Written by Jesse Sannicandro
I’ve been using LinkedIn actively for a couple of months now and I’ve slowly been learning how to use it effectively. Lately, an important idea I’ve been keeping in mind is making sure that my personal profile has a focus. Many people are unsure of what vocation they want to pursue and there are certainly people who take nonlinear career paths, but, it’s extremely useful to have a general idea of where to start.
The experience section of your profile should be somewhat of a trade-off between what you’ve gained in educational and professional environments. Since I am a student, I focus more on my education. My work experience so far hasn’t been entirely related to the field that I want to enter as a career. Classes that I’ve taken may be more relevant to the industry I want to pursue, so they can take the forefront. This can also be the case for recent graduates who still have yet to gain much meaningful experience. Meanwhile, someone who has been out of school for a while would be able to put more of a focus on their recent jobs. It’s really a matter of give and take between these two realms.
Skills & Endorsements
It’s good to have a lot of skills on your page, but it’s more important to include those that are relevant to the field that you are pursuing—you don’t want to have too many skills. Things that are not related to your industry or future profession should probably not be included on your page. Your first-degree connections can vouch for you by giving you skill endorsements. When other people can verify that you have the skills that you say you have, this increases your credibility and helps to build your personal brand. You are able to organize your top skills and should make sure that your most important ones are at the top so that they can be noticed first. You can do this by putting them in order of importance. It’s possible to hide others’ endorsements so that the skill that shows up first is the one that you feel is most important. To do this, click the pencil icon located to the right of a specific skill and click “Manage Endorsements.” Remember, highlight the skills that are most significant to your field.
Who to follow
You can follow companies and groups that you are interested in to see their posts. You can add causes that you feel passionate about and join groups that pertain to your interests. Not only will this let others know what kind of person you are, but because LinkedIn has an algorithm that tailors suggestions to you, companies that you otherwise would not have thought of can be recommended to you. The more you put into your page, the more you will get out of it.
Once your page has a focus you can start using LinkedIn to its full potential. Based on your groups, connections, and experience that you have listed on your page, LinkedIn will suggest people with whom you may want to connect, and send you jobs that might be appropriate based on your previous jobs. Currently, a lot of people who are suggested to me work at the same companies as me and, because I’m in retail, many of the jobs recommended to me are retail related. I follow several companies and I get to see a lot of posts that interest me as a result. The only thing I have yet to do is join groups and add causes to my page. As I move forward, I’m hoping that my personalized suggestions will be more relevant to my future career goals than my past job experiences. I hope to continue learning about networking and job searching as I continue to use LinkedIn. After all I’ve learned, I have nothing but the highest of hopes for my future in networking on LinkedIn.