To get the most out of your LinkedIn profile, make sure you do these four things:
- Polish Up and Complete Your Profile. Your profile is the “front door” to your LinkedIn account. First impressions matter, so make sure you’ve made your profile and profile picture as professional as possible. As an added benefit, your LinkedIn profile generally ranks high in Google search results for your name, so make sure to keep your profile up-to-date, accurate, and complete.
POWER TIP: Your LinkedIn profile should complement, not duplicate, your résumé. Be especially careful to ensure the two are in sync, as prospective employers are likely to Google you and will compare the two.
- Grow Your Connections. There are two schools of thought when it comes to LinkedIn connections. You can choose to connect selectively, accepting invitations only from those you know and trust, or you can use LinkedIn to grow the network of people you know. You can connect with people you meet through Groups and get introduced to people you don’t yet know offline.
POWER TIP: The power of networking lies in “friends of friends,” so the larger your network, the easier it will be to connect with someone you don’t know (yet). Remember the principle of “six degrees of separation.”
- The Give-to-Get Theory. Authentic, genuine recommendations can make or break a LinkedIn profile (just like references can for a job candidate). Select a handful of people in your network and write recommendations for them, without asking for one in return. Hopefully, you will be surprised at how many people will reciprocate.
POWER TIP: Make sure your Recommendations are specific and detailed. When reading the recommendation, you should be able to tell precisely who it was written for. Quantify accomplishments (with percentages, numbers, and dollar amounts) as much as possible.
- Get Involved. Join some LinkedIn Groups. Groups are the “water cooler” of the social site. You can find Groups for school and university alumni, your former and current employers, trade groups, industry associations, and more. Even better, you can send a connection request to fellow Group members, even if they would normally be a second or third-degree connection. (Great if you don’t have a Premium account on LinkedIn!)
POWER TIP: One way to establish yourself as an expert on LinkedIn is to start your own Group. For example, you might consider starting an online job club centered around your industry or geographic proximity. But be prepared to invest time to help it grow!
Information Contributor Acknowledgement: Bridget Weide Brooks
Picture: Adobe Stock