Three Steps to Help Clients Create an Engaging LinkedIn Presence
By Gail McCowan
In today’s job market it is important to assist clients in leveraging LinkedIn in their job search. Getting the most out of this valuable tool starts with, but goes beyond, creating a profile. This article will cover why LinkedIn is important in the job seeking process and outline three important steps to take with clients to create an engaging presence.
The Importance of LinkedIn
A few key statistics prove the case that personal connections are crucial in the job seeking process and that LinkedIn is a vital piece of this networking puzzle. Consider:
- 85% of jobs are filled through networking (Zippia, 2022)
- 80% of jobs are not listed on job posting sites (Zippia, 2022)
- 77% of recruiters regularly use LinkedIn (Osman, 2022).
These numbers show that connecting with employees at target companies is an essential part of job seeking, something LinkedIn can greatly assist with, and recruiters are actively looking at job candidates on the site. A robust LinkedIn presence can therefore be crucial to a client’s success.
Here are three steps a career professional can take to ensure their clients are leveraging the power of this platform.
Step 1: Build
Everything on LinkedIn begins with the profile, and the first step the career professional will want to take with a client should be to create or edit the profile to align with the client’s career goal. The individual’s background should be presented in a compelling way that answers two key questions:
- What value does this individual add to the workplace?
- How do they do it uniquely?
To accomplish this, help the client to first determine the right keywords to include. It is critical to highlight the skills, experience, and education that a recruiter or hiring manager is looking for. Some resources to identify keywords are:
- Resume scanning websites like JobScan.com
With JobScan.com you can input a resume or LinkedIn profile along with a job posting to generate a Match Report which highlights whether or not the right keywords have been included.
- AI tools such as Rewordify.com
Svei (2023) explained how to use the parts of speech feature at Rewordify.com to focus on the nouns in a job posting and identify keywords .
- Word cloud generators such as WordArt.com or jasondavies.com/wordcloud
These websites allow users to create a visual representation of how frequently a word appears in a job posting, which can be an indicator of important keywords.
Once keywords are identified, they should be used throughout the profile, including the Headline, About, Experience, and Education sections.
It is not enough, however, to have keywords on the profile. The client will also need to demonstrate how they used these skills and what they accomplished with them. A simple skills list or stating only the tasks completed, without the impact of those actions, will lead to a LinkedIn profile that is bland and forgettable and will not communicate the value the client offers in the workplace. One good way to highlight the individual’s impact is to follow the STAR method. The Resume Worded Editorial Team (2022) described how using the STAR acronym, which stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result, ensures that descriptions include not just what was done but also the outcome of that action.
Like keywords, accomplishments should be included in several parts of the client’s profile including the Headline, About, and Experience sections.
Step 2: Connect
After the profile is complete, the second step is to help the client to connect with professionals who can be valuable in their network. Clients should first connect with people they know in all areas of their life, including coworkers, clients, family, friends, neighbors, and people from activities or hobbies. Next, to find additional connections, career professionals can guide the client in the use of filters to locate people the client should network with. There are many ways to use filters to search on LinkedIn, two of which are outlined below.
To find a person in a particular role at a target company, follow these steps:
1. Type a company name in the search bar and press ENTER
2. Select the People filter
3. Select All Filters
4. Choose the filters for the search, for example: location, current company, past company, connections, title
5. If the results are unsatisfactory, adjust the filters and repeat.
To find people posting about job related terms or about hiring, follow these steps:
1. Type the job-related term(s) or hiring in search bar and press ENTER
2. Select the Posts filter
3. Select All filters
4. Enter an Author Company to see posts from targets
Step 3: Share
Sharing, including commenting on other people’s posts, and creating posts of your own, is an often overlooked practice that greatly increases the value of LinkedIn. Clients need to be an active participant in the LinkedIn community and the career professional can guide clients through the sharing process.
For those new to sharing on LinkedIn, a first step would be to comment on other’s posts. Belcak (2020) outlined a simple process to leave thoughtful comments in less than 15 minutes a day. Career professionals can instruct clients to use the filter search above to find content creators in their industry, identify recent posts, and write a few sentences to comment on those posts, while marking the time on your phone to limit yourself to 15 minutes daily. By starting these conversations, clients are likely to get noticed by others making comments, which will increase their chance to make helpful connections on LinkedIn.
Beyond commenting, clients should also create posts of their own. According to Osman, only an estimated 1% of LinkedIn users post regularly (2022). Regular posting is a great opportunity for clients to engage with other LinkedIn users while conveying the value they add in the workplace.
Posts can be about subjects such as news in the client’s industry, a professional event, or a pivotal story from their career. Research from van der Blom (2023) on the LinkedIn algorithm provides insight on maximizing the reach of your client’s posts, including:
- Nurture your posts by responding to all the comments
- Slide decks, videos, polls, and multiple pictures posts perform best
- Engagement received in the first 90 minutes is crucial.
Networking is an essential part of any effective job search, and LinkedIn is a valuable tool to accomplish this. Career professionals can assist their clients to use LinkedIn successfully by crafting a targeted and compelling profile, coaching them to identify and connect with the right professionals, and leveraging how they share information on LinkedIn through comments and posts.
Belcak, A. (2020, November 17). 3 LinkedIn tips guaranteed to skyrocket your visibility. Things Career Related. https://thingscareerrelated.com/2020/11/17/3-linkedin-tips-guaranteed-to-skyrocket-your-visibility/
Flynn, J. (2022). 25+ important networking statistics: The power of connections in the workplace. Zippia. https://www.zippia.com/advice/networking-statistics/
Osman, M. (2022, December 8). Mind-blowing linkedin statistics and facts. Kinsta. https://kinsta.com/blog/linkedin-statistics/
Resume Worded Editorial Team. (2022, December 6). How to use the STAR method to write the perfect resume. Resume Worded. https://resumeworded.com/star-method-resume-key-advice
Svei, D. (2023, January 7). Awesome new tool for resume keywords. AvidCareerist. https://www.avidcareerist.com/2019/09/16/resume-keywords/
van der Blom, R. (2023, January 7). So here we go, once again the Top 21 Tips of the LinkedIn Algorithm Report with new background information. LinkedIn. Retrieved January 10, 2023 from https://www.linkedin.com/posts/richardvanderblom_crack-the-linkedin-algorithm-top-21-insights-activity-7017414042185031680-U1MC?utm_source=share&utm_medium=member_desktop
Gail McCowan, CCSP, is an educator and career coach who is passionate about helping others reach their career goals. As a Career and Professional Development instructor at the largest community college in North Carolina, she teaches courses on a full range of job seeking skills to diverse audiences. In addition, she is a Career & Job Search Consultant with Careers Uncomplicated and volunteers at Dress for Success Triangle NC as a career coach and trainer. Gail holds an MBA from the Kenan-Flagler business school at UNC Chapel Hill, and a BS degree from Northwestern University. She can be reached at www.linkedin.com/in/gailmccowan