LinkedIn 101 – Recommendations, Influencers, and Groups
By Teneal Bird
Have you ever looked at your LinkedIn profile and wondered whether or not it’s necessary to fill out every section? How sure are you that all your information is available so that potential recruiters can not only consider you but find you in the first place? All the content you feature on your profile is important – every word. It sets you apart and makes you far more employable than the next person.
In our last three LinkedIn 101 posts, we have covered various other topics pertaining to your profile. In this one, we will look at the final two.
- Influencers and Groups.
This section is NOT to be ignored at all. It’s essentially proof of your competency, abilities, strengths, and skills, all of which are important to you. There are several benefits to using LinkedIn. The “Recommendations” section can be used to gain the trust of your potential employers. This, however, is only dependent on how professionally written your recommendations are. They should not be too vague, or they could be considered fabricated.
Think of it as a mini reference letter. This section is critical for us immigrants to show our expertise, especially if you are new to the country and do not have the required “Canadian Experience.” This section allows others to recognize the work you have done, and you can ask your 1st-degree connections to offer you some recommendations. Each time someone does this, you will receive a notification via message.
You should take the time to think about how you will ask for the recommendation and perhaps try to guide the person to the outcome you want. Get them to highlight your skillsets (think keyword density) or talk about your specialist skill. In Canada, being a specialist instead of a generalist is more ideal.
Some extra tips include:
- If you intend on asking someone to give you a recommendation, it’s advised that you reciprocate the gesture, which can go a long way to creating a longstanding relationship.
- People often don’t know what to write, and they would appreciate some guidance. If you don’t know how to write one, ask a professional for help.
What do solid recommendations look like?
- Short and to the point.
- They explain how they know you.
- Praise on specific professional qualities (think keywords and skill sets here).
- Make sure the following question is answered: “What values do I deliver?”
Influencers and Groups
You do not need to focus on this section too much. However, it is worth looking into. It says much more about you than what you think. If a recruiter is spending time on your profile, this part will tell them more about you. It is a showcase of your interests, i.e., what experts you are following. This can allow them to possibly find a mutual connection with you – especially if you both follow an expert in your industry. This will show that you know the leaders and experts in your industry and that their thoughts are valued.
Now, imagine if you participate in the conversation that these experts have – these will show up on your profile and allow you to be seen in the industry. This can highlight you as a thought leader. Conversation and participation on LinkedIn are celebrated in Canada and worldwide, frankly. It refers to the very first blog post. If you want to be seen or stand out, you’ll need to make an effort.
This also applies to the company that you are applying for. If you know and follow the leading companies on LinkedIn, it might make a big impression on the person if they see that you have liked their company page. To them, it might mean that you have taken the time and effort to learn about the company, how it functions, what is important to them, etc.
If you think alike, this will give you insight into the company and prepare you for the interview stages. It will also show how serious you are about wanting to work for them. You may want to make a wish list of the companies you hope to work for and join conversations.
In the “groups” section, all the above applies. It’s one of the best ways to engage with prospective jobs and industry peers. A recruiter can see that you are in these groups, industry organizations, or group’s that highlight the skillsets you boast on your profile. That makes you more appealing as a potential employee. It’s an excellent section to consider working on if you want to stand out, especially if you’re communicating with like-minded professionals in your industry.
If you appear on a recruiter’s search with a great picture, a clear headline, an engaging summary, relevant work experience, plus follow like-minded influencers and groups, AND the recruiter’s company? The chances are pretty high that you’ll be considered.