I joined LinkedIn when I was first laid off work. The company I worked for decided to close its Vancouver office, laying off almost a thousand people. It was a scary time, and people in the company wanted to support each other and to keep in touch. For many of us, LinkedIn was the way to do that.
Besides connecting with each other on LinkedIn, we used the site to recommend each other as well as to introduce people to our networks.
That was more than 5 years ago, and since then, LinkedIn has become one of the most prominent social networks. Today, if you’re serious about enhancing your online reputation, there’s no better way of doing it than by having a solid LinkedIn account.
I recently had the opportunity to talk to a group of writers who were interested in learning the basics of LinkedIn. Since joining LinkedIn, I’ve found tremendous value in it, so I was happy to share what I know. Here are some highlights from my talk. (Scroll down below for the Slideshare presentation.)
- It is the world’s largest professional network. While Facebook is great for connecting with your friends and family, and Twitter is excellent for following people you barely know, LinkedIn is made specifically for professionals.
- It has 300 million members. And the network continues to grow.
- It ranks high on Google. Having a LinkedIn account is an easy way of somewhat controlling what people see when they search your name online.
- It can get you your next job. According to Jobvite, 93% of recruiters in 2013 say they use LinkedIn to find potential job candidates. LinkedIn is a great site to be in if you’re serious about using social media to find your next gig.
93% of recruiters use LinkedIn. (tweet this)
How to succeed on LinkedIn
Here are 10 tips every beginner should do on LinkedIn:
1. Complete your profile. After signing up, take the time to fill in as much information as possible. An incomplete profile is like having an incomplete resumé.
2. Use keywords in your profile. Think about the keywords people would use to try to find someone in your field: make sure you use these in various parts of your profile. Adding these keywords to your professional headline and in your summary can help your profile stand out. Mention software you’ve worked with. And if you have their permission, mention clients you’ve worked with as well.
3. Show off key projects. In every “experience” section of your profile, there’s an option to add links to your projects. Take the time to add links here. It’s a very visual way of showing what you’ve achieved in the past. This can also drive traffic to your projects.
4. Connect only with people you know or you’ve already met. Don’t be a LION (stands for LinkedIn Open Networker). In fact, LinkedIn itself advises members to “only connect to people you know and trust and only join groups you want your name associated with.” If you receive an invitation to connect from someone you don’t know, use the favor test.
5. Customize your message when inviting people to connect. While LinkedIn automatically adds a message when you send someone an invitation to connect, take the time to actually say something here. Explain why you want to connect, or, if you know the person well, put something personal. The person at the other end will appreciate it.
6. Post consistently. To continue to be on people’s radars, you should try to be active on LinkedIn. One easy way of doing this is by posting regularly. Share interesting links related to your industry. (I like to use Buffer to schedule LinkedIn posts.) Upload a photo. If you’re a blogger, you can also apply to use LinkedIn’s publishing platform.
7. Mention people. Similar to how you’d do it on Facebook, you can mention people on LinkedIn. The person will then be notified that you mentioned them. This is a nifty feature if you’re sharing a blog post or an article written by someone in your network.
8. Check who’s checking your profile. LinkedIn’s “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” can be a great source of new connections and new job opportunities. Click the link on the right-hand side of your newsfeed to see if you’re attracting the right kind of people to your profile. If you recognize someone’s face, consider connecting with them.
9. Recommend people. Worked with someone awesome? Recommend her on LinkedIn and let everyone know how great she is! You can also ask for recommendations on LinkedIn.
10. Invite people to meet…offline. Yep, I said offline. LinkedIn is a great way of connecting with people in your professional network. But just like any other social network, its true power is in connecting people offline. Send a note to someone and ask them for coffee. Set up informational interviews. Use LinkedIn as an offline networking tool.
Want to really use LinkedIn to help your career? Use it to meet people offline. (tweet this)
Since joining LinkedIn, the site has become one of my favourites. I particularly like Pulse, a tool built in on the site at the top of your newsfeed that curates interesting content. And with the recent launch of its publishing platform, LinkedIn is showing that it’s just getting started. If you haven’t joined LinkedIn yet, now’s the time to do so.
For more information about these LinkedIn tips, please see the Slideshare deck below.
How are you using LinkedIn today? Let me know below, or tweet me @kcclaveria to share your tips!