When you’ve been on a career break for 5 years or more, getting back into LinkedIn can seem overwhelming and daunting.
That’s why today I want to share ten very simple things you can do to make the most of LinkedIn after a long career break.
1 – Know the numbers
I’m going to start with the simple facts so that you get to appreciate why it’s so important for you to make the most of LinkedIn after a long career break.
There are more than 500 million users on LinkedIn. That’s a HUGE number.
Of those who use LinkedIn every month, up to 40% of them are daily users.
LinkedIn tells us that 61 million LinkedIn users are senior level influencers and 40 million are in decision-making positions.
In other words, to get in front of the decision makers to get a new job, you need to be on LinkedIn.
2 – Write a strong headline
Your LinkedIn headline is the first opportunity for you to make an impact and demonstrate your expertise.
Arguably it’s THE most valuable piece of real estate that you have on LinkedIn.
You want to grab attention and show potential employers and recruiters WHO you are and WHAT you do.
If you need help, check out the next round of my LinkedIn Kickstart to create a strong headline.
3 – Include an up-to-date photo
If you don’t have a photo, you won’t get looked at. We’re humans and humans want to see the real you.
Don’t be shy about having a photo on LinkedIn because you’ll miss out on career opportunities if you don’t.
Your photo needs to represent you in the workplace so that there’s no question that you’ll fit right in.
Not having a good quality photo means your profile will be ignored.
The official stats from LinkedIn: profiles with photos get 21x more views and 36x more messages.
4 – Tell your career story in the summary
Your summary (the About page) is the second most important piece of real estate on LinkedIn.
This is your opportunity to showcase your skills, your experience and your talents.
This is where you big up your career background.
This is where you might be feeling the fear … and guess what, I want you to do it anyway.
Don’t waste this valuable space. Make sure you think about the relevant keywords that potential employers will look for.
We spend a lot of time getting your summary right in my LinkedIn Kickstart.
5 – Use the right keywords
Throughout your headline, your summary AND your experience on LinkedIn, it’s essential that you are using the right keywords.
Terminology and jargon changes over time. For example 20 years ago, we had Personnel Managers, then HR Managers, and now you see People Managers or Talent Acquisition Managers.
If that’s the case in your career / sector / industry, update your experience and summary page accordingly.
Review current job ads and industry articles to update yourself on current keyword trends.
6 – Get active
LinkedIn is THE most powerful business networking platform in the world.
Every year, I see more and more industries and sectors starting to become much more active on LinkedIn.
No matter your sector, THE WAY to get noticed on LinkedIn is to GET ACTIVE.
By that I mean, checking it every day. It need only be 15-20 minutes.
Comment on posts.
Get active and you’ll get noticed.
7 – Build your network
Given LinkedIn is a networking platform, if you don’t build a network, you’re completely missing the point.
Start reaching out and connect with people you used to work with.
Look for people you know in your industry or sector. Perhaps people you’ve met when you’ve been part of a user group, or that you’ve met at networking events, conferences etc. Or what about your running club? Or hockey team?
The more people in your network, the more potential to attract new career opportunities to your profile.
Do you have a pile of business cards tucked away in a drawer somewhere? Get them out and start connecting.
Even when you’re not jobhunting, your network is so valuable for sharing experiences, getting fresh perspective, brainstorming challenges and getting feedback.
8 – Ask for informational interviews
When you’re looking to go back to work after a long career break, informational interviews can be a great way to get insight into current trends.
An informational interview is where you talk to someone who’s doing what you’re interested in doing. It’s a great way to get the information you can’t get from the company website, or reading articles and blog posts.
You’ll be surprised at how often people are very willing to help and share experience.
You could do invite them for a coffee or do over the phone.
9 – Include your volunteering experience
One of the great features of LinkedIn is that you can now include your volunteering experience separately to your professional or corporate experience.
Make the most of this feature.
Not only is volunteering a great way to maintain your skills while on a long career break, you can also learn new skills.
In a recent LinkedIn survey of 2,000 professionals, it found that 41% of respondents consider volunteer experience to be as important as work experience for job candidates.
The survey also found that 20% of hiring managers have offered jobs based on a candidate’s volunteer experience.
10 – Research job ads
If you’ve been on a career break for a long time, then definitely check out the Jobs section on LinkedIn.
There are more than 14 million open job ads on LinkedIn at any one time.
This is rich research material. Browse the job ads and discover the current trends and keywords.
Get clued up on the skills and experience that are in most demand. Think about how to reflect this on your LinkedIn profile (and also your CV).