by Tanya Mykhaylychenko
If you have a LinkedIn profile, it works for you 24/7. The more optimized and complete it is, the higher your chances of being found via searches and contacted. As the platform evolves, so should your activity on LinkedIn. Here are some ways to maintain and improve your profile that should not take a lot of time:
1. Make a list of keywords for which you want to be found and use each of them approximately one to three times in your profile.
Potential clients and colleagues search LinkedIn daily. With over 185 million members in the US and 20 million in Canada, LinkedIn is used to cross-check candidates who submit their resumes, find service providers, or collect information about professional topics. LinkedIn likes content and is well optimized for SEO.
If you do not have a website or your website is relatively new, you have a much higher chance of being found via LinkedIn. What terms do your potential clients use to find people like you? Think about role titles—content manager, content writer, copywriter, editor, or proofreader—as well as your service descriptions—comparative editing, French translation, resume writing, or book proposal editing. Consider all the variations in your job description and use these words throughout your profile. Repeat the terms you would most like to be found for, in all or most of the sections of your profile.
2. Create lists of people you would like to add to your network.
These lists can include names of decision-makers you find via company research and in the industry news, or job titles you use to look up colleagues and hiring managers. For example, if you plan to be hired as a copy editor, you will want to search for specific roles: managing editor, editor-in-chief, communications director, digital officer, marketing manager, chief communications officer, director of web and digital production, or director of digital strategy. If you have a list of target employers, search by company name.
3. Invite new people to connect. Always include a short introductory message with your invitation.
Add new connections to your network on a regular basis. I suggest you set aside one hour per week so that it becomes a habit.
Introduce yourself by telling your potential connection your professional title and specializations, but leave out your name as they will see it anyway. Also, explain how you found out about them (mention what you have in common or your learning/networking activity that brought you to their profile). Finally, tell them why you want to connect.
For example, you might say, “I am a copy editor with a long-standing interest in visual arts. I just read your article about X in Y magazine. I’d love to connect to follow your news and exchange ideas.”
Use your LinkedIn presence to your advantage. The more you network, the more networking opportunities you will see, making it easier for you to start conversations.
4. Give and ask for recommendations.
Your work may be exceptional, but to increase your chances of getting recommendations and testimonials, simply ask for them. People are busy and have conflicting priorities, but they will be happy to recommend you if you remind them and make it easy for them to post their recommendation.
Keep positive relationships with all your clients and find a way to incorporate a recommendation request into your client communications at the end of the project. The best time to ask is when you have successfully completed a job. Not everyone uses LinkedIn actively; give people a choice to post a recommendation on LinkedIn or to provide a testimonial by email for you to use on your website and in your resume. Offer options for confidentiality (using the person’s initials) or visibility (linking to their profile and even posting their photo).
Also, support your colleagues and service providers by writing recommendations for them.
5. Engage with your industry on LinkedIn.
Engagement is commenting on people’s posts. When you do this regularly, other people see your name and want to learn more about your work. Comment on the best of the posts in your feed and use your comments to add insight, thank a colleague in a specific way, or advance the discussion with useful data.
6. Create your own content.
Your content promotes your expertise and increases your visibility. Your content strategy will evolve based on your business goals and audience(s), but it’s important to be genuine, professional, helpful, and consistent. You can post as often as you like. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday are the most active days on LinkedIn. Scheduling tools like Buffer can make it easier to plan posts several weeks in advance.
7. Make sure your public URL looks professional.
It’s a small thing that could make a difference when you send people to your profile. Limit your public URL to your first and last name. Remove the random digits and letters at the end of your URL. (Here are the instructions.) Also, add your URL to your email signature and your resume header to encourage profile views.
A strong LinkedIn profile is a business asset. Use it to your advantage. As your business goals and processes evolve, your profile can provide you with many opportunities, including meeting new colleagues and clients, and more.
How has LinkedIn been useful to you recently? Share your examples of successful networking in the comment section at the bottom of the page.
[For tips on when and how to send connection requests on LinkedIn, see Tanya’s latest post.]
Tanya Mykhaylychenko is a copy editor and professional resume writer in Montreal. She is of Ukrainian origin and has written recently on practical ways to support Ukraine and other resources to help Ukraine.
This article was copy edited by Samantha Hoffman.