In April 2017, LinkedIn reached 500 million members, which means it’s a powerful professional networking website. Still, a lot of people on LinkedIn aren’t using it to it’s fullest potential. Are you?
- Make sure your profile is complete. Yes, it takes some time to completely set up your profile, but it’s important to put in the time and effort in order to show what you have to offer a potential employer. This also means including many different experiences and not just your education and experience. There are multiple categories you can add to on LinkedIn like volunteering, organizations, awards and honors, etc. There is even a space you can include information about current projects. Be sure to include all this information.
- Connect with people you already know. You don’t have to add a bunch of people you don’t know on LinkedIn or start adding potential connections right away. Start with people you know–friends, family, current and former coworkers, former classmates from college or even high school. There is a large list of people out there to begin with, and you’ll probably find that you know more people you thought. If you find someone you know from meeting that one time five years ago, connect with that person. Just customize the message you send to them and remind them who you are and where you’ve met. They might remember you, too.
- Connect with people you don’t know. When adding people, check out their profile and then craft a short personal message. That extra personal touch will catch people’s eyes.
- Join groups. There are a number of LinkedIn pages for businesses or organizations. Begin joining the networks of the ones you know. Start with your college alumni group and go from there. Think about past experiences, groups you’d already voluteered for, and organizations you’d like to get to know more about. Once you’ve joined groups, be active in them. Post comments on their organization’s posts and other threads.
- Stay active and update. Like any social media account, it’s important to stay active. That means posting links to new posts on your blog, to new publications, or to interesting articles you read. No matter what be sure what you’re posting is going to benefit your image in some way. Don’t post links that will be detrimental to your professional image.
- Support your friends, and they’ll support you. In other words, make your friends look good, and maybe they’ll help you out too. Endorse your connections’ skills and comment on their posts. If you’re engaging with them, they’re more likely to engage with you. Those small engagements drive their friends to your page which means your profile reaches more people. Beyond that, write meaningful recommendations for your friends. They more a lot more than endorsements to potential viewers/employers.
- Don’t spam people. This one is obvious. Don’t over post on Linkedin or overly message potential connections. Use the site professionally and appropriately.
- Put time into it. Networking takes a lot of time in person, which means it should still take a lot of time online. It’s important to put some time and effort into building your own professional connections.