“How bored are you from 0 to checking LinkedIn?” I recently saw this question posed on a meme and had a chuckle to myself because, for a lot of us, the implication here is true. LinkedIn has over one million Irish users but how often are we actually updating our profiles and engaging with our connections? If I’m honest, the answer is not very often.
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are usually seen as the fun, colourful social platforms that offer a welcome distraction from the working day. LinkedIn, on the other hand, is often deemed the “boring” social network, nothing more than an online CV that needs to be updated when we’re looking for work. And that’s the mistake we’re all making! LinkedIn is so much more than that and there is a huge professional benefit to regularly updating our profiles, even if we’re 100% happy in our jobs. Here’s why…
You never know who’s looking
Our recent Employment Monitor found that 96% of employees would consider leaving their job if a better role came up. Even if you’re not actively searching for work, it’s important to be aware of opportunities in your industry. Every day, employers and recruiters take to the LinkedIn search bar to source passive candidates just like you.
Whether or not they get in touch will be based on where you appear in the search results and the quality of your online profile. Much like Google, LinkedIn privileges “fresh” accounts that are regularly updated. To stay at the top of the pile, you should tweak your job description every few weeks and ensure it contains all the right keywords. This means you are more likely to be contacted when fantastic jobs come up.
You’re in control of your personal brand
It’s not just employers that could be sussing you out. Potential colleagues, clients and partners will also make a first impression of you based on your profile. If your page is out of date, with no image or very little information, they may find someone else to do business with or see you in a negative light.
LinkedIn is one of the few places where you are completely in control of the professional image you are portraying. You have space to talk in depth about your experience – not just your current role, but also your education background, interests, awards and any volunteering which makes you unique. Paint a well-rounded picture of yourself and you’ll reap the benefits throughout your career.
You can show off what you know
It can be hard promoting yourself in the workplace without coming across as arrogant or boastful. LinkedIn allows us to demonstrate our industry knowledge in a way that’s often difficult to do in real life. Sharing valuable content and regularly engaging in group discussions increases your professional credibility and sets you apart from others in your industry. It also keeps you on your toes – you have to have a thorough understanding of terms used, topics discussed and jokes shared in your sector.
You’re saving time and effort down the line
Let’s face it, you never know what the future holds and when you might end up looking for work. It’s much easier to update your profile as you go along, rather than trying to remember details of noteworthy projects and impressive reports later on. It’s usually advised that your CV doesn’t exceed two pages, which can be a bit limiting when it comes to detailing all of your career successes.
You have much more scope on LinkedIn so when you hit a target or achieve a goal, make a note of it. It’s also a lot harder to make connections in bulk when you leave a job – LinkedIn may even see this as spam-like activity and blacklist you. Connect with people as you meet them and you’ll have a decent social network to refer to in the future.
LinkedIn is an amazing tool for increasing your professional visibility and credibility, that much is clear. It can also be, dare I say it, pretty fun. Where else can you share jokes about your industry and actually get a laugh? With all that in mind, I think it’s time I took a dose of my own medicine and got updating. Shouldn’t you too?