While most social media sites provide people with a way to stay in touch with friends, family, or kvetch about the societal topics of the day, LinkedIn is a bit different. This social site is specifically for business professionals to network with each other, stay in contact with customers, and promote their services.
However, more businessmen than businesswomen use the site. Demographic information shows that out of their 63 million active monthly users, 56 percent of them are male. Fortunately, this information with useful tips and advice can help more women learn how to take advantage of this site to further their careers or promote their businesses.
How to Use the Site
Before women can effectively use this business social site to promote their businesses or themselves, they need to learn how to use the site to their advantage. The first thing they should do is build a proper profile.
How to Build an Effective Profile
When building a profile for your LinkedIn account, you should include an email address that you check daily. If you use an obscure one that you seldom check, then you could miss out on new connections and opportunities to promote yourself and your skill set.
Also, add a phone number, especially if you are looking to advance your career. By having a phone number in your profile, it gives professional connections another way to contact you. If you're currently unemployed, don't shy away from it. Indicate that you're "looking for employment opportunities" under your employment status.
Two options exist when choosing account types. You can use the free, or "Basic," version of the website or you can choose the "Premium" option. There is a fee for the premium options, but they have more features. The fee amount depends on which of the four options you choose, which are:
Add a Photo
Use a professional headshot for the profile photo. If you don't have one, a smartphone camera image of you dressed like you're going to work is good enough to post. The image should be at least 200 x 200 pixels. Otherwise, it could look too blurry. If you have a professional headshot, use that one unless it is several years old. Professional shots get 14 times more views than other images.
Promote Your Experience
If you’re seeking a job, then this is the section you should concentrate on getting right. You can either import a resume or manually enter the information. However, if you import your resume, add information to make it stand out. Start by optimizing it for keywords. You will learn about optimization in another section.
Focus more on your recent experiences, especially in senior-level positions. Men usually talk about their senior-level experience and eliminate their junior-level positions.
What are Your Skills?
This area is where to talk about what you can do, but it is also where many women fail to shine. Women do not promote themselves enough, so you can change that by bragging more about your abilities. Start by listing more skills. If you have at least five on your profile, then it can get at least 33 percent more views.
Also, by adding more skills, it allows those who know you or who have done business with you to endorse them. Although you should list at least five skills, if you have many more than that, list them!
Although this section is basic information, make sure to list all the schools you attended. It can help you make connections with old friends, alumni associations, and meet new connections who also attended those schools. Also, include the certifications, seminars, and other corporate training you’ve had in your field.
Write a Summary
Write at least 40 words in summarizing your profile as that is the minimum number of words for getting information to show up on an internet search. Add some personality in your summary when discussing your experiences and goals. Showing a little attitude in your writing can earn the profile more views.
This section appears right after your name on the site, so you will want to use it to promote yourself. While it needs to be brief, use power words to get attention. Make people curious, so that they will want to click on your profile and learn more about you.
Give Them More
There is space for putting additional information about yourself on the profile. Use it to discuss your hobbies and other interests that could catch attention from headhunters. If you enjoy kayaking, put it down. If you collect vintage pens, add that information.
Adding your interests and hobbies makes people curious about you and want to learn more. The information could lead recruiters contacting you.
After writing the profile, go over it again and edit it. Then, review it again and consider having a friend read it as well for additional input. If you have a website, add your URL on your profile to help recruiters, companies, or others find and contact you.
Optimizing Your Profile
During one of the edits of your LinkedIn profile, spend some time optimizing it. If you are unaware of what optimization it, it is making your profile, or website, easier to find on the internet by using keywords.
Keywords can simplify searching for something by boiling it down to a few words or even one word. For instance, if you wanted to learn more about changing a flat tire, you would go to a search engine like Google and type in “change flat tire.” Those are keywords.
On your profile, when writing your headline, you can emphasize your current position by writing "Copy Editor/Writer/Photographer." When you use keywords or key phrases, it cuts down on the time it takes to find information about you online. Most recruiters use keywords when searching for a specific type of candidate, so adding them to your profile is essential.
