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How to use LinkedIn for athletes

Written by Chris Clark

LinkedIn is critical for athletes searching for a job, whether current student-athletes or former athletes who are finished playing and becoming a professional in something other than sports.

LinkedIn boasts 756 million members worldwide, with over 174 million members in the U.S.  It is the go-to professional social platform, used for professional networking and job searches, principally. There are also over 50 million businesses listed on LinkedIn, building their professional community along with the individual users.

Importantly, four out of five people on LinkedIn drive business decisions, according to Hootsuite.

From a job search perspective, LinkedIn averages 14 million open job postings at a given time. One study found that 122 million people received an interview through LinkedIn and 35.5 million people have been hired by a person they connected with on the site. The social platform’s statistics boast that three people are hired every minute using the site. And 72% of recruiters regularly use the platform for recruitment services, according to an annual survey by JobVite.

Building your LinkedIn profile only starts with your resume.

In today’s business climate, having a LinkedIn profile is essential. Having an optimized LinkedIn profile can help propel your career. A professional profile picture can increase your number of views by 14 times, for example.

But it’s ultimately the content of your LinkedIn profile that will matter most.

You should treat your LinkedIn profile like your online resume. But don’t just generically copy and paste your existing resume onto it.

Unlike your resume, you should write your LinkedIn profile in the first person. As you’re developing it, ask yourself “who do I want to read this?” and speak directly to that audience, whether it’s a recruiter/ hiring manager, colleague, or prospective client. Just as you would with your resume, make sure you’re including an adequate number of keywords for recruiters to find you as they search.

This is your chance for athletes to tell your career story – to articulate your professional brand. 

While your resume is a snapshot of your experience and there are certain formalities you need to follow, your LinkedIn profile is a great opportunity to fill in some gaps and show some of your professional personality. Just be smart with it – once you post something it’s hard to make it go away! For example, you may want to think twice before adding something overtly political to your profile (unless you work in politics, of course).

Start at the top of your LinkedIn profile and make an impression

Is your headline title “Student at University of South Carolina”? That doesn’t tell the reader much about who you are or what you’re looking to do. What about instead, “Marketing Major | Creative Catalyst | Social Media SME”? See how much that pops?

Make sure you have a professional photo. Put your phone on portrait mode, grab a friend, go outside, get in front of a nice setting with good lighting and get a couple of snaps. Remember, profiles with a professional picture get 14x more views!

Write your bio.

Your “About” section is a great place to begin telling your story. Who are you? Why do you do what you do? Why do you want to do what you want to do in your career? What do you bring to the table for a potential employer? What do you enjoy doing outside of work? These are all questions to answer in this section.

Once your profile is optimized, take things to the next level by posting relevant content regularly 

To really make LinkedIn work for you, consistently share content with your network that’s related to what you want to do next. Looking to get into accounting? Find an article on GAAP Principles and share it to your profile with your comments on it. Determine how often you want to post and stick to posting on those days and times to maximize your reach. Also comment on other posts from people in your network that are relevant to your interests.

Cultivate your network on LinkedIn

You wouldn’t go to a networking event, introduce yourself to a potential hiring manager, and then walk away never to speak to them again would you? That’s what most people do when connecting on LinkedIn. Put your network to work! Don’t just make connections, develop them by following up and asking for a networking conversation. They may not have a job open for you. But they may know someone that does.

LinkedIn is the future of job hunting. So make sure you keep yourself in the game by using it to its full potential.

*** This was a guest post for AthletesForProfit.com written by  Franklin Buchanan of Post Up Careers.

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