Since its debut in 2003, LinkedIn has continuously enhanced its image to become a popular career management resource. Having a professional account will not only provide a user with tremendous networking opportunities, but it will also boost that user’s “hirability.” If you are not using LinkedIn correctly, you may be missing out on some potential career opportunities. Here are five elements that many people on LinkedIn are not aware of that could help you with your career search:
- You can customize your URL
The Center for Career Development suggests including a LinkedIn URL on one’s résumé and business card. Doing so allows a potential employer to visit an applicant’s account, learning more about that individual. Not many LinkedIn users are aware that they can customize the URL that leads to their profile page, simplifying the set of letters and numbers assigned. Creating a simple URL is important for search engines, making it easy to share your account on résumés and business cards and enhancing your professional brand.
To customize your URL, navigate to your LinkedIn profile and click the ‘Edit’ button in your headline. Click ‘Edit’ again next to the URL located under your photo. Scroll down on the right side bar until you see ‘Your public profile URL’ (see above) and click the pen directly to the right. Enter an available and appropriate URL. The Center for Career Development recommends using your name.
- You can choose to be anonymous
When you visit a person’s profile, the individual will be able to see that you have viewed him or her. If you would like to remain anonymous you can adjust your privacy settings to do so. By hovering over your photo on the upper right hand corner of your homepage, you can click ‘Review,’ next to ‘Privacy & Settings.’ Under ‘Privacy Controls,’ click ‘Select what others see when you’ve viewed their profile.’ Then you can decide whether or not you want people to see your name and headline, anonymous profile characteristics, or nothing at all.
- You can put your desired industry in your profile
Students are often confused about what industry to select for their LinkedIn profile since ‘Student’ is not an option in the list of industry choices. Consider choosing an industry that you either are in or intend to be part of in the future. For example, I am an undergraduate student pursuing a career in Higher Education; therefore, I can choose ‘Higher Education’ as my industry.
- You can set your profile to private
While you are developing your LinkedIn profile, you can set your account to “private” so that only you can see the content, or certain sections of your profile. It is important that your account is fully developed because you do not want potential employers to see you as having a weak profile. Once you feel comfortable sharing your LinkedIn Profile, you can edit the privacy settings to make your account visible again.
To set your profile to “private,” navigate to your LinkedIn page and hover over the dropdown arrow next to ‘Edit’ in the header of your profile. Click ‘Manage public profile settings.” You can then choose ‘Make my public profile visible to no one’ or uncheck the individual boxes to indicate the sections you would like to remain private.
- You can (and should) include a personal note with invitations
When sending a connection invitation on LinkedIn, it is important to remember that you should always send a personal note. LinkedIn labels this field as optional, but the Center for Career Development recommends always personalizing your message to differentiate yourself and to be remembered.
To send the invitation, always navigate to the individual’s profile and click ‘Connect’ next to their picture. Choose how you know the person, then send a personal note mentioning why you want to connect with them on LinkedIn.