Time for a change? Looking for a new challenge? Maybe you’ve got a big interview coming up? Or you could just be looking for a way to expand your professional network? LinkedIn can help.
The business-focused social network boasts in excess of some 300 million members and seeks to do away with the need for business cards. LinkedIn replicates real-world business interactions online, such as introductions and recommendations and also offers users an always up-to-date location for your numerous business contacts.
Described as the world’s largest professional network — you should be using LinkedIn for connecting with like-minded pros in your industry and upping your rep.
Our guide will give you some pointers:
Complete your Profile
This may seem like a no-brainer but adding as much information about you and your work history on your LinkedIn profile can really help. You’d be surprised at the number of profiles you’ll come across with no profile picture, or very little information to go over.
Based on the information you enter LinkedIn will let you know how you’re doing — every account has a ‘Profile Strength’ rating, going from Beginner to All-Star.
An ‘All-Star’ account is one with plenty of detail and information — think useful stuff for those checking your profile out.
To attain an ‘All-Star’ profile you’ll need to ensure your profile has a picture, your education history, a list of skills you possess, over 50 connections along with details on the industry you work in and your most recent positions.
Adding this information helps those checking you out get a good idea for what you’re about.
Ask for Recommendations & Skill Endorsements
Your work history is highlighted on your profile page, listing all your gigs from over the years — it’s here where you can reach out to colleagues old and new to get them to vouch for how great you are.
It’s easy to do, just visit your profile and in the dedicated Recommendations section you’ll see a button inviting you ‘Ask to be Recommended’. Once you hit that you can choose which connection to ask for a personal recommendation. Any replies you receive can be approved by you and then shown against your work history, adding weight to the good work you did whilst in that role.
In addition to getting acquaintances to recommend you, you can also get people to quickly certify your skill set. LinkedIn will display a list of skills, as chosen by you, along with how many of your contacts agree that you rock at your chosen skills. It’s a nice way to offer a glance-able list of what your good at, and who agrees. You can easily get other people vouching for your skills by just picking what your contacts are good at — LinkedIn seems to do a good job at getting others to vouch for you, if you do the same for them.
Highlight your best work
If there is one thing people on LinkedIn don’t take enough advantage of, it’s the ability to highlight the work you’re most proud of.
Within your profiles work history section you can list your personal work highlights — treat this as a sizzle reel of your best stuff. It can be anything from a link, video, presentation or document to download.
This is a great way to add a ‘portfolio’ to the CV that is your LinkedIn profile. It’s also an easy way to make your profile more visual — letting you stand out from countless other profiles that recruiters look at.
If you’re serious about making a name for yourself in your chosen industry then LinkedIn groups are a great way to make your mark.
Just tap in your search query and do a group search to see the countless groups you can join to have your say on industry matters. When searching be sure to keep an eye on the membership numbers, picking groups with a good mix of active members and good conversation. Find a good community where your voice can be heard, and get to work on becoming an influencer.
Being helpful is key, don’t go in with a hard sell — you can learn from Gary Vaynerchuk here, jab, jab, jab then give them the right hook (that’s ‘help, help, help, ask’ when it comes to LinkedIn).
Stay in Touch
Ever been to one of those networking events where you have to work the room and talk to a mix of people? LinkedIn can handle this for you too.
Reach out to people who interest you and work together where it makes sense, discuss your industry and work in groups and stay connected with your existing contacts. You never know when your boss from five years ago may come in useful a few years down the line. Stay in touch, even if it’s just congratulating someone on a promotion, commenting on a new hire, or offering feedback — it’s all key to keeping you in someone’s mind, you never know when they may need you.
Good luck out there!