How to Make LinkedIn Your Social Networking Obsession
I have been obsessed and yes, I know, that is a strong term to LinkedIn since 2006. Why you ask? I have seen the potential of this network from the beginning. LinkedIn isn’t just a great tool for your job search but also fantastic way to build up your personal profile. This is your little soapbox in which you can stand on and say to the working world, “Hey, aren’t I great?” The key to really utilizing LinkedIn is using it properly. I help many people revise their LinkedIn profile, and in turn it helps to kick-start their new obsession. It is a powerful network that is finally getting utilized in their “utility belt” of life. Here are some LinkedIn 101 tips:

  • Visit LinkedIn and start building your profile; if you haven’t already.

  • Round out your brand and online persona by including all of the experience on your resume, relevant keywords and skills, accomplishments and Web links.

  • Establish a professional brand by using a career-appropriate head shot and a headline that is your elevator pitch in less than 140 characters. Remember the famous line in Glengarry Glen Ross, “A-B-C. A-Always, B-Be, C-Closing. Always be closing. ALWAYS BE CLOSING. A-I-D-A. Attention, Interest, Decision, Action.”

  • Update your profile with posts related to your field and work so employers can see how serious you are about your career. Share updates and be a thought leader. Whether that is leveraging LinkedIn Publisher and producing your own content or just sharing relevant articles as your status updates.

  • Do not let your profile just sit until you are looking for a job. It just looks suspicious. An active HR or social team will figure out that you are looking.

  • Follow organizations you are interested in and stay current on news, announcements, and job or volunteer opportunities.

  • Join groups relevant to your field and follow discussions and thought leaders to learn about current trends. Don’t just be a lurker.

  • Leverage features such as the Job Search, University Search, Education Boards and Alumni Search tools. Search for alumni who work at your target organizations and reach out to see if they would be willing to provide advice.

  • If you are just getting started on LinkedIn, be sure to check out LinkedIn for Students. It includes great tips and advice. It goes anywhere from building a strong profile to networking online and searching for opportunities.

  • Reach out to established connections periodically and personalize each message. People need those connections. Don’t fake your happiness for someone, people can tell. Be genuine and don’t be afraid to snail mail it to send a mazal tov or reach out and help in someone’s job search. This is also a great way to send out holiday cards and revive some relationships you may have let slip to the wayside.

  • Be visual. Share your project, website, and presentations.

  • Do not swear anywhere in your profile. Over 31,000 users on LinkedIn are not using their most professional voice.

  • Get and give recommendations. Get really good recommendations from vendors you have worked with or from co- workers. Remember to give back. LinkedIn is a community that is all about sharing. If you haven’t already written someone you know a recommendation then do it now. Who knows, it could lead to a new connection.

  • Connect. Make sure you connect with people. Create a network!

  • LinkedIn isn’t a magical unicorn, it is a tool and if you know how to use it properly you can build quite an empire. Make sure you aren’t sitting on a gold mine and just selling rocks. You have an awesome network so use it, share it, and contribute to it.