While most of us are familiar with Facebook and Instagram, LinkedIn is the often-ignored social channel, until it’s time to look for a new job. But there is so much more than job searching on offer.

LinkedIn is a place where you can keep in touch with your connections, make new ones, learn new skills, stay on top of trends, and find out about jobs. It's a chance to build your personal brand, and showcase your expertise.

LinkedIn is the online equivalent of a networking event. But, instead of in person, you can connect with more people at once without having to leave your lounge room or office. 

Tips to get the most out of LinkedIn

  1. Spend time completing your profile

    Put some effort into your profile. Think about what you want to be known for, what you're good at, and what's next for you. Take advantage of the media feature that lets you upload a file showcasing your work and try to complete all the sections of your profile.

    Build out your profile to attract new connections and the job you want to go for, not the job you have now.

    Tip: LinkedIn doesn't replace your resume, but supports it with the stories you want to tell.

  2. Show a current profile picture

    Make sure it's a good one where you can clearly see your face, and that it's just you. No cropping people out, and no pictures of when you looked good 10 years ago, and definitely don’t leave it as an avatar. No one trusts an avatar.

    Tip: To get a good photo ask a colleague to take one of you standing in front of a plain background. Good lighting is essential. If you are seriously trying to raise your profile, consider investing in professional photos.

  3. The words you use matter

    LinkedIn uses similar techniques to Google to help people find you, known as SEO (search engine optimisation). So, if you want to be found, make sure you’re searchable and get found for the expertise you have, or the next job you’re going for.

    Tip: Read through job descriptions and adverts to pick up on the key themes and words that recruiters will likely search for when matching candidates and pepper them through your profile.

  4. Manage your feed

    LinkedIn can be a great source of inspiration and a way to keep up with the latest and greatest ideas for your industry. Be sure to follow people, companies and news outlets who are of interest to you. Your feed is sorted by top stories (most popular), or most recent.

    Tip: It’s easier to set your preference while on a desktop. The option appears to the right at the top of your feed.

  5. You can learn new things

    Many individuals and companies share info on SlideShare, LinkedIn’s education platform, which means there are great resources to be found. Most of them are free. LinkedIn is also trialling a mentoring matching service that you can be a part of, also free.

    Tip: Seriously consider the mentor program. If you’re experienced, this is your chance to put your skills to use and help someone’s career or if your career is at cross road, a mentor could help steer you in the right direction. Win:Win.

  6. To be good at Social - you have to be Social!

    Most of us wait until we’re looking for a job to be active, but it’s a good idea to start interacting way before a new job is in your sight. It’s a great way to raise your profile, and be noticed for those unexpected job opportunities that may come up.

    - like, comment, share
    - be helpful
    - interact

    You’ll make new connections, and grow your network at the same time.

    Tip: Don't share something without adding your own personal slant on it. Comment about why it's interesting, whether you agree or disagree with the article etc.

  7. LinkedIn isn’t Facebook - so don't overshare

    There’s a fine line for being personable, and being personal. Leave your selfies and weekend antics for Facebook and Instagram. You can still share personal stories and photos on LinkedIn but be selective in what you share.

    Tip: Personal stories should always support the perception you're trying to cultivate (your personal brand). Posts that get traction include personal achievements (winning an award, or finishing a degree), stories of volunteering, or stories of how you've helped.
     

  8. Privacy settings

    You can control how visible your profile is, by choosing what information you want to share publicly, and what information you want to only show your connections. Recently, LinkedIn added a visibility option (similar to Messenger) so if you don’t want people to know you’re online, make sure you turn that off. You can check your privacy options under personal settings > privacy.

    Tip: When you’re updating your profile, turn off the notification button until you’re happy with it – that way you won’t notify your network every time you change a word or heading. Once you are happy, turn the notification button back on and share the final version as it will help you get noticed.
     

  9. Looking for a job?

    Make sure you turn on the ‘Open Candidates’ feature and fill in the info you’re prompted to provide.

    If you're worried your employer will know you're looking for a job, you don't have to anymore, as, according to LinkedIn: "Now, you can privately indicate to recruiters on LinkedIn without worrying. We will hide the Open Candidates signal from recruiters at your company or affiliated company" - Recruiters^2.

    Tip: If you see a job you like, check on your connections and see if anyone you know works there and reach out to them for a recommendation. Sometimes, it’s not what you know but who you know!

LinkedIn is more than a job hunters site, with many opportunities to learn, connect and discover. If you haven’t already set up a profile, you can do so here.