LinkedIn recently published research revealing that women promote themselves less than men on the professional networking platform. This has real consequences that can limit women’s professional opportunities and career advancement.

To open yourself up to more opportunities, you first have to make yourself visible. Here are the top four ways women can leverage LinkedIn to advocate for themselves and allow their accomplishments to be seen:

1. List more of your skills.

Women include 11% fewer skills than men on their LinkedIn profile. Skills are keywords that people use in searches to find applicants who have those skills. The more skills you list, the more likely you will be found. Also, listing skills allows others the opportunity to endorse you. The more endorsements you have for a particular skill, the higher you appear in search results for that skill. LinkedIn allows you to select 50 skills. List 50 skills.

Think listing 50 skills is too much? Readers see only the first three skills listed unless they choose to click on the down arrow to view more skills. List 50 skills, and allow yourself to be discovered.

2. Focus on your most recent experiences.

According to the LinkedIn study, men positioned their brands to highlight more senior-level experience and eliminated more junior roles. Share your story but not your entire story. Focus on more recent positions in the “Experience” section.

3. Write a summary that sells you.

A professional summary is your opportunity to tell the reader what you want them to know about you. In working with women professionals, I have noticed that there generally is less content included in women’s  bios than in men’s. The LinkedIn study indicates women’s profile summaries are also shorter.

Summaries are your opportunity to share your narrative. Highlight your accomplishments. Focus on the impact you are currently making. Highlight awards and recognitions. Don’t sell yourself short, literally. Include a LinkedIn summary that packs a punch.

4. Get recommendations.

It is your responsibility to advocate for yourself. Getting others to advocate for you can be even more valuable. Ask previous colleagues to write a LinkedIn recommendation. Ask managers, peers and direct reports. A 360-degree perspective from those who know you helps people better understand you as a professional and a leader.

If you feel uncomfortable asking for recommendations, give the other person a recommendation first and demonstrate the mutual benefit of providing recommendations. In providing a recommendation for someone else, you appear on the other person’s profile and are seen by more people.

LinkedIn is a valuable tool and, if optimized, can ensure that you get noticed. “You’ve got to find a way to make people know you’re there,” says poet Nikki Giovanni. Use this information as a checklist to leverage LinkedIn and increase your professional exposure and impact online.


This article was written by Avery Blank | September 5, 2017  

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