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LinkedIn – Top Tips for Women in their Work, Career or Business
23 January 2014
I remember starting my own career at Westpac Banking Corporation in Adelaide in December 1982. At the time, it was a very patriarchal organisation with mostly men in senior positions and because I was female and young, I was told that ‘all I would do in the future is run off and have babies.’ My argument was that a man would give no notice before leaving but a woman would let them know at least nine months beforehand!
Fortunately now though, there are many more women in management and senior executive roles, particularly at Westpac. I am very grateful for having spent the first 11 years of my career there, but out here in the real world of business, I still find that women have a long way to go to source the equivalent roles and salaries of men.
One area that I can share expertise in is LinkedIn. This is a vital online tool for women in their work, career or business. So here are some of my best LinkedIn tips, specifically for women.
1) A suitable photo
Avoid a photo of you in a cocktail dress at an evening function. Make sure you are groomed and dressed as to how you wish to be perceived both for your current and future role. If in doubt, go slightly more formal and only head and shoulders (no bust line). Your hair can be up or down, but again, make sure it represents your professional persona, not your private persona.
2) Declare your achievements
It is not boasting or bragging to write that you have increased sales by 34% or reduced absenteeism by 26%. Be specific and detailed in your experience section as well as in the projects section. Discuss the challenges you overcame too – as past behaviour predicts future behaviour – so if you could do it previously, you can do it again.
3) Declare your best skills and expertise
Have these nominated and ready for others to endorse rather than letting the LinkedIn algorithm do it for you. If there are skills that people endorse you for that you don’t feel comfortable with, remove them. However, don’t assume that you have to be 100% in a skill to have it listed. If you are capable up to at least 70% and it is in an area you want to be in the future, list it.
4) No personal details
Do not include your date of birth or your marital status as neither of these affect your ability to do the job. If you are specifically seeking a role overseas, interstate or in a remote location and you are single, then you could list single (if you are single) as this will work in your favour.
5) Request recommendations
It takes a little bit of courage but don’t be shy! Ask for some recommendations and also make some so that your profile will appear on someone else’s profile and give you a bit of extra exposure. Never lie when you write a recommendation and be prepared to say what you have said in court. If you are not confident about saying something in particular, state something else that is positive.
6) Don’t let LinkedIn stagnate
Keep your profile up to date and do a bit of maintenance every now and then. Download a copy of your profile (via Export to PDF) and your contacts (via Export LinkedIn Connections). Keep some statistics every three months – how many contacts you have, how many views you have had and how many times you have appeared in search results. Make some comments in groups and follow employers or businesses you are interested in (up to 50).
7) Consider joining Women’s Groups (like Ruby Connection)
These sometimes give you inside tips or suggestions that can increase your opportunities in what sometimes still appears to be a ‘man’s world.’ Do not participate in ‘man bashing’ as men are still our fathers, brothers, sons, husbands and boyfriends and a very special part of our lives.
8) Encourage other women
Especially younger women who have their whole career in front of them. Many younger women are not on LinkedIn and are missing out on this opportunity to be available for good opportunities in the future. It is a way of passively marketing your skills 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
9) Keep up with your connections
It is time we start working on the ‘Girl’s Club’ not just the proverbial ‘Boy’s Club.’ Connect with your female colleagues, entrepreneurs and business owners. Go out of your way to comment on their updates, share a like or suggest a connection. Invite your ‘girls’ to a women only event and network without testosterone.
10) Share inspiration and good news
It is always nice to share some inspirational quotes or good news – but never any information about your children! Kids are off topic on LinkedIn and although men can somehow boast about their children, if women do, we are perceived as ‘clucky.’ Keep those posts, if you absolutely must, for Facebook.
LinkedIn is an amazing tool for both women and men in today’s business world. However, women do need to be even more strategic to ensure that they can represent themselves in the best possible light and be even more successful in the future.
If you have any questions about LinkedIn, contact me directly via firstname.lastname@example.org
Sue Ellson joined LinkedIn on 21 December 2003. Her profile was in the top 1% of viewed profiles in 2012 and on 23 January 2014, she had 3,686 Connections and 745 Profile Views and 12,994 appearances in search results in the last 90 days, 1,368 endorsements and 30 recommendations. Sue regularly generates local and international business, work and opportunities for others through LinkedIn. Sue is currently writing a book on LinkedIn, provides training workshops for small groups, speaks at various professional events and provides private client consultations. Sue can be contacted directly via email@example.com or +61 402 243 271