Complete your profile.
Just over half of LinkedIn users have completed their profiles so by completing your profile you are going to maximise your chance of being found by anyone searching for the skills and experience that you have to offer.
Start by making sure that your name is spelt correctly and capitalised properly. It is best to just use your first and last names – avoid initials, titles, qualifications, telephone numbers or e-mail addresses. Make sure that you are consistent – use the same name that is on your business card and CV.
Use a professional photograph of yourself – there are many times when you will need to upload a photo as you enrol on more social media platforms so the relatively small cost of having a professionally taken photograph will turn out to be a good investment. Definitely avoid pictures of you on holiday, at a party, playing golf or standing by your car. LinkedIn is a social networking site for professionals – your profile and especially your photo should reflect this.
Next consider your headline – it does not have to be your current job title, it can be anything you want. Consider it to be your strap-line – summing you up in one sentence. What you put here will appear after your name on your profile and any LinkedIn activity such as status updates, comments or likes.
Take time to create a headline that will make a great first impression – letting people know simply and honestly who you are and what you can offer.
Take the same approach with your profile summary – this is your opportunity to tell everyone who you are and where you have come from but also what you are looking to do in the future. Try to avoid old CV clichés such as ‘motivated’, ‘creative’, and ‘responsible’ because they have been severely over-used. Also avoid jargon – the purpose of the summary is to paint a picture of what you can do for your network (and what they can do for you)
And whilst we are talking about pictures – if you have any relevant documents, slide presentations or photos of your work make sure you upload them to your profile.
|2.||Grow your network.
As soon as your profile is complete you need to start to grow your network – connect with as many people as you can starting with your existing contacts. Upload your contacts to LinkedIn from Outlook, Hotmail, Gmail or whatever e-mail platform you use.
Start off by connecting with colleagues, friends, former bosses and work colleagues, current and former customers and suppliers. Ask for recommendations – you should aim to have at least one recommendation for every job on your portfolio. These can be from your manager, reports, customers or suppliers.
Make it easy for people to connect with you on LinkedIn – add your LinkedIn details to your business card. If you can, put your photo on your business card – this helps people to remember you and makes sure that they try to connect with the right person on LinkedIn.
When inviting people to connect with you, personalise the invitation message rather than using the default LinkedIn invitation – try to give them as much information as you can about why you want to connect with them.
It is a good idea to have a guiding principle as to who you connect with – people you know very well, people you have worked with, people you have met in person are typical criteria that most LinkedIn users start off with. To grow your network faster you will need to extend this to contacts of contacts and people you have only met on-line – be cautious of people with no contacts or inconsistent profiles.
LinkedIn is a social network so take time to interact with your contacts – even if it is only liking their status updates. Each time you interact with one of your contacts it will appear as your activity visible to other members of your network.
LinkedIn helps you to keep in touch by notifying you when it is one of your contacts birthdays, a work anniversary or they have a new job. All of these occasions give you an opportunity to build on your relationships with your network.
LinkedIn is a social network after all, albeit a professional one, so be sociable and join a group. The obvious ones to start with are the professional groups for members of a profession such as accountancy or law. If you are a member of a professional body then the chances are that there will be a LinkedIn group for you – if not why not create one?
LinkedIn will also suggest groups you might like to join – see which groups your contacts are members of and see if you would like to join those.
You can also search for groups from your LinkedIn tool-bar – once you have found a group you like the look of you can click on the information ‘i’ to get a detailed breakdown of how many members there are in the group, what the demographic is and how fast the group is growing.
As with any social group, most LinkedIn groups have rules about who can start discussions and make comments as well as the sort of content that is expected. Start off by following discussions in your group – you can get e-mail notification of whenever a new discussion or comment has been added to the group. Make pertinent comments to discussions you are following – also consider starting your own discussions or polls.
Every time you make a contribution to one of your groups your network will see it on their status feeds. By making intelligent, useful contributions to discussions which have a bearing on your area of expertise you can enhance your reputation and get yourself noticed.
Where possible, avoid negative or destructive comments – you might feel like having a rant about the latest government policy but this generally has less effect than making positive, useful suggestions about what the government should be doing.
|4.||Use LinkedIn little and often.
LinkedIn should become part of your daily routine, in the same way that e-mails are – spend 5 to 10 minutes on LinkedIn 2 or 3 times a day. Download the LinkedIn app for your smart phone and keep abreast of what is happening in your network whilst you are on the move.
You do not have to be on LinkedIn all the time – you can set up e-mail notifications to tell you when there are new discussions or comments in your groups.
Remember to keep your profile up to date and synchronised with your CV – recruiters will check your CV against your LinkedIn profile so make sure that they are consistent. Add new projects, publications or qualifications to your profile. If you are still building your profile you can turn off the LinkedIn activity broadcasts so that your contacts do not keep congratulating you every time you make a change to your profile.
Get into the habit of updating your status regularly with things that you think your network will want to know about – either things that you are personally involved in or articles, books or videos that are of interest. Like or comment on the updates of your contacts and share useful information and opinion with your network.
Using LinkedIn little and often will ensure that you are seen as an active professional and this will enhance the impression you create.
|5.||Use apps to integrate your social media platforms.
LinkedIn should be part of an integrated Social Media strategy which includes Twitter and Facebook – your LinkedIn status updates can also be posted as tweets, for example, if you have registered your twitter account with LinkedIn,
Consider setting up a blog for yourself where you can write extended entries about your work and your areas of expertise – these can be linked to appear as status updates in LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter which maximises their exposure for the minimum effort.
You can add your twitter account and up to three web-site links to your profile – typically your work web-site and your personal blog. Your web-sites can contain links to your LinkedIn profile, your groups and your LinkedIn company pages – these and other apps are available from the LinkedIn developers web-site.
- Social Media for Beginners Workshop
- Get closer to your customers with Linked In (face2facesocial.wordpress.com)
- Should I be on LinkedIn? (the-creative-bunch.com)
- 4 Warning Signs that Your LinkedIn Posts Won’t Have an Impact (blogs.constantcontact.com)