If you are searching for an opportunity or want to move your career to the next level, you must be on LinkedIn. It has 154 million users in the US; a comprehensive network for professionals, hiring managers, and businesses looking for talent and services. Your profile is one of your best personal marketing vehicles.
To get the most out of your LinkedIn profile, make sure you address these four issues:
1. Complete Your Profile. Your profile is the “front door” to your LinkedIn account. First impressions matter — so make sure you’ve made your profile as complete as possible. As an added benefit, your LinkedIn profile generally ranks high in Google search results for your name, so make sure your profile is up-to-date, accurate, and complete.
ADVANTAGE TIP: Your LinkedIn profile should complement — not duplicate — your résumé. Be especially careful to ensure the two are in sync, as prospective employers are likely to Google you and will compare the two.
2. Grow Your Connections. There are two schools of thought when it comes to LinkedIn connections. You can choose to connect selectively — accepting invitations only from those you know and trust — or you can use LinkedIn to grow the network of people you know. You can connect with people you meet through Groups and get introduced to people you don’t yet know offline.
ADVANTAGE TIP: The power of networking lies in “friends of friends,” so the larger your network, the easier it will be to connect with someone you don’t know (yet). Remember the principle of “six degrees of separation.”
3. Give to Get. Authentic, genuine recommendations can make or break a LinkedIn profile (just like references can for a job candidate). Select a handful of people in your network and write recommendations for them, without asking for one in return. You will be surprised at how many people will reciprocate.
ADVANTAGE TIP: Make sure your recommendations are specific and detailed. When reading the recommendation, you should be able to share personal experiences and the benefits or qualities of the person. Quantify accomplishments (with percentages, numbers, and dollar amounts) as much as possible.
4. Get Involved. Join some LinkedIn groups. Groups are the “water cooler” of the social site. You can find groups for school and university alumni, your former and current employers, trade groups, industry associations, and more. Even better, you can send a connection request to fellow group members; no matter if they would generally be second-or-third degree connections. (Great if you don’t have a Premium account on LinkedIn!)
ADVANTAGE TIP: One way to establish yourself as an expert on LinkedIn is to start your own group. For example, you might consider starting an online job club centered around your industry or geographic proximity. But be prepared to invest time to help it grow!
If you need help writing your all-important LinkedIn summary statement, schedule a free 15-minute telephone consultation. Or, visit the Products page to download step-by-step instructions for completing your LinkedIn profile. You will also find free career information on the Resources page.