, but if you want to optimize the link, 1) hover over “Profile” at the top of your LinkedIn page and a drop down will appear, 2) click on “Edit Profile,” 3) click on the word “Edit” that is located just to the right of your profile link and a page that looks like this will appear. Let’s talk about the three arrows.
First, you want to ensure that your profile content is public so that anybody can see it. The point of LinkedIn is to promote connectivity and you want as many connections as possible. It both improves your search optimization within LinkedIn and it increases the chance of you meeting someone who can help you, or meeting someone who knows someone who can help you.
Second, you should customize your URL so that it looks simple like mine, without all the extra numbers and such.
LinkedIn changes their format all the time so if you can’t find it, just click on help and then search on “customize profile URL.” If that doesn’t work you can always use Google and search how to customize your LinkedIn profile URL. Google rocks.
Don’t forget to view your public profile from time to time so that you can see how your info is portrayed to the general public.
Third, if you have a website or a blog for your business, you might also want to create a LinkedIn profile badge that gets people to connect with you on LinkedIn when they see it on your website.
Optimize Your Summary
Here we employ the same strategy of Who you are, Who you help, How you help them, and don’t forget to naturally include keywords in your description. Take a look at my summary below and you can see that I have included a headline, then a short paragraph detailing the experience. Resist the urge to just make this a resume. It is easier to read and more interesting if you mimic my format. Lets take a look at my Oil & Gas Attorney paragraph or Navy Nuke Job Finder paragraph as an example of how to employ the who I am, who I help, how I help them formula.
Using this formula optimizes for search and builds credibility in your industry. If I was a family law attorney trying to generate more clients or a Nuclear Chemist trying to find my next job, the summary and keywords would look different, but always tailored to the industry or position you are going for.
Now let’s talk about the Specialties section. This is a great way to include more keywords without making your profile look like you keyword stuffed it. Mimic my style, just tailor it to your specific keywords…DO NOT GO OVERBOARD!
The Call to Action
If you are a recruiter or a business owner of some kind, you should also include some kind of call to action that tells the reader where to go next. Take a look at my Navy Nuke Job Finder summary paragraph. I kind of included a call to action by including the web address of my Facebook group, but this can be done better.
For instance, if you are published somewhere or if you won some kind of award for something you have done, you could include a call to action at the end of your summary paragraph that says, To read one of my articles that was published in the Texas Bar Magazine go to www.myTXBarArticle.com.
Job hunters can make use of a call to action as well. Just direct the reader to something special that you have done (as long as it increases your credibility in the industry).
Add Your Website
LinkedIn lets you add up to three websites. I suggest you add your company website if you have one and your personal blog if you keep things professional on it and if it is relevant to your industry.
1) Click Edit Profile. 2) Click Edit Contact Info. 3) Add the info.
I suggest you add your email, add your twitter, and add your website / blog. I like to add the email because it allows people to contact me personally instead of via the LinkedIn email system. Adding Twitter is only advisable if you keep things professional on your account.
When you add your website you have the choice of choosing what type of website you will add. I recommend that you always choose “Other.”
Choosing “Other” allows you to choose the anchor text that you want the reader to be able to click on. I chose the anchor text Navy Nuke Job Finder. I’m not going to talk about why it is good to be able to choose your anchor text but I will say that it looks much more professional than just throwing a web address on your profile.
Optimizing Your Work Experience
You should enter all of your current and past work experience because it increases your ability to connect with people. When people search for General Electric and they see that you worked for General Electric two years ago, they might contact you to ask for a reference or something similar.
LinkedIn is kind of like the professional version of the Kevin Bacon game. The goal is to make your profile as robust and complete as possible to increase the amount of connections you acquire, thus increasing your level of connectivity.
So far we have put our keywords in our headline and in our summary. Now you need to naturally place your keyword(s) in your current and past work experience (assuming it can be done naturally.
Building Credibility On LinkedIn
One of the best ways to build credibility on LinkedIn is by getting people to write you a recommendation. This form of social proof increases your search optimization and authority.
The best way to get recommendations is by writing recommendations for other people. I find that if I write 20 recommendations, 6 of those people will return the favor and write me a recommendation. Here is an example of 3 recommendations that I wrote.
