Most people are aware of the benefits of the LinkedIn platform when it comes to making new contacts and generally progressing in your career. Many people make the mistake however of simply signing up, filling out their profile, adding all of their existing contacts and leaving it at that. Although doing so is certainly beneficial, it does not come even close to truly utilizing the effectiveness of the platform. If you really want to experience the benefits that it can provide, you need to work a little harder. Here are ten tips for doing just that.
Get Your Profile Up to Scratch
Of course the first thing that you should do upon joining LinkedIn is to fill out your profile completely.
- It’s important to upload a photo of yourself as how you look is an essential part of building a professional brand.
- Reach out to ex employers, past clients and other contacts for personal recommendations.
- Include a snappy description that appeals to your target audience, your job title alone simply isn’t going to cut it.
Make Sure People Read It
Some people make the mistake of setting up the perfect LinkedIn profile only to let it go unnoticed when they apply for a new job. If you take the time to complete your LinkedIn profile, make sure that you also take the time to include a link to it in your resume. Your profile should also be advertised in both your email signature and your business cards. You never know when you are going to meet that perfect contact.
Get More Contacts
The more contacts you have, the higher up the rankings you will be when hiring managers search for people with your talents. You should therefore make it your goal to get as many contacts as possible. Sending out contact requests should be a daily activity, not a weekend one.
Participate in Discussions
Asking and answering questions on LinkedIn should also become part of your daily schedule. Doing so not only demonstrates your knowledge about your field, the mere fact that you are discussing it in your free time demonstrates that you also have a genuine interest in it. And as you do so, you are of course communicating with other people in your field and thus developing more contacts.
There are groups for just about everything on LinkedIn and the more that you join, the more contacts that you are going to acquire. You should start with the groups that contain those that could have the most effect on your career i.e. those that contain hiring managers within your field. You should then further expand your search to include just about any group that is relevant to what you do.
Use the Job Boards
The job boards on LinkedIn have two primary advantages over most other online job boards.
- First off, many of the positions advertised on LinkedIn are exclusive to LinkedIn members. This not only means that that the board contains positions not available anywhere else, it also means that those positions will have fewer applicants.
- The second advantage is that when you apply for any position on LinkedIn, the person receiving your application will be immediately directed to your profile. This is not only advantageous from a networking stand point, it also means that your resume and cover letter is being combined with another serious demonstration of your value.
Find Common Ground with Important Contacts
The wealth of information that people provide on their LinkedIn profiles can be highly beneficial when it comes to finding common ground with people that can help you. For example, if you have an interview coming up and you know the name of the person that will be interviewing you, a few minutes reading their LinkedIn profile can provide you with many things to talk about. The same logic applies to just about any new contact that you want to make.
Promote Your Personal Blog or Site
If you have set up any type of personal website or blog, LinkedIn can be a great way to get it noticed. Not only can you direct anyone that visits your profile to your site, linking to it from LinkedIn also helps to promote your site to search engines. If you really want to maximize the effectiveness of advertising your site on LinkedIn, make sure that you include not just a link but also a short description of your sites content. The guys at Boltz Media are good at generating compelling descriptions if you need help in this area.
Find New Companies to Target
As you are likely aware, not all openings are advertised. It is therefore highly beneficial for you to know what companies in your area regularly hire people with your skills. LinkedIn can assist you in acquiring said knowledge by allowing you to search for people with the same skills and geographical location as you. You then simply need to establish where those people are working.
Get Inside Knowledge About Potential Employers
When you are applying for any job, having a contact inside the company can prove invaluable. Such a contact can provide you with information about the company culture and exactly what the company is looking for in the perfect candidate. LinkedIn enables you to search your contacts and establish whether any of them are working at a given company. You might be surprised to learn that such valuable information is simply a private message away. I also write for ThirdSector and see people using LinkedIn and other social networks to find NGO and charity jobs with ThirdSector regularly.