An award-winning resume writer, career development coach, and personal branding strategist, QUT alum Gillian Kelly helps people realise their career goals. She shares her top five tips on how to build your network and career opportunities on LinkedIn.
You’ve set up your profile – now what?
The power of LinkedIn as a career tool is immense.
Through its capability, you can engage with potential hirers and recruiters, build your brand, find jobs, and gain valuable insights from its expansive database of people, organisations and articles.
The key to unlocking its benefits is in how you use it. If you just 'set and forget’ your profile, you are seriously missing out on its true power.
Here's how to get the most out of it.
1. Be proactive
The earlier you invest in building your relationships and brand on LinkedIn, the more power you'll have to draw on when you need it. Look for people and groups to follow or connect with who align with your career goals. These might be influencers in your target industry, hirers or professionals in organisations you admire, relevant industry groups, alumni peers, or simply professionals valuable to have in your feed and community.
2. Build your visibility and brand
LinkedIn is a great way to ramp up your industry profile. Write posts and articles on professional topics, add documents or media to showcase your skills or projects, and collect testimonials and skill endorsements for credibility. My tip - spend at least 15 minutes engaging on the platform weekly – short, consistent interaction will optimise your visibility and credibility.
3. Leverage LinkedIn for visibility with target hirers
Hirers highly value referrals and warm introductions. Before you approach or apply to a company for a job, check your network for connections. If you know someone, reach out to see if they have a referral program or if they'd be willing to introduce you to their hiring department. Also, don't forget to follow any organisation you are targeting. Following the company demonstrates your interest in their organisation and can also help you find valuable insights through their posts and company page.
4. Create the right first impression
It would be odd to walk up to a stranger in the street and ask for a favour, and it's weird to do it on LinkedIn too. Don't ask before you give. Start by engaging with people's posts. Compliment an article you found or insightfully comment on a post topic. If you want to connect with someone, make sure to personalise your invite by telling them how you know them and why you want to connect. This will increase the likelihood of the person accepting your request. My top tip – record a quick voice message in the messaging area after they accept, thanking them for connecting and letting them know you are looking forward to reading their posts.
5. Take full advantage of LinkedIn's job search functionality
LinkedIn is its own job board but with additional perks. Not only can you set up alerts for suitable job opportunities, but you can search for jobs advertised by people in your network. You can also signal recruiters you are open to recruitment. LinkedIn is a public platform. Make sure to study and consider all the privacy settings before you start. These settings are critical if you are currently employed. Be cautious with what you post to make sure it will help rather than hurt your career.
More about Gillian
Gillian Kelly is an award-winning multi-certified resume writer, seasoned professional career development coach, and personal branding strategist, who has helped thousands of people to capitalise on their talents and realise their career goals. As Head of Talent Marketing and founder of Outplacement Australia and The Career Agency, Gillian has supported the staff of workforces across Australia undertaking complex transformation. Gillian completed a Bachelor of Business Management at QUT.