When you do something nice for people they often return the favor. Don’t be slimy and ask someone for a recommendation if you have never worked with them. That happens to me from time to time and it is always an awkward request. If you want recommendations, find people that you have worked with in the past, someone you genuinely were impressed with, and write a heartfelt recommendation.
People who view your page, who are thinking about working with you or hiring you, will be more likely to work with you if they see that you have some 20 or 50 people who have recommended you and commented on your integrity / quality of work / trustworthiness / competence.
In the beginning of this tutorial I said that LinkedIn was about increasing your 1) Authority, 2) Search Optimization, and 3) Network. Recommendations have the potential to increase all three so get as many as you can. Just set a goal to write one of two per week and you should get some recommendations back for your efforts.
In the beginning you might want to sit down and just shoot out 20 recommendations and see what kind of return rate you get. Hopefully you can beat my 20/6 ratio.
Don’t write a recommendation expecting to get one back and don’t email people asking for recommendations. That get’s awkward real fast.
Where to Learn More About LinkedIn
What I’ve told you so far is really all you need to know to optimize your LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn can be a very powerful platform for job search and also for any business or professional looking to generate more leads and more income.
If you try everything I have listed above and still want to learn more about LinkedIn, then I suggest you check out LinkedInfluence by Lewis Howes. LinkedInfluence goes into much more detail about how to use LinkedIN to drive traffic, get more exposure, and build your brand.
I’ve used some of the methods I learned in LinkedInfluence to build my Navy Nuke Job Finder Newsletter. I think the info above is really all the average Navy Nuke needs vis a vis LinkedIn, but if you want to learn more then click here to learn more about LinkedInfluence. (I love using the phrase “vis a vis”)
Grow Your LinkedIn Network
Connect with everyone because even if you don’t know them, they may know someone who knows someone who can help you. Also, more connections equals more authority and more search optimization.
One way to grow your network is to search for groups in your industry and then join those groups. Go to the search box at the top of the LinkedIn page and click on the drop down that will allow you to search for “Groups.” Search for the top groups in your industry and join those groups. If you are a Navy Nuke you might want to consider joining the Jobs For Navy Nukes Group.
Joining these groups is advantageous because it allows you to connect with people in your industry. Once you join the group, click on the Members tab and you can see who the major players are in that industry. Each member will have a Headline just like the one we worked on earlier telling you what they do and where they are located.
If you see a Mechanical Engineer who works for Excelon and you want to work for Excelon as well, all you have to do is message the guy or hit the connect button that is next to his name, then try to find out about the company.
I recommendation that you join the top 5 groups in your industry. Hang around for a bit and see what you can learn in those groups. See who is active and who you might be able to approach for advice.
Advanced Job Search On LinkedIn
Here is one method I have experienced with on LinkedIn. A lot of times I have Nukes who are looking for a job in a specific part of the country or with a specific company.
Let’s assume I’m trying to help an MM Nuke who is a certified welder and is looking for a job in Georgia.
1) Click on the Jobs tab. 2) Search on “Welder” without the quotations.
On the left hand side of the page, LinkedIn allows you to look up and specify a postal code. I looked up Atlanta, Georgia and then searched within 100 miles of the postal code. Two results came up. One of them is a production welder for Caterpillar. You can see that I have 46 people in my LinkedIn network who are some how connected to or are affiliated to Caterpillar.
This is why I urge you to make as many connections as possible. Because now instead of just being a nameless resume in a stack of nameless resumes, you can find out which one of these 46 people you know the best (by restricting your relationship search criteria to 1st connections) and possibly get them to recommend you or your resume directly to the person at caterpillar who posted the job (who doesn’t want to, and will not sort through 100 nameless resumes).
LinkedIn’s job search function is where the real power of LinkedIn lies because you can do three things that are extremely important.
1) You can restrict the search to a specific area of the country.
2) You can restrict the search to a specific company.
3) You can instantly see if you know anyone or are connected to anyone who can put your resume at the front of the pile.
Before You Leave This Website…
You guessed it…here comes the call to action. I hope you found this post useful. It’s very basic, but I don’t think you really need to know a whole lot more about LinkedIn to reap all the benefits that LinkedIn offers.
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