LinkedIn serves as a social media channel for professionals and companies to network, recruit, communicate and market. These days it is a really good idea to have a LinkedIn profile which will double as a sort of digital CV for prospective employers who could potentially find you before you find them.
There’s a few ways to build your LinkedIn presence up as an IT professional working in New Zealand. We’ll cover off some of these today, but if you have some good LinkedIn advice we want to hear from you!
Add a good quality, authentic photo
A LinkedIn without a photo is really going to run the risk of not even being viewed by recruiters or potential connections. Your profile photo on LinkedIn should be reasonably professional, but don’t be afraid to use an image with a bit of personality. Make sure your photo is clear and your face is not obstructed. While these aren’t passport photos, you want to avoid long shots which can make it hard for people to see what you look like. Also to avoid are pictures with other people and selfies.
Smiling is always a good idea – overly serious or frowning is not a good idea regardless of the level of job you’re going for.
Beyond the profile picture, you should consider adding a cover photo too. Here you can add some extra personality and communicate things like – where you live, what your interests are, something industry specific, etc. Just make sure the cover photo doesn’t distract from your profile photo, or indeed any other part of your LinkedIn page.
Write a clear headline
The headline on LinkedIn is really important to have updated as this field is what shows under profiles within the network/search results. Consider including your current job title and where this is. Or, if you want to stay agnostic of employer, you can call out your primary skill as a role, e.g. Front End Developer.
Some IT professionals may look to go further, including a headline that’s more active. For example, a front end web developer may have a headline like “Creating responsive websites that help Kiwis get what they need online”. Just be careful here that it’s still clear from the headline what value you offer.
Tell your story through the summary
The LinkedIn summary field is often left blank and this is a missed opportunity. Outside of your name, headline, location and job experience, the summary provides professionals a glimpse into who you are and your view on the IT industry. Where do you see it going?
A good LinkedIn summary will tie in your experience, skills and thoughts in a paragraph. Don’t be afraid to be confident in your summary but take care not to overstate what you do. New Zealand culture’s emphasis on humility does extend to the professional environment too!
Keep location and industry details updated
It might seem obvious, but often we see LinkedIn profiles that haven’t included the basics. Including your current location is essential when it comes to being found by recruiters in the LinkedIn search function. Also make sure you choose the industry categorisation that best fits you as this will be another parameter determining search results. Sometimes you will move industries too, so check this periodically through your work career.
Take the time to outline your work history
A brief or light work history on LinkedIn won’t tell the full story and could result in you being passed over for other candidates with more detail. Take care to outline each of your roles (within the IT industry) and include details for each around:
- What the role was
- What the work involved
- Achievements throughout that role
- Any additional value you added such as running projects or company culture related initiatives.
- Training and certification you received within that role
- Promotions or additional responsibilities gained
Then you may wish to add some reflection on the role and how this experience contributed to the professional you are today. Like a CV, your LinkedIn is telling people a story. Make yours interesting!
What are your IT specialties and skills? Add them to LinkedIn
The skills section of your LinkedIn page will not only provide those browsing your profile with an idea of what you bring to the table, but LinkedIn search will use these to help recruiters find the people they need. LinkedIn has a useful feature of suggesting skills, but make sure this section accurately reflects a complete picture of you. You may have development skills but also worked in leadership positions – ensure both are included.
Once you have added skills you can get these reinforced by connections who will ‘endorse you’ as a proof point that you do, in fact, possess these abilities.
Endorse others and you’ll be endorsed back
Leading us nicely into endorsements! LinkedIn endorsements help legitimise profiles with the community able to ‘+’ against each skill as a sort of upvote.
One of the quickest ways to get endorsements yourself, is to go out and endorse people in your network. Choose connections who you have worked with in the areas you’ve specified as skills so they’ll more likely be able to endorse you from real world experience working together.
Build your connections from real life networks
Building a network – the core of LinkedIn. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you can build up a network on LinkedIn just by starting with your current workplace, past employers and any businesses you’ve had as clients. Then explore friends and family who have a LinkedIn presence. If you are just starting out, don’t worry about having a small network as this will build over time.
It’s a good idea to jump on LinkedIn every so often and review the suggestions the network function provides. Often you’ll recognise people you’ve come into contact with before. And in New Zealand the chance of seeing people you already know is very high!
What we’d advise against however, is the practice of connecting with people you don’t know, or haven’t met. This might be okay if you have a lot of crossover in connections and potential mutual interest in connecting, but obscure connections aren’t typically beneficial.
Go and meet people!
Another way to open up LinkedIn connection opportunities is to actually get out there and attend meetups, hackathons, and events. You’ll meet all sorts of people that could become part of your professional network online.
For existing local connections, consider grabbing coffee every so often to chat about work and the industry. Cementing professional relationships happens in person – you’ll have no trouble getting Kiwis out for coffee meetings.
Post your thoughts, questions and articles
Posting on LinkedIn keeps your profile active and noticed. It doesn’t matter if you are just starting out or well into your career – there’s a good chance you have something to say. In fact, it can be refreshing for readers on LinkedIn to see a thought shared by someone who isn’t the polished entrepreneur with an ‘inspirational’ story. What’s your experience of the industry at the moment, where do you think there’s an opportunity to make things better? What’s the challenge you’re facing?
Starting a conversation can gain many new eyes on your profile and some of these could be future employers. Give it a go!
Avoid being generic – just be you
Speaking of genuine posts over polished stories, authenticity is one of the best traits your LinkedIn profile can maintain. Sure the platform is for professionals so it’s not to be used like Facebook, but your work experience, summary, photo and posts should all reflect who you are.
It can be easy to fall into patterns of generic corporate speak within profiles (as it is with CVs), but you should try to reduce the jargon as much as possible. ‘Streamlined processes and systems involved with staff resourcing capabilities” is unlikely to jump off the page. Personalised the same experience could read: “I helped the team get to the bottom of why we wasted so many hours on the wrong things. With this information we then helped our people work on meaningful and profitable work. “
Sometimes it will be unavoidable to use jargon – and actually okay for audiences who are in the know. But even the most technically minded employer will appreciate someone cutting to the chase.
Are you currently working on your LinkedIn profile to find a job in the IT sector?
Chat with our team at Absolute IT. We know what it takes to present your professional profile in the best light for potential employers.
Here’s some other excellent LinkedIn profile resources from around the web:
- 22 Great Tips for Enhancing Your LinkedIn Profileon – Medium.com
- 10 Tips for Picking the Right LinkedIn Profile Picture – LinkedIn’s Talent Blog
- How to Build a Powerful Network Using LinkedIn – Social Media Examiner