LinkedIn is highly regarded as the number one social platform for businesses and professionals alike, for sourcing jobs and business opportunities. But how many professionals are really using it to its full potential?
Over the past few years, LinkedIn has rolled out several new features which go beyond the traditional notion of using the platform for finding jobs when one is unemployed, or generating leads for new business. If fully taken advantage of, these LinkedIn features and resources will help you establish your personal brand, catapult your career and thought leadership within your industry, and bring opportunities your way instead of you chasing them all the time.
Let's explore some of these features below.
But first, a word of caution:
Never use LinkedIn only when you need a job
LinkedIn is not solely a job board. Its inbuilt job board is only one of several features and usages on this platform. The worst thing you can do to hurt your career is to wait until you've been laid off or seeking a new career path, before you start building your profile and actively using LinkedIn. If you wait until then, it will be almost too late and you'll need to build your personal brand from scratch. It will be much harder to position yourself as an industry expert or talented professional.
Finally, note that a couple of the tools listed below may be currently in beta mode, so they may not be accessible to you at this time, depending on your location.
5 LinkedIn features you should be using
Before thinking about using the following features and tools, you need to evaluate and ask yourself a few critical questions:
"Do I already have a fully completed profile?", "What is my purpose on this platform?" and "Who is my target audience?"
If the answer to the first question is no, start reimagining and reinventing your profile, ensuring it is fully complete and reflects your personal brand identity, in line with the last two questions.
If you're not yet sure of your purpose or target audience, consider your overall career objective first, and this will inform your answers.
1. Turn on "Creator" mode
You may not realize this, but turning your LinkedIn profile on "Creator" mode is a fantastic way to establish you as an industry leader. This is because it unlocks access to a plethora of tools such as setting up and hosting LinkedIn Live Audio events, LinkedIn Live events (the video version), and launching newsletters. You can also pick five hashtags to feature on your profile under your headline, that tell others what you talk about and are focused on.
"Creator" mode also ensures that when others visit your profile, the first option they have available to them is to follow you, instead of connecting with you. If they really want to be in your 1st degree network, they can click the "More" option on your profile for the dropdown with the "Connect" option to appear. Your following count will then show, and this assists in creating social proof for your brand using numbers.
2. Collaborate on skills-based articles
LinkedIn has rolled out a new feature which enables you to become a LinkedIn Top Voice in your area of expertise, further establishing your credibility on the platform using the LinkedIn Skills Pages.
When you add skills to your profile's Skills section that are relevant to your role and industry, LinkedIn will suggest AI-generated articles specific to those skills, that you can collaborate with so you can add your own unique perspective.
The more you collaborate, the more you establish yourself as a knowledgeable leader in your field, and if you do it consistently, LinkedIn may award you a gold LinkedIn Top Voice badge, which you can proudly display on your profile.
3. Undertake skills assessments
When you click into the Skills section of your profile, you may notice that a button may appear which says "Take a skills assessment." This is a fantastic way to show that you are a bona fide professional and a master at your craft.
Currently, LinkedIn skills assessments test technical and design software skills including Adobe and Microsoft packages.
It would be interesting to see if or how LinkedIn would test soft skills such as customer service or leadership scenarios in the future. But in the meantime, if you'd like to proudly display your proficiency and skill set, especially if you're considering switching careers to a role or industry that uses these key technical skills, undertaking LinkedIn Skills Assessments is a great option.
4. Subscribe to the LinkedIn Learning Blog
LinkedIn's "LinkedIn Learning Blog" regularly publishes insights about new skills to learn so you can adapt your career to today's ever-evolving workforce. One of its most insightful articles is it's list of most in-demand skills, pulled together from LinkedIn's own data and research team, such as the "LinkedIn 2023 Most In-Demand Skills" below.
If you are serious about propelling your career forward, this report provides you with data and insights on how to achieve this based on what employers and the market is looking for.
5. Check your LinkedIn SSI score
Ever wondered why you're not attracting enough career-boosting opportunities on LinkedIn? This tool might help you. Commonly used by sales professionals, this is something you can use if you're serious about building a strong personal brand. SSI (Social Selling Index) is a score LinkedIn assigns to your profile that is calculated based on four key criteria that have an equal weighting of 25. So in essence, if your profile is perfect in meeting all four criteria, you should have a perfect score of 100.
Here is what LinkedIn's free SSI tool measures you against:
- Establish your professional brand
- Find the right people
- Engage with insights
- Build relationships
Sign into your LinkedIn account on your browser, then open the below link:
Your ideal score should be over 70. Use the insights from this tool to create a LinkedIn strategy to establish your presence as an expert on the platform, network with the right people, and attract more opportunities. This will boost your score over time.
As you can see, LinkedIn is much more than a job board. It is a powerful platform for establishing business connections, sourcing your next career or business opportunity, and developing your personal brand. LinkedIn is continuously rolling out new features, so it's essential to stay current and be active on the platform so you can be aware of new releases that will help you grow your career. Through using the tools available to LinkedIn Creators, collaborating on skills articles, leveraging your current skills while seeking to learn more, and understanding your current status in the market using the SSI feature, you can take your career to unprecedented heights and open up a world of unlimited possibilities.
Most importantly, don't wait until you've been laid off or are unemployed otherwise, before you start establishing your presence on LinkedIn. Begin today to craft your personal brand here, one that will leave a legacy beyond your job.