LinkedIn is a free social media platform which if used effectively, can assist you in landing the job of your dreams. With 760 million members to date, LinkedIn is a great place to build your personal brand and grow your career.
The expectation of this platform is that you will make connections, share insights and engage within the community, but at its heart, LinkedIn is a 21st century digital CV. You will begin to notice this as you begin to complete the fields in your LinkedIn profile. (They are very similar to those of a traditional CV).
By including a link to your LinkedIn profile on your CV, you’re giving the hiring manager an option to discover more information about you than a CV could ever hold. This could ultimately be the difference between you and another candidate getting the job.
So how can you use LinkedIn effectively during your job search? We’ve compiled a list of 12 little known ways to use LinkedIn to get ahead of other candidates and stand out from the crowd.
Choose the Right Profile Picture
A picture tells a thousand words so it’s important to get this one right. When uploading your profile picture:
- Make sure it is a professional representation of yourself, perhaps in uniform
- Use a high resolution image
- Ensure your face takes up 60% of the frame
- Avoid distracting backgrounds
- Avoid selfies
- Make sure you’re smiling and look approachable
According to LinkedIn, members with a profile picture are 14 times more likely to receive page views – these could be recruiters scouring for top talent.
Add a Captivating Background Photo
Your background (or cover) photo is the second most important visual on your profile so it should be equally as eye-catching and memorable as your profile picture.
It could be:
- A photo of the aircraft you are currently flying / work on
- A photo of you and your colleagues
- A photo of you at an aviation event
- A panoramic photo of a country which you have flown into
Just remember to keep your background photo relevant but interesting enough to make someone want to continue reading your profile.
Make Your Headline Work Hard For You
If you search for someone by their name on LinkedIn, their name, profile picture, and a headline will be the first thing you see. Many people use the headline section to display their current job title, but this space could be used much more creatively.
If you are in the market for a new job, take the opportunity to highlight this. After all, you never know who might be looking at your profile; according to LinkedIn, 95% of recruiters use LinkedIn regularly to discover top talent.
Headline examples could be:
- Experienced B787 Captain Seeking New and Exciting Position
- Accomplished First Officer and Aspiring Captain
- Skilled B1 Licensed Engineer Open to Opportunities
- Award Winning Professional Looking To Spread Their Wings
You only have 120 characters so keep it short and sweet, and if you change your headline via your smartphone, you can also add emojis; just remember to keep it professional.
Create an Exceptional Summary
Too many people leave this section blank but it is the perfect opportunity to tell your story. Don’t just settle for a list of qualifications or airlines which you’ve worked for – there are other areas on your profile for that.
This is an opportunity to highlight where you’re up to in your career, explain what you’re passionate about and how this contributes towards you being an excellent employee – a professional who recruiters should want to interview.
- Keep it brief but make an impact
- Set yourself apart from everyone else – what makes you unique?
- Be enthusiastic – don’t be afraid to share what you’re passionate about
- Highlight your skills and why they make a difference to your employer
- Avoid buzzwords – they are used so often on LinkedIn, they are almost meaningless
This section has the potential to make you shine over other candidates who didn’t take the time to complete it well. Don’t be afraid to invest some time and make it a worthwhile read!
Tell a Story
Recruiters and hiring managers are human beings too, so instead of reeling off dates, numbers and places of where you’ve previously worked, why not tell a story? Detailing the story of your career is a much more exciting way of presenting yourself – perhaps it is a tale against adversity and you battled against the odds to be where you are now?
Alternatively you could recall a time in your career when you went the extra mile and made a difference to a colleague, passenger or employer.
Research shows that delivering information in the form of a story can aid memory and help the reader retain information more easily than if it was presented as a list of facts. If you’re a good storyteller, use it to your advantage and make yourself noteworthy to recruiters.
Focus on the Future
It’s an easy trap to fall into, but your LinkedIn profile shouldn’t just reflect where your career is up to; it should also include where you want to be in the future.
