It always amazes me when I go to networking events connecting with others in a meaningful and personal way and then suggest that we “link up” on LinkedIn, just how many of those folks are NOT on LinkedIn. Why? This is the perfect place to get noticed from a business perspective. This isn’t an ad for LinkedIn, I don’t work for them nor will I receive any benefit from writing this article. Here is just what I know to be true, from experience. I believe there are too many people out there who still think of LinkedIn as a “facebook facsimile” and therefore avoid it. With recent changes made to the formatting of LinkedIn, in a way it is a facebook type tool but it’s facebook for business and IT WORKS!
Current estimates suggest there are over 500 million LinkedIn users and that more than 40% of those users are professionals, earning more than $75,000/year income. It’s a WORLD WIDE network. As a networking tool, you are never, ever going to be able to attend and connect with that many professionals, at one time and in one place. Why wouldn’t you be on LinkedIn?
The key to using LinkedIn appropriately is to manage your connections, interface with LinkedIn users and to leverage your profile to the fullest. That means a little bit of effort on your part. Just like attending an “in person” networking event requires you to be well-groomed, look professional and to talk with others – so too does LinkedIn in order for it to work for you. Here are my Top Ten Tips for maximizing your LinkedIn profile potential:
- Make sure it’s current! Seems obvious but many don’t. They create a profile, post it and forget it. Use the CORI rule ensuring your content is current, original, relevant and interesting. Any recent promotions or a job change, update your profile. If you are now volunteering with an organization – make sure their logo and information is linked to yours. Make your profile pop! Make it interesting not just a laundry list of your last ten positions.
- Treat your Executive Summary like it’s a commercial ABOUT YOU! You have about 2000 words to play with…that’s a lot! Chances are, only a prospective recruiter will look beyond your Executive Summary so make sure that’s the part of your profile that really stands out.
- GET NOTICED: Blog, share and comment on articles and take the time to post relevant curated, content. Don’t share for the sake of sharing; rather make sure that what you are sharing is timely and relevant to your industry. You could become considered an influencer while sitting at home in your pj’s….simply by posting great blogs and information.
- Put your 10 – second branding statement to work. Don’t know what that is? Refer to some of my past articles or contact me to find out more!
- Join LIKE-MINDED LinkedIn groups.
- Seek and post TESTIMONIALS from others. Ask those folks for whom you have done great work to write something for you that speaks to how effective you are. Testimonials help others when they are choosing between two similar candidates.
- Engage and interact with your connections on LinkedIn. Don’t just “accept” an invitation. Reach out to that person by messaging them; “Thanks for inviting me to connect. Let me know how you think we might best serve one another,” or “Thanks for connecting with me, let’s schedule a time to chat about how we could act as a referral source for one another or do business together.” What you want to do is invite a conversation and also prevent building up a list of connections that merely boosts your numbers without any real benefit to your or your business.
- On the other hand, it certainly is ok to sometimes use your current connections to leverage new ones. Use your list of contacts to connect with others they are connected to. Chances are, if you are connected with someone – their connections will be like-minded as well and could be a great source of business, or referrals for you.
- It’s networking, from the comfort of your own home! In your PJ’s if you so desire!
- Job Opportunities are posted on LinkedIn all the time – it’s one of the places you absolutely need to be if you are looking for work – it connects prospects with opportunities and it’s one of the places employers will go to look for people. Additionally, once you are in the pool of potential candidates, you can be sure a potential employer is reviewing your LinkedIn account for pertinent history, connections and community or volunteer initiatives you might be involved in.
So start your New Year on a positive note and if you are not already on LinkedIn – create a profile. If you are – update it. Take ten minutes to make sure the content is current, relevant and interesting. Schedule time in your day, at least twice a week to browse articles and share something relevant to your industry. If you have the time, write something original or if you have a team managing your social media, make sure they are creating shareable content for you. Put networking to work for you, right from the comfort of your own home!