It’s no secret that LinkedIn is one of the most effective marketing and networking tools for any professional. Yet for many the question is how to use it effectively. Like all social media platforms, LinkedIn has its own set of unspoken community rules, standards and use cases. But for those of us who are more accustomed to using more casual platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Reddit, LinkedIn can seem a bit daunting due to its more formal approach to communication, interaction and marketing. This is why we have decided to provide some tips for how a CPA can make the most of LinkedIn to further their career prospects and general knowledge.
How to optimize your profile
1. Ensure a professional appearance
The first step to optimizing your LinkedIn profile is to ensure that it looks professional and that all of the relevant details are there. When you initially set up your LinkedIn account, you will be walked through the basics, such a providing a profile picture, your educational and work history and any credentials and skills that you have. Try to provide as much information regarding your post-secondary education work experience and skill set as possible so that potential recruiters, employers and other curios parties will have an accurate idea of your background and what you have to offer.
If you are unsure of what type of picture or background image to use, you can always leave it blank to begin with and do some research. Once you have added connections to your profile, you can look through their profiles to get an idea of how your profile should look. Of course, it is still your profile. It is a reflection of how you want yourself to be presented. So, while its fine to use other profiles as an inspiration, you should also try to make it your own to some extent.
2. Add a summary
Your summary can be more than just a blurb about your skills. It can convey why you made the decisions you made and what your hopes and inspirations are for your career. By adding a bit of personality to it, you are marketing yourself as a person, not just as a potential employee.
3. Connect with the people you know
The initial setup process will also try to get you going by offering to consolidate your email contact list with LinkedIn (while provided that you use either Gmail, Outlook or other supported email providers. (But don’t worry if your email provider is not supported – you can always send you contacts email invitations manually.)
This is an important step because the more people you’re connected to, the more legitimate you seem and also the more recommendations you will get to potential connections and the more people you will be recommended to on the feed. Furthermore, you will also be able to see the stories and thoughts that they post to their feed. While most of it may not be particularly interesting to you, you never know when a position may be announced by one of them, or perhaps even a useful news piece or event that you might want to attend might not otherwise hear about.
4. How to add a CPA title to Your LinkedIn Profile
If you set up your LinkedIn profile before getting your CPA license, or simply weren’t aware that there was a separate section that you could add to your profile proving that you have a valid certificate, that is definitely something that you will want to add. Here’s a set-by-step demonstration of how to add yours:
i. Log into LinkedIn, then select the drop-down menu for ‘Me.’ Then select ‘View Profile.’
ii. Click on ‘Add profile section.’ This will cause a pop-up to with options to appear.
iv. Fill out the relevant fields. It is important that you add your Credential ID so that potential employers can verify your license with NASBA or the state Board.
5. Figure out what you want to use it for
As we mentioned above, the primary purpose of LinkedIn’s creation was to act as an online resume and networking center. Since then, it has also evolved into a marketing tool, both for businesses and for individuals. If you are planning on using it for networking, then just going on a couple of times a week should be fine. But if you are planning on using it for marketing, either because you run your own business or because you want to attract more business to the company that you are currently employed by then you may need to give more thought to the type, length and frequency of content that you produce to share on the platform.
6. Highlight the services you provide
Linked has a ‘Services’ landing that you can add to your profile as a free, separate page. This allows you to list and demonstrate examples of the type of work that you do in greater depth. This will enable your services to be discoverable in searches conducted outside of LinkedIn. Once you have set it up, a link to the page will appear under your profile header.
To set it up:
- Click the drop-down menu for ‘Me,’ and select ‘View Profile,’ as shown above.
- Click the ‘Open To’ button
- Select the ‘Providing Services’ option
- Click ‘Continue’ after reading through the ‘How it works’ overview
- Fill in the Service Page set up information and click ‘Next’
- Confirm that the information entered is correct
- You can select ‘Make Changes’ to alter the entries, or ‘Publish’ to activate your Service Pag
Why should I put so much work into my LinkedIn profile?
Even if you currently have CPA job that you are happy with, you never know when things might change. It could be that a recruiter might be searching for CPAs and discover your profile with a better opportunity than your current job, or when something might happen in the company that you are at that might cause you to leave suddenly. In many cases, the first place a potential employer or recruiter will search is LinkedIn, possibly followed by Facebook. They will usually look at your background, skills, number of connections and comments before deciding whether it is worth reaching out to you. So, it is important to try make you profile stand out and to appear active.
How to Network on LinkedIn
Make sure to post your significant accomplishments and group tasks online. Any articles you publish will also good things to repost, or even just life or work lessons that you learned from your experiences. Posting your own content or the content of others reminds others on your network that you are there and also provides them with some insight into your experience, accomplishments and how you perceive and engage with your work and other people. Additionally, if anyone should comment on your content or shar it, you will be exposed to their followers and connections which could in turn attract more followers and connections to your network. As a side note, this is also an excellent reason for you to engage with the content of your connections; it fosters positive feelings in the other person, provides them with support and can also get you noticed by someone else if you contribute something noteworthy to the discussion.
Next, you should endorse the skills of the contacts that you know as this promotes them to others. Additionally, they may reciprocate, which will also improve the perceived authenticity and reliability of your credentials and skill sets. To endorse a skill, you must visit the connection’s profile and scroll down until you see the ‘Skills’ section. To endorse a skill, you just have to click the ‘endorse’ button under the listed skill. A step up from that would be to scroll one section further to ‘Recommendations’ and write genuine positive feedback that is insightful as to the experience that you have had with the person and your perception of their level of skill, reliability and personability, to name a few. Word speak louder than clicks, as it shows that you invested time and thought into to providing the feedback.
Join relevant groups
There are many professional groups on LinkedIn that could be useful to you in terms of networking, discovering new information and potentially finding work in the future. Groups could be as broad as ‘Georgia CPAs’ or as specific as ‘CPA litigations.’ Whatever makes the most sense to you. It will help with networking with others in your field and will also prove a useful source of information.
How to find CPA jobs on LinkedIn
- A good way to start looking for a job on LinkedIn is to make yourself searchable. To do this, you should indicate on your profile that you are ‘open to work.’ In the image above, under “ii. Click on ‘Add profile section.’ This will cause a pop-up to with options to appear,” you will also see a tab that reads ‘’ Show recruiters you’re open to work.” Click “get started” and you’ll be on your way. When you’re done, it should look something like this:
2. Next, search for companies that you know of and check whether they have any openings. They don’t necessarily need to be an accounting firm, as most large companies have onboard CPAs. You can check on the job page of a company such as EA, Coca Cola, IBM, Sony or others and do a search for ‘CPA.’ Just make sure that you are searching on the page that is dedicated to your country.
3. Contact recruiters. They’re easy to find with a quick global search. Or, you could go through contact list, or friends’ contact lists to look for ones who seem reliable to you.
4. Post a public post on your profile announcing that you are now a searching for work, with brief synopsis of the type of work you are looking for. Your contacts might see your post when they are scrolling down their feeds and pass on anything they might know of to you.
We hope that you found this helpful. Good luck out there!