10 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your LinkedIn Account
Whether or not you are currently looking for a new job, having a polished and prepared LinkedIn profile can be a good thing. By having this more professional page on a social network, it allows you to build working and career-focused relationships online as well as off. Then, when you do decide to make the next job move or are looking for your next client, it can be an invaluable resource.iStockphoto
Fill out all your information.
This is the first step on LinkedIn, but many people often only fill out their basic information. Have a professional photograph, include descriptions of your past work, connect with previous companies, add education and volunteer experience, and mostly just make sure your page looks full and complete.
Expand your vocabulary.
Lucky for users, LinkedIn tracks and reports the most used words on its profiles, giving users a heads-up on how NOT to sound like everyone else. This year’s top word in the US was “creative,” followed by “organizational” and “effective.” Find new ways to describe your work and achievements.
Connect, Connect, Connect.
Connect with people you know and companies that you want to work for. Have your friends introduce you to people you should know, or if you are more outgoing, go ahead and introduce yourself (but don’t be spammy)! As you connect with more people on LinkedIn, it will build your network, allow for more robust conversations, and hopefully lead you to people who can help you out down the road.
Ask for recommendations and endorsements.
It can be tricky to ask someone to be a reference or to provide a recommendation, but LinkedIn makes it easy. Using a template via the site, users can customize the message for each person they want to ask, and then can approve whether or not the recommendation will appear on their profile. As for endorsements, they are LinkedIn’s new feature that recognizes specific skills, such as writing, editing, corporate communications, and many more. Try endorsing a few friends who you know have certain areas of expertise, and many will reciprocate.
Customize your “LinkedIn Today.”
In 2011, the site launched LinkedIn Today, which curates news posted on its site and from around the Web that is specifically relevant to you. It can be a valuable resource to see what people in your industry are discussing online. In addition to the information LinkedIn has through your profile, you can customize your LinkedIn Today to show specific industries and news sources you’d prefer to follow.
Join groups and follow thought leaders.
LinkedIn has many ways to continue to grow your network and your knowledge about an industry. Two ways are by joining groups and following thought leaders. Groups allow users to connect around hobbies, alumni networks, companies, and more, and can help users meet new people, find resources and information, and have conversations on the site. Additionally, in 2012, LinkedIn introduced a way to follow well-known individuals and experts and hear their thoughts, including Barack Obama, Arianna Huffington, Richard Branson, and Deepak Chopra.
Personalize your settings based on your goals.
Take some time to think about what you want out of LinkedIn? The site is not only great for finding a job, but also can help get your name out as an expert in your field or introduce you to a new business venture. In fact, there is a section of your profile where you can specify what exactly you want, and encourage people to only contact you if they are offering those things. So even if you’re not job hunting, you can still encourage communication.
Also, set up your email settings, job alerts, and privacy settings to suit your needs.
In addition to housing millions of resumes and job opportunities, LinkedIn is home to user-generated conversations around news stories and question-and-answer discussions. Take some time to comment on an interesting article you recently read, or use your expertise to answer a question posed by a user. It can be especially helpful for building up your name as an expert. Or, if you are new to your industry, ask some questions and build up a community while learning!
Connect your LinkedIn to other social sites and your website.
LinkedIn isn’t part of a professional vacuum. Include a link to your profile on your website, and vice versa. If you want your Twitter followers to know more about your professional background, do the same as well. This will expand your overall social network and hopefully bring about more professional connections. Also don’t forget to download the LinkedIn app for your phone, so you can always check in even when you’re not at your desk.
Visit the site regularly.
With a site like LinkedIn, it’s easy to set it and forget it. But even by checking back once a week, you can keep your profile up-to-date, add new projects or accomplishments, make a more permanent connection with someone you recently met in real life, or just stay on top of jobs and trends in your industry. You’ve put a lot of work into your LinkedIn profile, now go out there and use it!