LinkedIn, if you’re not already familiar with it, is a professional social media networking site. It differs from the likes of Twitter and Facebook as its’ primary purpose is to connect people in a professional, working capacity. It is based on the idea that we are all only 7 connections away from most people in the world – someone you know will know someone who knows someone else who knows….you get the picture! By tapping into this network of contacts we place ourselves in a powerful position. You have a great source of knowledge, expertise and potential collaboration right at your finger tips and here are some tips to help you get the most of it!
Get clear on what you want to get from your LinkedIn presence. Do you want to use it to network with peers to brainstorm ideas and ask questions? Are you looking for work whether right now on keeping abreast of opportunities for the future? Do you want to promote your own role to others to enhance your business?
With this purpose in mind, complete your personal summary. Use the space to tell people what you want them to know about you.
If you are looking for work, what type of work do you want to attract? Like a CV focus on the benefits you offer, what you do particularly well and give a flavour of your past achievements.
If you want to promote your work and invite people to connect with you then write about that. What is your role, your motivation for doing it and an idea of who you want to target.
The more specific you are the easier it will be for people to help you. Think what you could do to support someone looking for a job. Now think of someone who you know is looking for a job in call centre management in or around Glasgow. It’s far easier to consider who you know and what experience you have that is of relevance to that person.
Complete your profile in full. This seems obvious and it’s amazing how many people only complete very basic information and don’t add a profile photograph, let alone a good one. As with all social media, you are opening yourself up to the world so be careful how you present yourself. There are lots of people who prefer to steer clear of having on online presence and that it their choice. At least they have made a clear decision. If you choose to use LinkedIn, you are choosing to be visible to an online community and as such how you present yourself matters.
- How do you want to be perceived?
- What impression do you want to give to potential employers or peers?
Ensure you have a decent photograph that represents how you want to be seen. A photograph of you with your children or dogs might be great for Facebook but does this show the essence of the professional you? If you are a dog walker it may well be but whatever picture you choose make sure it is congruent with the message you want to send out.
You are aiming to have your profile 100% complete. Upload your CV and edit if it does not propagate the sections in the most effective way.
Give before you get. Don’t just wait until you need something to get in touch with people. Be helpful to others and actively build and nurture your networks. Make a conscious effect to build relationships by joining in group discussions, messaging your contacts every now and again to see how they are and perhaps send the odd article or news update they may find interesting.
Ask for recommendations as this will help boost your profile. When you are looking for work or if someone wants to know how effective you are in a role references cannot be underestimated. For some people gauging a second opinion of your work is essential so make sure you have it to offer. Ask your colleagues and managers just now if they would recommend you and if you value their work do the same for them. This is particularly useful if a company folds and you lose touch with your referee it can be difficult to evidence the quality of your work during your time with them, by doing it now you will have a virtual record of what a great worker you are.
When inviting people to connect with you always personalise your message and explain why you want to connect with them. It is likely that you will personally know most of your LinkedIn contacts however by being active in group discussions and posting interesting links you could ‘meet’ some people who you’d like to connect with whom you don’t yet know. As your outcome is to build relationships as opposed to gain lots of random connections, a personalised message will start a conversation which you can build on virtually and in the real world.