Unlocking the power of LinkedIn

Anna Johnston
August 6, 2019 · 3 min read

Most of the 660 million people on LinkedIn aren’t getting the best out of the world’s most powerful professional social network

If you’ve ever wondered what happened to that old colleague from years ago, the chances are you’ve looked them up on LinkedIn. That’s what it’s for, right? Well, yes, but that’s only a tiny part of it. If you’re using LinkedIn for the sole purpose of nosing around old rivals’ profiles, you’re missing massive opportunities to network, promote yourself and get inside information on your market.

LinkedIn could get you your dream job

Did you know…

An estimated 95 percent of recruiters use LinkedIn to find candidates, and for them, you’re a no or a maybe within the first few seconds of seeing your profile. So make it strong! For you, the jobseeker, LinkedIn has some cool tools, too. Know what you want from a potential employer? Just hashtag it on the content feed and find the companies that fit. So if you’re a dog mom or dad, try “#dogfriendly” and see what comes up.

If you’re sharing content, engagement is king

The more people like, share, and comment on your content, the more it shows up in people’s news feeds. If you want to reach a lot of people, you need to write your own articles. LinkedIn’s algorithms prefer native articles to links to the sites of other companies, but you can still link to your company at the bottom of the article. If an article is truly valuable to your audience, people will share it and your audience will grow.

Tell the world who you are

If you’re one of those people who doesn’t like to sell themselves, get over it! You don’t need to say how wonderful you are. Just let your achievements speak for themselves. Make sure you connect with colleagues and classmates from every place you’ve worked or studied, because every endorsement or recommendation they give you boosts your profile.

If you’re a Nexford learner, add Nexford University to your education section and every time you earn a badge or certificate, add it to your achievements section.

That way, recruiters looking for job-ready candidates will find you in seconds.

Employers often search for keywords on LinkedIn when they’re looking for candidates, so make sure you mention all of yours. According to our research, the skills that today’s employers want most are digital fluency, creative thinking, decision-making, collaboration, civic responsibility, lifelong learning, customer-centric thinking and cultural and emotional intelligence. We surveyed more than 30 million job vacancies and spoke to leaders who employ more than 2.5 million people worldwide to create all our programs, from our MBA to our certificates for specific skills.

Your professional brand is key to all new opportunities, to build your brand and set yourself up for success.

What not to do: what most people do

So many people use LinkedIn in a “hit ‘em and hope” kind of way. They send boring, automatic requests or content to people who they want to connect with. They don’t look at the situation from the perspective of that person, who wants to know how they’ll benefit from the connection or content. They “like” articles without reading them, share promotional content from their company that brings nothing to the people who’ll see it and message people over and over again about their product or service to try get them to buy something.

It’s painful to watch. But it doesn’t have to be that way. With a bit of knowledge and training, LinkedIn can make the difference between an average career and a spectacular one. The secret is in what you can do for the other users. When you give them what they want, you get what you want.

  • Make your profile as rich in content as possible

  • Write an attention-grabbing headline and include your education – Nexford learners connect with the entire Nexford community, which has a positive effect on your network

  • Dedicate 30 minutes a day to focus on one aspect of LinkedIn. That could be expanding your network, promoting your business, contributing to a discussion or publishing your own content

  • Decide what you want to get out of LinkedIn and explore all the different ways to do that before you pay for any services like premium accounts or paid marketing

  • Disable the “notify your network” feature, which automatically tells all your contacts every time you do anything on LinkedIn. Nobody needs to know you changed your profile photo at 07.23 this morning

  • Request recommendations from anyone you’ve worked with – that includes your university peers! Peer-to-peer feedback is powerful

  • Want to connect with people faster? If you go through their profile, you have to enter how you know them. Shortcut this by typing their name in the search bar and clicking “connect”

  • Think people only care about your job title. Relationships on LinkedIn are formed based on first impressions and perceptions. Education, recommendations and interests really make all the difference

  • Write an essay for your bio. It makes you look inexperienced. Less is more. But remember to mention key words and definitely don’t leave it blank or empty

  • Let people know when you’ve visited their page. We all do it, but nobody likes a snooper! You can make yourself anonymous in your settings

  • Display all your contacts on your profile page unless you don’t mind people stealing them. If you run your own business, you might want to keep your clients away from competitors

  • Just send LinkedIn’s standard message. Personalizing your messages and requests will get you more contacts, and better relationships

  • Share content any more than two or three times a week. It’s overwhelming and you look like you have nothing else to do.

Get more insights to build your personal brand in our Roadmap for Success course. Read more about it – and many other courses – here.

About the author
Anna Johnston
Anna Johnston

Anna Johnston is an award-winning Head of Content, who tells galvanizing stories with a creative team at Nexford.

Anna was the overall Award 2020 winner for the business case: Satya Nadella at Microsoft: Instilling a Growth Mindset, with Professor Herminia Ibarra and Aneeta Rattan. She is formerly a writer at London Business School, consistently ranked among the world’s best its MBA.

Anna’s work has been published in Forbes, Thomson Reuters, Huffington Post, HR Magazine, the Financial Times, and thought-leading firms such as Accenture and McKinsey & Company.

Anna is a speaker, coach, and presenter. More information about her can be found on LinkedIn.

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