How to Make the Most of LinkedIn
By Jessica Padykula
Consider the phrase, “It’s whom you know.” Most often uttered when it comes to finding or getting a job, the statement usually holds true. Getting ahead professionally really does come down to networking and being in touch (or put in touch) with the right people – people who can help take you where you want to go career-wise.
Enter LinkedIn, a place online where professionals can connect and network their way to better jobs. But using LinkedIn takes some skill when it comes to getting noticed. We’ve put together some tips to help get you stand out from the crowd of connections.
LinkedIn has over 80 million members in over 200 countries. Chances are, there are people you know using the professional networking web site, and people you may not know but should as they can help further your career or professional ambitions. If you don’t currently have a profile, it would be a good idea to start one. “LinkedIn has become the default, nearly global exchange for staffing, resourcing and finding employment,” explains Robin Carey, CEO of Social Media Today, a collaborative blog featuring posts from social media and web 2.0 experts.
First things first, make sure you fill out your profile as completely as possible — from where you went to school to all the companies you’ve worked for and what your responsibilities were. Make sure you don’t skimp on the details. Adding a photo is also a good idea as most people like to put a face to a name.
The more you fill in and the more precise you are about your work history, skills and current accomplishments, the easier it will be for people to find you and the more interested they will be in making a connection. Ensure you are providing clear, accurate information, says Carey. “If I have too little to go on or too much fluff, I’ll click away.”
LinkedIn dos and don’ts
- Do: Fill in your profile completely. If you want to stand out on LinkedIn, you need provide as much information as possible.
- Don’t: Sit around and wait for people to look for you — you may be waiting a long time. Rather than build a profile and then forget about it, get connected. The more connections you have, the more visible your profile will become.
- Do: Ask for recommendations. You should quickly consider who might be willing to recommend you and ask them to do so, Carey suggests.
- Don’t: Stop connecting, even when you have a vast network, says Carey. “More and more people with sizable networks are ignoring requests to make connections for people they don’t know, but even weak ties can benefit from a bit of reinforcement.”
- Do: Recommend others. Even if no one has requested a recommendation, you can send connections you’ve worked with a message asking if they would like one. It’s good for others to see you have recommended colleagues.
Along with the detailed profile page, LinkedIn has many other features that allow you to enhance your presence among your connections.
Asking questions is a great way to reach out to a wider network of professionals, Carey says. LinkedIn Answers allows users to post questions pertaining to their profession that get seen by not only their own network, but by a wider audience with each new query. You can both ask and answer questions, and browse questions by topic such as finance and accounting, technology, sustainability, and conference and event planning.
Joining key groups and being active within them can also be helpful in expanding your network. The more you participate in any given group (by commenting, asking questions, etc.) the more your profile will be seen by people you may not be connected to.
Carey also suggests linking your Twitter feed to LinkedIn as a way to show your connections what you’re doing. She also likes the slide-share feature as a place to put your best public presentations. If you’ve done something great, why not show it off? After all, you never know who might see it or want to connect because of it.
Image: ljleavell, stock.xchng
How do you make your LinkedIn profile stand out? Let us know by leaving a comment below.Copyright 2012 WorkLivePlayCafe. All rights reserved.