LinkedIn is a great tool for business people. Despite its designation as a social media platform, it is far more an online networking forum for people who want to connect with others in their industry. To get the most out of LinkedIn, you need to use it the right way. If you are going to use it as an extension of your Facebook page, you are not going to propel yourself forward. However, following these tips will help you optimize your LinkedIn profile so you can get the most bang for your proverbial buck.
LinkedIn is all about making connections. Start with people you know and then branch out when you can. Although LinkedIn is not the site to go to if you want to post about the great bar you went to over the weekend, but that does not mean you should not connect with your friends. Even if you are in different industries, your friends can be a great networking source, as you will connect with your friend’s entire network as well. For example, if your roommate from college became a nurse, but you were a business major, you should make the connection anyway. Then you will have access to all of your friend’s connections as well. You never know when or how you will connect with someone who will be of value to you down the line. Similarly, you should also consider accepting connection requests from people whom you do not already know. When you receive an invitation from someone you do not know, check out his or her profile and try to make a determination the quality of having that person as a connection.
Use the “People You May Know” Tool
One of the best features on LinkedIn is the “People You May Know” tool. This tool is designed to help you reach out to other professional who have similar backgrounds and connections. You can follow the Company Page of a business that you would like to work for and then peruse the list of people who work there. Seek out someone who has the type of job you are interested in and then invite that person to connect. Be sure to include a brief note about some of your assets and accomplishments.
Check in Regularly
LinkedIn is only helpful if you use it. If you have made the effort to create a profile page, make sure people know there is truly a human behind it. Check in at least once a day for a few minutes. Once a week, extend your visit to about 30 minutes. That gives you enough time to communicate with a few connections and participate in a group discussion. If you are using LinkedIn to search for a job, keep in mind that employers are more likely to hire people who post on their pages at least once a week.
Make Your Profile Page an Extension of Your Resume
Resumes are meant to be brief overviews of your work history and career highlights. After a decade or more in the workforce, it is nearly impossible to include all of your accomplishments on one or two pages. This is where LinkedIn can be extremely helpful. Your profile should not just list the same facts and timelines that are on your resume. Instead, it provides you with a chance to extend beyond that and really sell yourself. Be as thorough as possible and include examples of some of your greatest work. Also, since your LinkedIn profile is on the internet, it is capable of handling several types of media that are impossible to include on a resume. Take advantage of modern technology and include video clips of speeches you have given, provide news clips of articles that have been written about you and the work you have done or any other type of visual that will help make you shine.
Join and Participate in Groups
Most of the groups on LinkedIn are valuable resources. Groups offer you a place where you can receive and give advice. You can also bounce ideas off of other members to get strong feedback. There are so many groups within LinkedIn that you will have no trouble finding one or more in your industry or areas of interest. All you need to do is choose some. You have a limit of 100, so you do not even need to pick and choose carefully. Join several and see what they all have to offer. If you cannot find anything that suits your needs, you can decide to start your own group. It will not be long before it is filled with people with whom you can share ideas.
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