Why Everyone Should Learn How to
Promote Themselves on LinkedIn

See also: Graduate Employability Skills

A strong LinkedIn profile can lead to great job opportunities.

This entrepreneur-geared social media platform has become a crucial tool for everyone, from job seekers to those in long-term positions who wish to expand their professional network.

Whereas social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter cover everything from entertainment to politics, LinkedIn emphasizes career development. This clear career focus makes LinkedIn the première site for professional networking, especially when you consider that it has more than 100 million active members.

However the sheer number of active LinkedIn members can make it difficult for you to stand out, but with proper know-how, customization and level of interaction, you can improve your LinkedIn profile so that it receives substantial interest.

There are six primary reasons why everyone should learn how to promote themselves on LinkedIn:

1. Increased Career Opportunities

The primary reason many join LinkedIn is for the career opportunities. It's easy to see why as 85% of hiring managers and 95% of recruiters use LinkedIn to find candidates. Although sites like Glassdoor exist to help provide potential employees a preview of what to expect from an employer, LinkedIn remains the best platform for career advancement, from entry-level to top-level executive work.

Finding career opportunities on LinkedIn requires more than just signing up and assembling a basic profile though:it's important to have a profile that can be easily found if you want to take advantage of LinkedIn's career-boosting opportunities.

To help accomplish this, use a professional-looking photograph, ideally one taken by an experienced photographer. For the headline underneath your name, use the 120-character space as a way to grab readers' attention. Do more than focus on a job — emphasize your skill-sets and accomplishments.

2. Extend Your Resume

Most job interviews encourage candidates to bring along a job resume, usually no more than a page or two in length. While a succinct resume and in-person meeting can often give job interviewers a good grasp of whether or not you’re a good fit, LinkedIn provides an extra way to hammer home a great interview.

Whereas a resume is primarily a listing of positions and accomplishments, LinkedIn’s ability to include more detailed descriptions of roles and accomplishments makes the platform an ideal way to extend your resume for interviewers who are researching a candidate after an interview.

Extend your resume on LinkedIn by including examples of your work to date. LinkedIn also allows you to provide examples of your work — in the form of PDF documents, YouTube videos and more — so take advantage of this option.

If there is information that you want to include on your resume but is too lengthy, then LinkedIn is the perfect platform for a more detailed explanation.

3. Make Strategic Connections via Location and Interests

LinkedIn's rich search function allows you to look for other people based on shared connections, interests, location, place of employment, and more.

The search allows for some great networking opportunities that emphasize relevance and may lead to mutually beneficial connections. Even before your profile is fully fleshed out, you will probably see people you already know in real life, including friends, family, classmates and co-workers, and connecting with them is a great first start. However to connect with people you don't yet know, some strategic thinking is required.

To connect with anyone you have yet to meet, avoid just sending them a generic introductory message. Instead, congratulate them on a recent accomplishment, or their work in general, while mentioning how it has been an influence to you. People have different opinions about connecting to those they do not know personally, so feel free to try whatever feels right. However, sending generic messages is never a good strategy, and neither is valuing the quantity of connections over their quality.

4. Increased Prominence When Applying for Positions

For job postings on LinkedIn, there's a nifty feature that shows you any connections you may have to people who are already connected to the job poster. This feature makes it easy to identify potential opportunities regarding landing the job.

Of course, asking for a favor from a connection you barely know may cause the opportunity to backfire, so be sure to only use strong, well-nurtured connections and ask only those people who you know will be happy to help.

A nurtured connection is someone you have already engaged with on more than a favor-for-favor basis. Discussing your respective fields and sharing new and helpful information over several months, or even years, will allow such opportunity-based favor requests to seem more natural and increase the likelihood of a success outcome.

A true connection who values your LinkedIn relationship will have no issue in recommending you to the job poster.

5. Receive Legitimate Recommendations

Reach out to those you’ve worked with in the past and ask them to leave you a recommendation on LinkedIn. Though recommendations may be harder to earn than endorsements (which only require other users to click a button), having recommendations on your LinkedIn profile earns you more credibility.

Having recommendations on your LinkedIn page shows potential employers that other people, whether volunteer managers or internship advisors, are willing to associate their professional name with yours, which says great things about you.

When asking someone to leave a recommendation for you, try to target people who you know like your work, and who are good at expressing themselves in writing. Unfortunately, even a positive recommendation can look bad if it’s riddled with typos and missing words.

6. Increased Business and Brand Awareness

For startups especially, LinkedIn provides a great way to promote a new business or venture.

Employees can proudly state that they work for the organisation, creating a page on LinkedIn specifically for the business where people can follow the page for updates as well as view career opportunities.

With a business page, you can build your employer brand, attract talent and use LinkedIn's advertising program to promote the brand even further. It's also a great alternative to a company blog for news and industry insight. You can post tutorial-based or expert blog posts, which can elicit clicks and showcase your expertise.

LinkedIn business pages also help employees come together, providing an easily discoverable hub to help employees stay up to date on company and industry news, as well as what’s happening with their fellow employees.

The Skills You Need Guide to Getting a Job

Further Reading from Skills You Need

The Skills You Need Guide to Getting a Job

Develop the skills you need to get that job.

This eBook is essential reading for potential job-seekers. Not only does it cover identifying your skills but also the mechanics of applying for a job, writing a CV or resume and attending interviews.

As these six reasons show, LinkedIn can be a fantastic, unbeatable tool for forming and nurturing connections who can help with career advancement and brand awareness in the future.

Having an awareness of how to best optimize your profile, reach out to and nurture connections, and use LinkedIn’s search function can make a big difference to your professional visibility and market appeal.

About the Author

Kayla Matthews is a productivity writer and self-improvement blogger. You can find her work on The Huffington Post, MakeUseOf, Tiny Buddha and The Muse.