Even though you want to use them in your profile, don’t overuse keywords. Instead, use them carefully and try not to use a specific keyword for more than three or four times. “Keyword stuffing” can make it more difficult to find your profile because the algorithm the search engine uses could “punish” your profile and give it a bad ranking, essentially burying it and making it more difficult to find.
Keywords are usually descriptive, so instead of saying you’re an accountant, you can write “finance expert” or “financial advisor.” The areas on your profile that you should focus on when optimizing your page are:
The best way to optimize your name is to include specialized degrees or certifications behind it. For instance, if you are a Certified Public Accountant, then include CPA after your name. If you have a Master’s in computer programming, include the MS behind it.
When writing the headline, you have up to 120 characters. Don't waste the space but use as many of the characters as you can to highlight your brand. For example, a corporate attorney's headline might be Corporate Attorney - Contract Negotiator, Dealmaker, Corporate Advocate.
Expand on this section if it is short. Include more information about your expertise and use the important keywords in your profile in the summary section as well. Summarize who you are and your value as an attorney or accountant or whatever happens to be your occupation.
Include some background information about your education, like your decision to study law, accounting, or photography. Tell anecdotes about your experiences in college and how they helped your career. However, leave out your graduation dates, especially if it was several years ago.
This area is one that few people pay attention too. Although there are only 100 characters at your disposal, you can make them count by adding your job title and its description by concisely providing the information.
While optimizing your information can help recruiters find it, making connections and endorsements is also a good way to maximize your page and draw more attention to it. By gaining more attention, you will have a better chance of finding a new position or new clients.
Add Power Words
While promoting yourself in your profile, use power words as well. Power words are persuasive words that provoke an emotional or psychological response. They can get more people to click on your information because the words you select are interesting and they make them curious to know more about you.
A good example for writing about your experiences on your profile may be to use “Vanity” words in describing your work history. Some of these words are:
If you carefully select them, you could also use “Lust” words throughout your profile, including:
You can find more through a list of power words by searching the internet and using the keywords: “power words.”
Give it Attention
After writing the profile, don’t let your page languish and grow stale. Although you’re a busy professional, you also know that to be successful at something, you need to work on it and cultivate it. Here are some of the ways to nurture your page every day.
Update the Page
Keep the information on your profile up-to-date. If you change jobs, include your new position and change the information to let recruiters know that you’re no longer seeking a new job. Add a new picture or spruce up your skills section if you have new ones. Maybe include your new Search Engine Optimization skills, like successfully using keywords.
When you’re checking on your profile, endorsements will automatically show on your screen. When you come across a colleague or a friend on the site, endorse them and, in turn, they will probably send one back to you.
Connect with Other Users
Start building your network on the site by making connections with other people, even if you don’t know them. Include those you’ve met through networking events, customers, people you admire in your profession, or friends of friends that are in your field. These connections may develop into great friendly or professional relationships.
Share Content AKA Articles
When you come across a good article on another social media platform or website, share it on your page. If it is informative, especially regarding your profession, share it. Also, share the articles from other people on your feed, especially if they are one of your connections. If you find an article valuable, then others may as well.
Write an Article
Okay, stop thinking that you’re not a writer and would never attempt to write a post on the site. You may have professional experiences that others will find valuable and informative. Write at least 400 words about them, add a photo, organize it into a list, and edit it before publishing it. It’s a simple process that almost anyone can do, plus it shows off some of your skills.
Many groups exist on the site that focuses on certain careers, marketing, professional tips, and more. If you want content that is relevant to your field, then find a group of other attorneys or accountants or salespeople and join it. It is a good way to make new connections and learn further information.
Businesswomen need to be more proactive about promoting themselves and their skill sets. They have much to offer the world in terms of experience and skills, but they tend not to promote themselves as aggressively as their male counterparts. However, by learning how does LinkedIn work, they can find the opportunities they want to expand their businesses.