If you’re a First Officer and you dream of moving to the left hand seat, then your profile, the content you post and the articles you engage with should also reflect this. Show recruiters that you’re serious about becoming a Captain; just because you have the flight hours and experience to do the job, it doesn’t automatically mean that you will get the job. There could be another 10 pilots with the exact same credentials as you in line for the job.
If your LinkedIn profile shows that you’re enthusiastic, passionate and knowledgeable about becoming a Captain, it will undoubtedly set you apart from other candidates.
Build Your Connections
A big part of a successful LinkedIn profile is to establish connections. This is similar to a friend request on Facebook or following someone on Instagram.
Once you start building connections, LinkedIn does a great job of suggesting further connections who you might also know. (Ideally, most of your connections will be people you actually know.)
You could also have a think about all the pilots and cabin crew who you’ve flown with and worked alongside throughout your career. Don’t be afraid to send them a connection request – LinkedIn is a great way to keep in touch with ex-colleagues or colleagues who you don’t regularly see.
Once you have built your connections, it’s important that you engage within the community and use your voice to make a good professional name for yourself. If a recruiter sees that you regularly post insightful content which attracts a lot of positive attention within the community, they will be seriously impressed.
Promote Your Expertise
From working in the aviation industry, you should have a high level of expertise in a very niche area and you should use your LinkedIn profile to show that off.
When detailing your expertise:
- Write a quick 1-2 sentence summary of what you accomplished in each role
- Make your accomplishments measurable, in numbers if possible
- Show how your expertise made an impact on the company
- Use strong action verbs to indicate the strength and weight of your accomplishments
- Include keywords which recruiters would search for e.g. aircraft type, airline or qualifications
Just remember to keep your expertise up to date as and when you acquire new qualifications and experience. An out of date profile won’t impress anyone.
Add Your Skill Set
The aviation industry is built on hard skills such as technical proficiency, knowledge and experience, and while these are essential, soft skills are also extremely valuable.
Soft skills include things such as people skills, listening skills and time management. You could be the best pilot or cabin crew in the world, but if your poor timekeeping delays a plane from taking off, you wouldn’t be very popular with your employer or colleagues.
In the Skills and Endorsements section, be sure to include a range of hard and soft skills.
Get your friends, colleagues and fellow connections to endorse your skills. They can do this by heading to your profile and clicking the + sign on the relevant skill.
More people endorsing your skills shows to others that you are credible. Don’t forget to endorse their skills too; it would be rude not to!
While the skills section gives a quick overview of the skills you have, recommendations from a third party prove that you are actually capable of them. Don’t be afraid to ask previous employers, co-pilots or cabin crew who you have flown with to provide a recommendation.
Recruiters may look at your recommendations for an indication on if you are who you say you are. A third party recommendation carries more weight than simply listing skills (which anyone could do).
Setting up a LinkedIn profile is all well and good, but if you don’t contribute to it on a regular basis, you won’t see the results you want. It is, after all, a social network so get involved in the conversations that interest you. Aviation related topics are regularly discussed and debated on LinkedIn; all you need to do is find these discussions and share your experiences.
If the conversation hasn’t started yet, why not be the one to kick things off? Why not post an insightful question, or share some original content, or upload some interesting photos of a country which you regularly fly into?
With your experience of working in the aviation industry, you have a unique opportunity to share your experiences to others, particularly to those thinking about a career in the industry.
If a hiring manager uses your LinkedIn profile to compare you against another candidate, how impressed do you think they’ll be when they see all that you regularly contribute and give back to the community?
In addition, if you’re a regular contributor, you’re much more likely to get noticed by a recruiter. One of the best parts about LinkedIn is that you can see who has viewed your profile!
Joining groups on LinkedIn is a great way to find like-minded individuals, be a part of the conversation and find job opportunities.
In the search section, you can search for groups by name. Alternatively, you can click the Work icon in the top right of your LinkedIn homepage and select Groups from the menu that appears. You can then request membership to your chosen group by clicking the ‘Ask to Join’ button under the group description.
Did you know? There are lots of groups on LinkedIn specifically dedicated to career opportunities; in fact, Aviation Job Search has its own group, so why not join it now?