LinkedIn skills for professional development

Develop your skills for professional development
By Alex Burden, Professional Development Editor

22 August 2016

Many of you will be familiar with LinkedIn, the social networking website for building useful business connections, but did you know that you can use this resource to professionally develop?

Boosting your CV: This is a great way to collect all of your skills and experience together in one place; especially useful if there are points that will not fit onto your CV but are relevant to your career history and the multiple skills you have. You can also give and receive endorsements for particular skills or personal recommendations. 

Networking: You can connect with people in your industry, your place of work, and related sectors. This is especially helpful to those of us who do not get many opportunities to network outside the office or during working hours. You can also introduce your connections to each other, or request that a mutual connection makes an introduction.

Knowledge-sharing: You have knowledge, or you’re looking for knowledge – look no further than your network. Groups are a great way to discuss pertinent issues and gain wider perspective.

Sourcing available opportunities: You can research potential employers, or the career history of people that matches closely with your own goals. What extra qualifications or experience do they possess? Use LinkedIn as guidance for where you should focus your efforts.

Read on for our top ten tips on getting the most from your LinkedIn account.

Ten tips to speed ahead with your professional development on LinkedIn

1. Set an intention

What do you want to do on LinkedIn? Is it to make new connections, build communities, or learn new skills? Identify your key goal and tailor your profile accordingly. Make sure it reflects your goals.

2. Keep the most essential info on your profile

Irrelevant jobs or skills can detract from the intention of your LinkedIn profile. You may be aiming for a Chief Financial Officer role, so no-one really needs to know if you delivered newspapers as a teenager. Select the appropriate keywords that represent you and your skills.

3. Only accept relevant endorsements and recommendations

Some people will click away on a number of endorsed skills for you as a friendly gesture, but you could be picked up on this by employers at a later date. Your connection said you could write analytical reports, so why don’t you? If a written recommendation does not reflect well on your overall goal for progression, then don’t accept it. You can send a message to your connection thanking them for their input, and offer to write a recommendation in return. They may just rewrite their original paragraph for you!

4. Turn off irrelevant settings

You can set your profile to be open for everyone to see, or just your connections. You can set your browsing and activity broadcast preferences to ‘invisible’ in case you fancy some competitor or potential employer browsing. You can also omit updates being sent to your connections every time you add a skill, update your profile, or add a picture. Too many updates sent to your current employers could make it look as though you are freshening your CV for a job hunt! LinkedIn has guidance on how to change your settings.

5. Remember it’s a professional site

It’s very easy to get carried away on social media and over-share information that you would not like to see printed on paper. A private message doesn’t always stay private for long, so imagine that you are writing to your manager.

6. Go over your profile with a fine-tooth comb

Spelling mistakes, grammar, inaccuracies – these are the hindrances to your profile and suggests that you will not look after the basics. Spend a bit of time perfecting your biography: keep it short, snappy, and succinct.

7. Compare your profile to someone else within your organisation

How does it differ? What do they have that you don’t? Are there skills you would like to add to your profile but currently do not have?

8. Keep it updated

If you learn a new skill, attend a conference, or complete a professional development course, make sure it’s added in. A dedication to professional development can also alert employers that you are ready to take on new challenges.

9. Read about other people’s updates

Did your colleague just add a new skill or gain a promotion? You have a new professional development goal. These can also act as reminders to update your own profile.

10. Follow up on new connections

If you recently met someone at a networking event, conference or a business meeting, for example, make sure you connect with them on LinkedIn after the meeting.  You never know what help they could provide at a later date!

Once you’ve determined where you should head with your professional development, check out the opportunities available to ICAS members. We have a huge range of opportunities to suit you, whether it’s a free online course, a specialist diploma, searching for a mentor, or leadership development and more.

Secure your future with ICAS professional development


  • Career development

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