How to build a professional online presence

Find out how to build a professional online presence on LinkedIn, from tips for beginners to how LinkedIn can be used to improve a job application.

In today’s increasingly digital world, creating a professional online presence could be the key to standing out from the competition when it comes to job applications. It’s not unusual for a potential employer to check your online footprint during the recruitment process. By thinking strategically about how you present yourself online, you can strengthen your chances of success during your job search.

Today, we’re taking a closer look at how to use social media to strengthen your career opportunities – in particular, by harnessing the power of LinkedIn. We’re covering how to build a professional presence on LinkedIn, how you can use LinkedIn to get a job, and how LinkedIn can be used to improve a job application.

Keep reading to find out how to put your best foot forward online during your job search.

How to build a professional online presence on LinkedIn

How should a beginner use LinkedIn?

If you want to boost your career by curating a professional online presence and you’re not on LinkedIn, signing up should be your first step. LinkedIn is a business and career-focused social media platform that many professionals use for networking, recruiting and managing their professional identity. With 1 billion members all engaging with all things work and employment, it’s unquestionably the best online space to be in when it comes to your career.

Here's our starters guide:
1. Join LinkedIn

Joining LinkedIn is straightforward. Simply visit the sign-up page and enter the details required. You need an email address and first and last name to get started (LinkedIn does not allow company names or pseudonyms).

2. Choose your photo

Building an effective profile is the first step to getting noticed on LinkedIn. Your profile photo is the first thing people will see, so choose one that represents you well. A high-quality headshot is a fail-safe option, but a self-taken smartphone photo can also do the job. Stay away from group shots, partying photos and overly filtered selfies.

3. Showcase your skills

Once you’ve added a photo, you can begin to highlight your unique skills and experience. Each LinkedIn profile has sections for a bio, experience, education, licenses & certifications and skills. Employers want well-rounded staff, so always use every opportunity to showcase your unique strengths.

4. Build connections

LinkedIn is all about growing your online network. Begin by connecting with people you already know, whether that’s friends, past colleagues or classmates. Then you can begin to broaden your network by connecting with other people within your industry.

5. Engage with connections

LinkedIn is ultimately a social platform, so be social! Join relevant LinkedIn groups, comment on posts and participate in discussions. This will boost your profile, help you show up in search results and get you seen by more people – ideal for when you’re searching for a job.

How can LinkedIn be used to improve a job application?

Many people wonder how to use LinkedIn to get a job. Essentially a platform for digital CVs, LinkedIn is a gold mine when it comes to career opportunities. An incredible 61 million people use LinkedIn to search for jobs each week, so if you’re not among them you could be missing out.

LinkedIn has a dedicated careers section where you can easily search for relevant jobs that match your skills and qualifications. Once you find a job you’re interested in, there are two ways to apply. ‘Easy Apply’ allows you to apply for the job directly on LinkedIn, while ‘Apply’ will take you to a third-party website to apply. Whichever option you choose, you should still ensure your LinkedIn profile is optimised and presents you in the best possible light.

Here are some additional tips for using LinkedIn to improve your next job application process

• Write a headline that makes you stand out. Your photo, name and headline are the first things LinkedIn displays in search results, so your headline should showcase who you are and what you bring to a role. It should include your current job title or highlight the unique value you can add.

• Show you’re open to work. LinkedIn’s #OpenToWork feature allows you to select the roles you’re interested in, employment type and location, including remote opportunities. You can set the visibility to public which will add an #OpenToWork photo frame, or choose to limit the visibility to recruiters only.

• Join industry discussions and contribute to collaborative articles. LinkedIn often invites relevant users to add their perspectives to articles, so if you have something of value to say, get involved. You can even write your own article if you’re an expert on a topic and want to share your expertise. Sharing opinions is a great way to get your name out there and impress any potential employers.

• Set up job alerts to stay updated with any new opportunities that match your preferences. You can choose whether to receive notifications daily or weekly, and they can be delivered through app notifications, email or both.

• Connect with recruiters in your area, and don’t be afraid to reach out. Recruiters actively use LinkedIn to search for talent, and many reach out to multiple people a day. Sending a personalised message with your connection request to explain why you’re interested in connecting can go a long way.

Harnessing the power of LinkedIn is a great way to boost your online professional presence and improve your chances of securing your dream job. Use LinkedIn to your advantage by ensuring you’re active and seen by the right people, and you’ll quickly find yourself making valuable connections that could benefit your job search.

Would you like more advice on optimising your professional online presence? We offer high-quality careers services for young people and adults. Please call C+K on 01484 242000 or email enquiries@ckcareers.co.uk to benefit from our high-quality, impartial careers guidance and advice services.

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