Thereâ€™s no doubt LinkedIn is a crucial social network if you care about your career. A recent Jobvite study noted that 73 percent of all hires made through social networks were via LinkedIn and 41 percent of employee referrals for jobs involved LinkedIn. I was fortunate to be able to visit LinkedIn headquarters early this month. (That’s a picture in front of one of LinkedIn’s logos.)
I had a chance to speak to Brad Mauney, LinkedIn’s senior product manager, search & social graph. There’s not much more important than being found, especially if you’re in a job search. One of the most useful aspects of any social media platform is the opportunity for people to find you. The adage, â€œIf Google doesnâ€™t know you, you may be no one,â€ is becoming more prevalent in todayâ€™s socially focused environment. LinkedIn tends to rank very well in Google searches, so having an optimized profile is one useful way to be found online.
Itâ€™s also important to stand out within LinkedIn. When someone is searching for a candidate with your expertise in that network, how can you help ensure your profile comes up high in their search results? Mauney explained that part of the algorithm LinkedIn uses to determine where you rank in a given search takes into account 1) how often your profile comes up in LinkedInâ€™s search results and 2) how often searchers click through to view your information when it does appear.
How can you influence this elusive aspect of being found in LinkedIn? Mauney emphasizes the importance of creating a profile that engages viewers and entices them to click through to learn more about you.
How can you encourage people to want to know more about you on LinkedIn? Mauney suggests the following:
Include a picture in your profile. Krista Canfield, LinkedInâ€™s senior manager, corporate communications, says, â€œFolks who have a photo are seven times more likely to have their profile viewed in general than folks who donâ€™t have a photo.â€ While the statistic does not include data about the type of photo, itâ€™s a good idea to use a picture where you appear friendly and approachable. Smile, and be sure you look like yourself, but on a good day! Use appropriate lighting; a professional photo is a great idea, but if that is not possible, take a close-up of your face, wearing clothing that isnâ€™t distracting or busy.
Write an engaging headline. What can you include in your headline to pique a readerâ€™s curiosity? Since your headline appears in search results, it naturally affects how many people decide to click through to learn more about you. Since you can improve your overall ranking in search by earning more click-throughs, pay special attention to your headline. Mauney suggests incorporating an elevator pitch in the headline and not limiting it to your current job title.
Grow your network. Another important factor influencing click-throughs is whether or not you are connected to the person searching. Statistically, people are more likely to click through to learn more about someone if they share a common connection. (Search results list levels of connectivity.) Mauney says a baseline of at least 50 people in your LinkedIn network is important to help users begin to see a real benefit from their connections. He noted that a â€œtrusted networkâ€ is the most useful, and encouraged LinkedIn users to connect with people they actually know or do business with.
Other suggestions to help people find you on LinkedIn?
Completely fill out your LinkedIn profile with as many details as possible.
Think about the searcherâ€™s intent.
Titles and â€œheadlinesâ€ are important in LinkedIn.
Use LinkedInâ€™s various tools, including â€œgroupsâ€ and â€œanswers.â€