LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional and business networking website. The social media network is now owned by Microsoft and announced in 2017 that it had surpassed 500 million global (and active) members. If you have been asking yourself why you should make time to engage on LinkedIn as a career professional, the value for the amount of time you put into building (and updating) your professional profile has a number of benefits.
- Companies use LinkedIn to check background information on prospective candidates for hiring.
- Recruiters actively use LinkedIn to source qualified professionals for career opportunities.
- Networking on the social network can help you build a global community of professionals and businesses who can learn more about your skills and refer you to unpublicized opportunities.
Making the time to stay active on LinkedIn is a daily discipline. Not only should you invest time in building your LinkedIn profile to the “All Star” status, but you should be adding content every week. What kind of content can professionals share on LinkedIn?
Articles for LinkedIn Pulse
As a career professional, you have many experiences and insights to share about your industry and career. If you enjoy writing, aim to add one new article per month to your LinkedIn profile (particularly if you are seeking a new career opportunity).
The blog articles you write are circulated to all members of LinkedIn, through LinkedIn Pulse. Prospective employers and recruiters can also peruse the articles you have written, as they are visible on your profile page.
Not only does this help LinkedIn spotlight your profile (you will notice your views on the social network will increase), but it helps demonstrate your knowledge and skills, and commitment to your career. It’s a proactive way to create a great impression with employers.
Links to News Related to Your Industry
The mobile version of LinkedIn is easy to navigate from your smartphone, and you can search Google for trending news articles that pertain to your industry, to share on LinkedIn. But don’t just share the link; read the article and share what you thought about the topic. Your comments on industry news helps to demonstrate that you are constantly keeping in touch with changes in your industry, or organization.
If you are not looking for a new career opportunity and want to share information about your employer brand and organization, do so with discretion. Employees are encouraged to share charitable events and philanthropic activities, blogs or new product/service announcements. Your employer will appreciate your engagement and online advocacy and support of the organization.
There are many types of social media scheduling software that can make this job easier, if sharing on a daily basis is a challenge for your schedule. Consider getting a free plan, and then writing 1-2 weeks of social media posts for your Twitter and LinkedIn accounts and prescheduling them to deliver automatically.
Remember that one of the best ways to be ‘seen’ by prospective employers (or recognized within your profession) is to be active, engaged and sharing your positive thoughts about your industry. People who make the time to do this, find that new employer’s value the effort and intention.
Why Do Recommendations on LinkedIn Matter?
There is no fact checking limitations in place on the content the individuals provide on their LinkedIn profile. How does an employer know if the claims being made by the professional are real and valid? That’s where the value of recommendations becomes apparent. You are providing proof that the skills you have identified are part of your performance history.
And that matters quite a lot to both recruiters and employers, who may be looking at hundreds of individuals with the same skillsets. It helps your profile stand out. Additionally, every individual who provides you with a recommendation is linked to you; recruiters can connect with them on LinkedIn to ask more questions.
Another benefit is that when you are required to provide personal recommendations on a CV, you can use the ones provided for you already on LinkedIn. It helps keep your work history, peer and management feedback organized so that you can use it for your job search. No more scrambling for written recommendations; they’ll be neatly organized on your profile and ready to go.
Who Should You Request a Recommendation From?
Many people believe that you should only request a recommendation from a current or previous manager or supervisor. Individuals who managed you directly can provide valuable and credible insights into personal skills such as communication, team work, creative problem solving etc. But it’s not only the recommendation of Managers that carries weight with prospective future employers (and recruiters).
Having feedback from individuals who worked with you in the same department is extremely valuable. LinkedIn recommendations from former colleagues offer a unique impression of the kind of relationships that you are able to build, within the organization you work for.
If you worked extensively on several projects in the same department, or if you were a contract service provider working with a team, feedback from peers is extremely valuable. And sometimes easier to acquire than reaching out to a busy executive for a referral which they may (or may not) be willing to provide you.
Remember also that some organizations have a policy against providing personal recommendations, either in the standard written format or on LinkedIn. If you are unable to acquire a recommendation from a previous manager or supervisor, but you would like to highlight your contribution and performance for the company, reach out instead to current (or former) co-workers.
LinkedIn Makes It Easy to Request a Recommendation
The social network has two very convenient features, that allow you to personally request a recommendation on LinkedIn. First you will have to find the individual on LinkedIn. At the top left of the individual’s profile page, there is a button to MESSAGE them and a drop-down menu MORE. Click the arrow below MORE and select the “Request a Recommendation”.
A second window will appear with two fields of information you will need to select from the list provided:
- Relationship (or how do you know the person?)
- Position at The Time (the title you held and business you were employed with, when you worked directly with or for the individual.
In that same area, you can also provide a recommendation for the peer or former co-worker. They will receive a notification that you have left the comment, and they have an opportunity to review it and publish it or decline to publish it.
When you have provided a LinkedIn recommendation, the individual receiving it also has an opportunity to request a revision of it and edit some of the details if they are inaccurate. A good strategy if you have not received a response from them after requesting a recommendation, is to provide on first to your peer or former manager. That can prompt them to reciprocate in kind.
If you have never asked for a recommendation on LinkedIn, now is a good time to start. But before you begin sending your requests through LinkedIn, remember to invest some time to polish your profile. Include all relevant job history, education, hobbies and volunteer work to share some of the highlights of your accomplishments and expertise. And when you are networking professionally, it is also good practice to send a connection request on LinkedIn after a meeting. This helps to grow the size of your professional network, and helps to keep you connected to other professionals within your industry.