Designed to help professionals connect and advance their careers, LinkedIn is probably the most straightforward Social Network to use. Business owners are using LinkedIn with increasing success to market and grow their businesses. Job searchers are finding it an invaluable tool to connect with recruiters and hiring managers.
Many consider LinkedIn the equivalent of Facebook for the business world. The main feature is your profile, which is formatted as an online resume.
It’s true that completing your profile takes time, but it’s worth it when you consider it’s a vehicle to connecting with prospective clients, networkers, and even employers. You want to think carefully about your work history, skills, and career highlights. What is most relevant to your current business endeavors? What are your primary products and services? How do you want to be identified? Keep in mind that you are not obligated to list every job you’ve ever had and you can pick and chose what details of your career to feature.
Be careful, slight exaggeration is normal, but lying is not! Truth is important. Remember, this is more than a static collection of facts. Your profile is the means by which others decide whether or not to connect with you, hire you, or do business with you. It is a representation of your brand and the value you have to offer. Keep your content honest and interesting.
Get the most out of LinkedIn by starting with these three steps:
1. Create A Profile That Truly Represents You:
- Add a profile photo – many people never forget a face! Aim for a professional looking FULLY DRESSED picture. LinkedIn is not Facebook! Pictures in which your eyes can be seen are best.
- Create a strategically key-worded Headline. The LinkedIn search engine uses the content of your headline for results. Use all the space given to you with words that describe your products, service, or primary skills.
- Add a summary paragraph. Think of it as your professional elevator pitch. Note – You will get more out your of LinkedIn presence if your profile is keyword optimized. Research key terms for your industry and use them intelligently in throughout your profile. If you want prospective clients or employers to contact you, include your email address and phone number.
- List your current and past positions & education along with your tenure there. This helps the right people and opportunities find you. Clearly describe your product or service and your company mission. Job seekers should highlight past responsibilities and top accomplishments. Using bullets helps keep these descriptions easy to read.
2. Build Your Network:
Use webmail import to see, in seconds, all the people you know who are already on LinkedIn. You can then select who you wish to invite to join your trusted network. Upload a contacts file from Outlook, Google, Yahoo, and other email systems. View your list of your colleagues and classmates that are already on LinkedIn and send personal invitations to connect.
As much as possible, avoid the standard LinkedIn invitation of: “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.”
Instead, aim for a personal message such as:
Hi Jane. I really enjoyed your description of your product at yesterday’s RGA Power Hour Meeting. I’d like the opportunity to learn more about your business. Would you like to connect on LinkedIn and keep in touch?
3. Leverage The Power Of Your LinkedIn Network!
- Post interesting facts, industry news, or updates about your work. Ask questions about challenges you are facing. With a professional community of 200+ million, this is the perfect place to get answers to those tough questions.
- Look up someone’s profile before you meet with them. Learn their background and see who you know in common to get off to a fast start.
- Search for Service Providers and select based on trusted recommendations from people in your network. Anonymous web searches to find providers are a thing of the past.
- Research companies that are in your target market for business or employment.
- Find out which of your connections are connected to companies and people that matter to you. You will amazed at how closely connected you might be. (6 Degrees of Separation!)
- Join relevant groups and interact with members. This is a great way to showcase your knowledge, help others, and make new connections.
Take the time to ensure your LinkedIn profile clearly represents your brand, strategically features your skills and experience, and is intelligently keyword optimized. With an optimized profile and strong connections, you’re all set to get the most out of LinkedIn.
If you are not sure how to power-up your LinkedIn profile. Contact me, I can help.