Today’s job market is becoming increasingly competitive, especially as contractors are becoming progressively more important in bridging the skills gap throughout the UK. It follows, therefore, that creating an extensive network of influential contacts is an invaluable way for contractors to compile a prospective client list and raise their profile online.
LinkedIn really is an invaluable tool for this exact task. It can help position you as an expert in your field, catching the attention of specialist recruiters and potential clients. What’s more, you can use your LinkedIn profile to highlight your skillset through client recommendations, endorsements and membership of professional groups.
If you want to get more digitally savvy, sprucing up your LinkedIn profile and keeping it totally up to date is a great place to start. What’s more, you need to know how to make the most of LinkedIn’s special features to make sure that you’re maximising the potential to secure your next, big, game-changing contract.
Here are some of our most important tips to getting the most out of your LinkedIn profile and fully harnessing the power of the professionals’ social media network to make sure that you’re making waves in your industry.
Get your profile up to scratch
Incomplete profiles are doing your case no favours. Make sure that you have as much information about your professional life on there as possible. What type of information should you include? You’ll need to have your current job role and at least two previous positions, your specialist skills, an up-to-date profile picture, and recommendations from previous clients. Don’t be shy in asking former clients for recommendations as it provides all important social proof to potential contacts.
It’s useful to note here that LinkedIn searches work on a keyword basis. That means that if recruiters and potential clients are searching for contractors with specific skills using particular language in their search terms, then you will appear higher up in their results if your profile includes this language. Our top profile tip would be to make sure that your headline, summary and tags are filled with the vocabulary relevant to your industry – it makes you easy to find.
Start making connections
We all love to feel connected, and it’s not just on Facebook! Connecting with people that you’ve worked with previously is tremendously beneficial when it comes to raising your profile on LinkedIn. It’s not just about showing off how many people you know, but instead it’s an exercise in extending your network.
Firstly, concentrate on connecting with as many people that you’ve previously worked with as you can. Then, when you connect with someone new, it’s helpful to then browse their connections, as this will allow you to connect with influential people in their extended network. What’s more, the greater number of connections you have the higher up in search results you appear. A sizeable following and clever keywords are the bread and butter of getting found on LinkedIn.
Join groups and start conversations
There are literally millions of groups on LinkedIn and they are brilliant resources for sharing best-practice, industry insights and for sourcing new opportunities for your business. Joining groups relevant to your interests and industry will deepen your experience of LinkedIn as it will start to become a tool for seeking out influential connections and opportunities, rather than simply a digital CV.
Joining groups relevant to your trade is your first step, along with groups owned by recruiters in your industry as contract opportunities will generally be posted in these groups. The best thing to do, and another important way to make your profile more visible, is to join in. Conversations, discussions and open question threads are a regular feature of the best LinkedIn Groups. If you can contribute to a few active discussions a week you’ll not only make yourself more visible across the whole network, you’ll also showcase your expertise to important figures and decision makers.
Social media is not for everyone, that’s for sure. But if you want to expose your skills and your expertise to a broader and more influential network of people, then spending a few hours perfecting your profile and enjoying some industry conversations could be the way to win more contracts, raise your profile and your profits. It’s time to get LinkedIn working for you!
Do you use LinkedIn regularly to find new contracting opportunities? Do you have any great success stories, or tips to enhance the LinkedIn experience? Let us know in the comments below, tell us on Twitter or our new Facebook page, or connect with us on LinkedIn.