If you’re a young professional, you’ve heard of LinkedIn. One of many essential business tools today, LinkedIn is a social network that helps you build your brand and cultivate your career. It offers services to help with sales, content marketing, and online learning. Use these LinkedIn tips to land connections or meet the recruiters that could lead to your next big job opportunity.
A lot of people don’t use LinkedIn to its full potential. Many upload a headshot, list their work history and education, and call it a day. That’s a start, but LinkedIn is so powerful and it can do so much more than act as an online resume.
By Sarah Landrum
Essential LinkedIn Tips:
Show Off Your Personality:
People pay attention to brands they relate to, brands that have a recognizable personality. When crafting your LinkedIn profile, you want to keep your personal brand in mind. What kind of voice do you want to have?
A good place to start is with your headline. It will default to your job title, but unless your job is incredibly unusual, you should come up with an original headline. Chances are, other professionals in your field will have the same or similar job titles, making it hard to stand out at first glance. Like a newspaper headline, your LinkedIn headline should be intriguing, eye-catching and leave the reader curious enough to click on your LinkedIn profile.
Similarly, your summary statement should tell a story that people want to read. Don’t just list your job history. Tell the reader who you are, what you’re passionate about, and why you’re good at what you do.
Make Strategic Connections:
One of the most important things you’ll do on LinkedIn is make connections. However, the goal is not to make as many connections as possible. On LinkedIn, you need to consider the quality of your connections, not the quantity.
Having a few deep connections with trusted colleagues is better than having hundreds of shallow ones. Connect with potential clients or partners. Connect with employees working at your dream companies. Connect with people who also have high-quality connections.
If you know a colleague on LinkedIn particularly well, ask them to write a LinkedIn recommendation for you. LinkedIn recommendations show up on your profile and offer readers another view of your credentials.
Publish and Share Content:
LinkedIn has a feature that allows you to publish blog posts. Having blog posts on your profile can help you establish thought leadership in your industry.
By publishing your posts, or posts about you, you’ll position yourself as an influencer or thought leader in your field, demonstrating that you pay careful attention to trends in your industry. Robert Mericle, for example, shares important news about the industry and his company to build his brand and share highlights about his company’s growth. You can see that Mericle launched a new website for its largest building, which drives awareness and engagement to the new site. The best part: It’s free PR.
In addition to sharing your own posts, regularly share other users’ well-written content to further establish yourself as an expert. In the example above, Robert does this by sharing posts about the decline in gas prices and the best locations for warehousing. In addition to being timely news, it’s also relevant to those he wants to engage with, which establishes him as the go-to person in the industry.
Choose the Perfect Photos:
A picture is worth a thousand words, and LinkedIn allows you not only to display a picture of yourself, but also a large banner cover photo at the top of your profile.
A professionally photographed headshot looks great, but it’s not your only option. Think about the setting and what you’ll wear – this can help convey your personality to other users. Most importantly, smile! Your pose and facial expressions can convey a sense of competency, likability, and professionalism.
Want to know what your photo says about you? Upload it to a site like PhotoFeeler that scores your photo on a variety of dimensions. While you’re there, take a look around at some others to see what works and what doesn’t so you can nail your next photo.
Your cover photo is another way to express who you are as a professional. It should relate to your industry or your brand. If you’re a geographer, use a photo of a map. If you’re an architect, use a photo of a blueprint. If you’re selling a product, show off that product.
LinkedIn is home to a wide variety of interest groups and organizations. Joining groups is a great way to connect with like-minded individuals and people in your industry. You can find out about local events and potentially win business or find job opportunities.
Groups have discussion forums where you can ask questions and engage in conversations. You’ll get noticed if you offer advice and answer questions, because this demonstrates your abilities and expertise.
Endorse and Be Endorsed:
LinkedIn not only allows you to list your skills – your connections can then endorse you to acknowledge for others that you do, in fact, possess those skills. This helps you further establish your credibility, and you should want as many endorsements as you can get.
The best way to get endorsements is to endorse others for their skills. Not only is this a great and easy way to compliment them, but it also encourages them to return the favor.
The first, and most important step is to include any relevant and noteworthy skills to your LinkedIn so that others may endorse you for them. Check out career expert Dan Schawbel’s LinkedIn profile for a good example. Dan focuses on his top skills, all of which have garnered over 99 endorsements. Notice how he doesn’t include basic skills like “Excel” and “Microsoft Office.”
Use the Messaging Service:
One old-fashioned way to network is to make cold calls or send cold emails to potential employers and colleagues. Generally this is a good approach, but LinkedIn makes it a little easier with its built-in messaging system.
Many professionals today regularly check their LinkedIn accounts, so sending private messages on the site does not lessen the chance that you’ll get noticed. In fact, it eliminates the risk that your emails will get lost in spam folders. It also allows you to keep all of your professional networking in one place.
Build a Multimedia Portfolio:
In addition to displaying your resume, you can upload and link to a variety of media. If you have writing samples, design projects, videos, photography, or any other pieces of work you’re proud of, make sure to include them on LinkedIn.
Log in Often:
In order to effectively network and take full advantage of the benefits of LinkedIn, be sure to log in often. Keep up with messages and notifications, and regularly publish content and keep your career history up-to-date.
LinkedIn is a powerful and essential tool in today’s professional landscape. With these LinkedIn tips in mind, you’ll be able to dominate that landscape and make the most of your career, your brand, or your business.
By Sarah Landrum: Sarah Landrum is a freelance writer and the founder of Punched Clocks, a site all about finding career happiness and success. For more from Sarah, subscribe to her newsletter and follow her on Twitter @SarahLandrum.
Image via SS Life and Style.