LinkedIn is an effective tool if you’re looking for a job, wanting to network, or develop yourself professionally. It’s for “real” people to connect in a professional way with other “real” people. But if you don’t know how to use LinkedIn effectively, your time spent on it can be a complete waste.
It All Starts With Your Profile
Because it lists your skills and experience, your Profile is what you use to connect with people in your network and get found on LinkedIn. It takes a bit of time to get everything set up, but it’s worth it.
Since “a picture is worth a thousand words,” make sure you include a great photo. Because LinkedIn Profiles with professional headshots get 14 times more profile views.It doesn’t have to be taken by a professional, but it should be professional-looking. Remember, it’s truly the first impression someone viewing your profile has of you. Do you look warm and inviting? Or do you look like a mannequin?
According to LinkedIn, simply having a photo results in 21 times more profile views and 9 times more connection requests. LinkedIn has a cool new feature – the ability to use filters and edit your photo on your mobile phone. And remember, profile photos are currently circular in format. So, whether you’re uploading from your computer or mobile phone, ALWAYS look at it to make sure it looks great.
In addition to a great headshot, a great Summary is crucial because it is one of the first things people will see when they visit your Profile. This blog post explains why telling a story when writing your Summary is effective. It’s the place to tell the story of your professional career. Start out by stating who you are and what skills you’ve developed over the years. List the work you have done, your communication skills, and any leadership skills you have. Relevant keywords from your field of interest are crucial and should be used in your Summary. Write it in a conversational way that entices the reader to read more…and hopefully connect with you.
Once your Profile is filled out completely, mark your calendar to review it every month and update it with new accomplishments. But if you experience a job change, visit your Profile right away and update your work history in the Experience section. You might want to consider changing your Summary to discuss the “perfect” job that you’re looking for.
Next, Create a Presence
And what good is a presence on LinkedIn? If you don’t have an active presence, you may not come up in the searches. Just having great info isn’t enough. It’s critical that you are posting updates several times a week. And don’t forget that LinkedIn also has the option to publish articles. I use that feature for my blog posts. Also, spend time looking at – and commenting on – posts from your connections. It’s all about building relationships!
You can use LinkedIn effectively to connect with current and former colleagues, and add new connections from networking events, conferences, and so forth. It’s also a great way to maintain connections who may be helpful in your career. The “sweet spot” for the number of connections is around 300, so aim for at least that many. LinkedIn uses the information in your profile to suggest people to connect with, including coworkers (former and current) as well as alumni.
One very important thing to remember: when you send a request to connect, personalize it every time! Remind the person how you know them and tell them why you want to connect.
If you’re looking for a job, you can research companies, interviewers, recruiters, and hiring managers. You can see how helpful this would be before submitting applications and showing up to interviewers or even talking with a potential virtual client, right?
To create an even greater presence and more engagement, join relevant LinkedIn Groups and be active in them. Don’t just lurk!
Does It Cost Anything to Use LinkedIn?
Aside from your time, LinkedIn is free and the majority of users have a free account. However, there are several paid options available, based on your needs.
But because the monthly fee for the premium options adds up quickly, you should thoughtfully weigh whether or not the benefits are worth the cost. Will the benefits actually move you any closer to making a terrific connection, building your business or getting that new job? Always try the free version first, then upgrade if necessary.
As with any social media platform, to use LinkedIn effectively, you must work at it. The old saying still stands true, “Anything worth having is worth working for.” When you make LinkedIn work for you, you’ll reap the benefits.
What shape is your LinkedIn Profile in? Do you use LinkedIn effectively? If you need help creating a capturing story about you in your Summary, contact me.
Share your LinkedIn Profile URL in the comments below, and let’s connect.