5 Tips for Networking on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a key tool for candidates and students in the CPA Western School of Business (CPAWSB). It is a platform that you can use to network and build connections with firms, peers, and potential clients on a professional level.

Read below for five tips that can help take your LinkedIn profile to the next level!

#1. Customize your LinkedIn URL
Did you know you can customize your LinkedIn URL? A simple URL change to your profile will allow you to look more professional and accessible to others.

  • Click on your profile icon on the top right of your LinkedIn Page, select ‘view profile’
  • Next, click ‘edit public profile & URL,’ on the top right; you will see ‘edit URL’ here
  • Select the pencil icon and change your LinkedIn URL to whatever you desire.

When changing your URL, choose something professional that identifies you such as your first and last name. Always remember; LinkedIn is a professional platform, and your profile should be set up in a manner that reflects this. Add your LinkedIn URL to your business cards as it’s a good way to build your network. As well, these new contacts can review your profile and get to know you more.

#2. Including Keywords
Many people are scared to be repetitive. However, the way search engine optimization (SEO) works today it is crucial that you make sure you repeat key search words throughout your profile. This makes it easier for people to find you when they are looking for someone with a background in accounting. Try and have these keywords in the tagline under your name, summary, previous job descriptions, your current job description, and list them in the skill and volunteer section if possible.

To determine what keywords you should focus on, consider what the average person would type into a search bar if they were looking for services you offer. Make your own list keywords to try searching within LinkedIn. Highlight the searches that come up with results that best reflects you, and use these keywords throughout your LinkedIn profile.

#3. Networking on LinkedIn
Your initial goal should be to create between 250 to 500 connections within LinkedIn. However, as you work towards increasing your network, it is important to consider who you connect with. LinkedIn is not Facebook, and you should try to stay away from connecting with too many people that are not related to your chosen field. As well focus on the geographical area where you work and live. LinkedIn is structured in a manner that is like networking through “friends of friends” on a digital platform. You will be more noticed by your connections networks which may not be the people in your area. For example, if all your connections on LinkedIn are living in Toronto, and you now live in Vancouver, it will be harder for people in Vancouver to discover you through a LinkedIn search, as it is unlikely that many of your Toronto connections are connected to Vancouver people.

#4. Recommendations
When shopping for a product or service, many people rely heavily on reviews by others. In the same way, people viewing your profile will depend on recommendations given by others.

To request a recommendation from one of your connections visit your profile page on LinkedIn.

  • Select the “Add Profile Section” in the top right-hand corner (you may have to scroll down a little before it appears)
  • Then, click the “Additional information” section
  • Choose the plus sign next to the “request a recommendation” section
  • The site will direct you to choose a connection for a recommendation and then walk you through the remaining steps of the process.

Once completed, your request will appear in the recipient’s messages on LinkedIn. If they are not frequent LinkedIn visitor, have a conversation with them beforehand to ensure they are aware of your request.

#5. More than a Resume
Many people look at LinkedIn as a resume; however, LinkedIn is so much more than that. In many ways, it’s like a portfolio; a way to tell your professional life story with more than just words. LinkedIn allows you to upload or link documents and pages that will enable you to showcase your work. This is great for highlighting your articles, special projects, videos or other achievements.

To add documents or media to your profile, select the pencil icon on the top right of the related employment experience and fill in the relevant information.

LinkedIn is an excellent opportunity to grow your network, connect with your co-workers, peers, previous employers, future employers, mentors, etc. It is a great tool for CPAWSB students both in the CPA preparatory courses and CPA Professional Education Program to start working on building their professional network.

For more information on LinkedIn, visit our previous post How to Create a Professional LinkedIn Profile.