Opinion

8 LinkedIn features that’ll make you stand out from the crowd

LinkedIn is a fantastic tool for online networking, job seeking and researching employers. Once a niche social media platform, in November 2014 it recorded more than 332 million members in over 200 countries and territories!

Clearly, the site is a big player when it comes to being seen by the right people: recruiters, employers and other important contacts.

But are you on LinkedIn? If not, and you are looking for new opportunities maybe it’s time to sign up and show the world your expertise, experience and qualifications. You may well attract recruiters like Pure’s consultants who are looking for someone with your background. Or an employer who frequently browses profiles, keeping an eye out for new talent.

LinkedIn is forever evolving, adding handy functions. We’ve taken a good look at its features for you, and highlighted the ones that we think will make your profile shine.

1. Customise your profile URL
Creating an easy-to-remember and readable URL on your LinkedIn profile makes it easier for you and other people to share. If you don’t do this, the website will generate a generic URL, which looks clunky and untidy. A customised URL looks like this: http://uk.linkedin.com/in/tomearl. It’s a very straightforward - simply edit the URL underneath your profile photo.

2. Join a professional group
LinkedIn groups are ideal getting your name out there and keeping up with industry developments. By answering other people’s questions and contributing to online discussions you’ll be demonstrating your enthusiasm and expertise. As long as you think carefully about what you’re going to say before you start typing, it can be a very valuable tool.

3. Choose your skills carefully
You can select key skills that you want other people to endorse. But be careful what you choose since recruiters and employers may judge you on these. People who’ve worked with you will endorse the skills that they’ve seen you use. So if you’ve selected ‘project management’ and you’re genuinely experienced in this area, you’ll probably see ex-colleagues endorse that skill on your profile. The ones with the most endorsements will take priority on your skills list.

4. Make your headline snappy
When it comes to adding the relevant careers information, lots of people only focus on employment history, education, qualifications and training courses. But you also need to work on your headline. Click on ‘edit profile’, then go to the little pencil icon next to your headline (that’s the bit underneath your name), and write something that sums up what you offer to employers. You’ve only got 120 characters, so make it snappy!

5. Ask for an introduction
If there’s someone you’re dying to get in touch with, perhaps a mutual contact can introduce you. Just like networking in the ‘real world’, asking someone to introduce you to a third party can be a powerful tactic. LinkedIn has an online version of this. Remember to be professional when you make a request, and be clear about why you’d like to be introduced since the message may be forwarded on to the new contact.

6. Who’s checking you out?
This useful LinkedIn feature lets you see who’s viewing your profile! Not only is it fascinating to see who’s reading your information, but you can also see how many profile visits you’re getting. Simply hover your cursor over ‘Profile’ at the top of your homepage, and ‘Who’s viewed your profile’ will automatically drop down. Click on this to see who’s visited. You can connect with new people who are already familiar with your skills.

7. Use your updates
Make the most of your updates. Add a useful website article or a video for other people to view. This increases your visibility on the homepage, potentially catching the attention of your connections – and your connections’ connections!

8. Look the part
Don’t use a personal party snap on your profile! Get a friendly, professional-looking head shot taken. Since people’s eyes are naturally drawn to images on the web, your photo needs to give the best possible first impression.

We think that you’ll agree that these LinkedIn features are just brilliant for your professional reputation. But remember there’s no substitute for getting off the internet and picking up the phone to speak directly to recruiters who have a wealth of available jobs in the East of England.