By Jon Michail
Is there anyone who isn’t yet using LinkedIn? And if you are, do you use it as anything more than a resume?
Used properly, LinkedIn is a powerful tool that enables you to connect with people who can help you to advance your career, build valuable networks and grow your business.
As an avid user for the last seven years I can vouch for it. In terms of social networks, LinkedIn recently reached 300 million users and, with nearly three million new users each week, is not about to go away.
LinkedIn is where colleagues and like-minded professionals, potential employers and clients learn about you and your personal brand.
To ensure you are using LinkedIn to its fullest potential, here are twenty useful tips.
1. Polish your headline. The headline advertises your personal brand, telling readers about you and your points of difference. A good headline ensures you are noticed. It also helps others to find you, particularly if you have made good use of career-focussed keywords to help search engine optimisation (SEO). More about that later…
2. Your profile is all-important. Your profile is the image you want to project. It is the condensed picture of how the professional world views you. A professional and detailed profile delineates someone who is successful, active and well-connected. A brief or outdated profile shows someone who doesn’t care or who isn’t in business any more.
3. Your summary is your story. Use it to develop your personal brand: feature your skills, qualifications and experience and add a business story or two to add a personal touch. Short sentences are preferable, with appropriate spacing and bullet points emphasising your easy-to-read format.
4. Don’t just write it – prove it. Have some fun with multi-media by embedding or providing links to:
- Your original work, anything from a YouTube video to a blog post.
- Your other active professional social media sites.
- Your life-streaming profile, as in About.Me.
- A short video of your personal brand elevator pitch.
5. Remember that LinkedIn is not a digital resume. Use it daily to update your visibility. Keep connecting. Go through your updates and your news stream. Browse your Groups and remind others that you are available by adding ‘likes’, thoughtful comments, sharing appropriate content and asking questions that resonate with like-minded people.
6. You’re a professional, so use a professional photo for your profile. Leave the selfies and the party pics for your personal albums. Dress appropriately and have a head and shoulders portrait taken. Use a clear, vertical rectangular image.You want to be taken seriously, don’t you?
7. Keep adding connections. They are your professional contacts and part of your social and business network. LinkedIn will prompt you to search for connections by crawling your email, which you gave LinkedIn access to. Use this to find who among your email connections already has a LinkedIn account and invite them to connect. Once you’ve connected with someone, you can access their list of connections. This is termed your ‘extended network.’ You can request an introduction to people in your extended network through your mutual contact.
8. Find, join and contribute to Groups. No matter what your occupation or interest, you will find a wide selection of groups to consider. It’s a good idea to link up with your university or training establishment and check your former student groups, as these connections could lead to opportunities for career development. Find the groups most closely connected with your chosen career path and join them to learn, ask questions and make further connections.
9. Let yourself be found. Unlike ‘Hide-and-go-seek’ you have to let others find you. Users search LinkedIn by way of keywords. As with an SEO (Search Engine Opimisation) campaign, choose keywords based on your skills and experience and your company’s products and services. Find keywords to describe the way your company helps to resolve problems and include those keywords throughout your LinkedIn profile, especially in your headline, job description and summary.
10. Keep up with industry news. Having joined LinkedIn, don’t put your feet up and concentrate solely on the social side. Use Pulse, an award-winning app that enables you to create a customised news feed from thousands of top sources. You can find content that’s trending worldwide, gain first hand insight, and share your finds with your network. You can also sign up for daily or weekly email summary notifications of Pulse news, or instant notifications when Influencers you’re following post something new. Keep up with the hot topics and trends and learn from your industry leaders and competitors.
Part 2 of this article will be released on 6th January 2016…
Jon Michail is Group CEO of Image Group International, an award winning author and recognised Australasia’s No 1 image coach. Image Group International supports executives, entrepreneurs and their organisations to become iconic and monetised leadership brands.
He has been a regular commentator in international media including ABC, CNN, NBC, Harvard Business Review, Entrepreneur, Success, The Financial Review and Vogue.