LinkedIn Cheat Sheet

LinkedIn is the world’s largest social media professional network, used by everyone from checkout chicks to CEOs. It’s not a platform to update your friends on your weekend antics or repost funny memes, it’s a serious tool to help you find your dream job, rise up the ranks in your current workplace or network and connect with like-minded professionals. In short, think of it as an extension of your CV.

Now you know LinkedIn in a nutshell, here’s how you can optimise your LinkedIn profile:

Step 1: Set up your profile properly

One in every two LinkedIn uses hasn’t completed their profiles properly, which is poor form. One of the most basic, fundamental things you can do to market yourself is fill everything out correctly. Recent work experience, education history and job skills are all musts for your online CV. Omitting these basics makes it seem as though you’re not actively engaged or pursing opportunities. At the least, make sure people can understand the general gist of your career through your profile page.

Step 2: Upload a suitable photo

No, not the one from Saturday night. And definitely not the one of you and your bestie/boyfriend/cat! If you want to come across as a professional, you have to look the part. LinkedIn profiles with photos see more traffic than those without, but it’s important to remember that we humans are a fickle bunch. If you don’t look the part, recruiters will keep scrolling. You wouldn’t go to a business meeting wearing your weekend getup, so keep your LinkedIn photo a visual snapshot of your professional persona.

Step 3: Network

According to latest stats, two people join LinkedIn every second. And with a total user base of more than 414 million, a lot of people out there can help you on your path to success. But keep in mind, using LinkedIn merely as a tool to ‘look for a job’ is a big mistake. Instead, focus on networking and connecting with like-minded professionals from your industry, and joining professional groups. Tap into second- and third-level connections. Once you’ve built a solid network, leverage it to look for job opportunities – not vice versa.

Step 4: Seek endorsement

On LinkedIn, people in your network can endorse your skills. LinkedIn uses these endorsements to determine how to rank certain individuals in its search results. A person with a lot of endorsements for a particular skillset, for example, will rank higher when someone searches for those keywords. Additionally, your current and ex-colleagues can leave recommendations on your profile.

Step 5: Share you knowledge

Post some of the more thought-provoking and conversation-stimulating articles you’ve read to share your knowledge. By doing so, you’ll slowly but surely position yourself as a valuable source at the forefront of your industry.

Follow these five tips to see your profile views increase, and over time you may hear from more recruiters.  Good luck!


Interview, Job Search, Resume

Getting down to business at your next business lunch

There’s no such thing as a free lunch; that’s why it’s important to make your next mealtime meeting count. In an increasingly casualised, fragmented workforce, the business lunch can be a pleasurable and productive way of doing business, particularly when you know how to maximise the out-of-office soiree.  

Mealtime meetings serve three important functions – strengthening business relationships, building social networks and improving your business. As a host, it’s important to put some prior planning into the meeting so it’s a fruitful one, not just a social get-together. It’s a good idea to make contact with the restaurant before the meeting to find out who will be responsible for your table and, if necessary, discuss special meal requirements and seating arrangements.

While luncheons tend to be the mealtime meeting of choice, breakfast and dinner meetings can be just as effective. Breakfast meetings are particularly advantageous because attendees are fresh and wide awake, there’s a simple menu, quick service and a work-imposed time limit to end the meeting. Business lunches provide a high degree of flexibility in timing and location, and are a good way to be seen in a business-meets-pleasure social environment. Dinner meetings are a more social affair to “wine and dine” important clients, particularly interstate or overseas guests. Very few big deals are settled over dinner, but you can always lock in a specific date for an office appointment so you can get down to business.

Whatever mealtime meeting you choose, strive to make the best use of everyone’s time. Pick a restaurant within easy reach of all attendees to cut down on travel time, and ask for an early reservation – you’ll get quicker service with less noise. As a rule of thumb, limit alcohol at lunch or dinner meetings – alcohol shortens the attention span and draws out the meeting.

A final word of advice, don’t be afraid of looking dorky by taking notes at the meeting. Always have business cards and brochures on hand as well. After the event, immediately write a brief email of appreciation and make diary notes on the outcome of the meeting, including follow-up actions and future deadlines.

Finding work in the hidden job market

Have you heard of the hidden job market?

An estimated 80 per cent of jobs aren’t advertised, which begs the question – where are they and how do I get one?

In the burgeoning aged and child care industries, for example, you won’t find many jobs advertised because employees are required to have a Certificate III in their respective industries, and complete a certain amount of hours on work placement. As a consequence, there’s a lot of potential employees doing placements in the aged and child care sectors that will automatically get the job.

But that’s the bad news.

The good news is there’s plenty of scope to find out about these and other hidden jobs through the power of networking – both on and offline.

Networking is advantageous for all jobseekers, whether you are unemployed and looking for work or have a job but want to take the next step in your career. It’s a great way to meet key industry insiders, and find out about new opportunities through word-of-mouth and face-to-face contact.

Online, the best way to network is without a doubt through the business-focussed social network LinkedIn, so if you don’t have an account – get on it! LinkedIn is the biggest and best professional network to find a job, develop your career and connect with likeminded professionals in your area of expertise. Make sure your LinkedIn profile reads like a resume – keep it crisp, clean and concise.

For those of you who are already in the workforce, immerse yourself in your industry and take a genuine interest in what you’re doing. Further to that, actively attend professional development opportunities including events and after-hours functions. Be confident but not pushy when approaching people you don’t know – the last thing you want them to think is that you’re trying to get something out of them.

As a final tip, we at the Institute of Careers recommend you become a collector of business cards. Get yourself a little black book and store every single business card in it – you never know when that contact will come in handy!


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