You already know that each social network has its own purpose. However, most of them revolve around sharing updates about your life or business while connecting with those that might be difficult to connect with in the real world.
LinkedIn is a little different. Designed almost as an online résumé, the network is intended to create and strengthen connections on a professional level. Great for networking, job searching and self-promotion, LinkedIn provides an excellent way to put yourself out there while accomplishing some personal branding.
But, how do you make it happen? How do you get the most from LinkedIn? Check out a few of the tips below to get started.
Craft Your Profile Carefully and Completely
Remember, unlike Facebook, where profiles are fixed and forgotten, LinkedIn profiles are designed to promote what you have to offer to potential professional connections and even employers. To build the perfect LinkedIn profile, fill in all fields. 100% completion is important, including:
- A summary that sheds light on your abilities and personality
- Work experience with what you did and how you improved each previous position
- An actionable headline
- Recommendations — Ask those you’ve worked with before to support you: the more positive recommendations, the better.
- Contact information
- Links to any websites you manage or keep personal portfolios on
Be sure to update your profile on a regular basis and to keep the notifications turned on so your contacts are able to see your accomplishments and promotions.
Think About Your Purpose
Why are you on LinkedIn? What are you hoping to accomplish? Is networking your top priority? Would you like to recruit others for a position? Are you on the market for a new position within a specific company?
If so, you should tailor your profile and your connections to that end. It might be tempting to share poignant articles relating to subjects that matter to you, or to post a photo or two from an office event, but if it doesn’t serve your purpose it’s not worth it. Save it for another network.
Being a wallflower doesn’t work in real life. It also doesn’t work on LinkedIn. Instead, reaching out and starting conversations puts you on others’ radars. Be intentional. Ways to start conversations include:
- Simple private messages — Reach out, introduce yourself and ask questions. Better yet, ask if your new connection would like to connect in real life for a five-minute conversation just to get to know one another.
- Joining communities — LinkedIn communities allow you to connect with like-minded professionals who share specific interests. Join the groups, respond to existing conversations and start new ones. Make yourself known.
- Starting groups — Looking to connect with others on your own terms? Start a group that focuses on your professional interest. Be sure to check in frequently to moderate and start new conversations.
Focus on Results
Résumés are limited in their effectiveness due to space constraints. With only a page or two to work with, you can’t share all that you have to offer. Instead of the standard “these were my duties in my last position” format that does nothing but bore readers, focus on your accomplishments.
How did you improve the bottom line in a previous position? What were the results of specific projects? What numbers speak to what you’ve done? Rob Mericle, President of his own Real Estate company, does an excellent job of this as by focusing on numbers in his summary.
Monitor Your Effectiveness
Even if you’re posting content that is applicable to those in your network, well-written and engaging, it could be falling short. You’ll never know if you never track it. Use LinkedIn Analytics to track who’s viewed your profile, who’s viewed your content and how what you share ranks against what others share. Modify your posts to increase your rankings on a regular basis.
Don’t Just Say It, Show It
LinkedIn made it easier than ever for users to “show” rather than “tell” their stories, which allows for deeper connections. With the ability to upload multimedia formats, LinkedIn users can share photos, videos and presentations with others. There’s no better way to showcase work than to bring it to life visually.
By using the tips above, you can take your LinkedIn efforts from stagnant to dynamic in no time. Make the most of what you have to offer and showcase your talents in a way that makes others want to connect with you. What are you waiting for?
About the author: Sarah Landrum recently graduated from Penn State with degrees in Marketing and PR. Now, she’s a freelance writer and career blogger sharing advice on navigating the work world and achieving happiness and success in your career. She’s also the newest addition to the Campus to Career family, serving as a featured contributor on a regular basis. You can find her tweeting during boring speeches @SarahLandrum