Would you send a potential employer an incomplete resume and expect to get a callback or an offer? Not likely. If a potential customer or client reviews your profile, how do you stand out against your competition? LinkedIn is a powerful tool that acts as a resume, Rolodex, networking event, lead generator, and much more. If you’re curious about how to improve your LinkedIn experience, explore our five tips that you can start implementing today.
Optimize Your Profile
Use a professional headshot; if you don’t have one or hate yours, have someone take one with a smartphone that looks the part. Please do NOT use a selfie of any variety. Upload a cover image that represents you in some way; a location, your company or role, a passion, etc.; next, create a list of 3 to 5 keywords that reflect your professional aspirations, goals, interests, and current position. These keywords are the framework for the rest of your profile. Be sure to use them in your headline, about section, and experiences. And, for the love of headlines, write something that isn’t on your business card.
Grow Your Network
LinkedIn takes connections very seriously, including the privacy of users who are just outside of your network. Be sure you’re connected to colleagues, coworkers, and others you know professionally – invite those that aren’t already in your LinkedIn network to connect with a short, personalized message, e.g., “Jean, it was great to chat with you during last week’s conference. I would like to stay connected with you for more great conversations.” Many of your current connections may be helpful as you continue to grow yours through introductions.
Follow Relevant Influencers
Yes, there are also influencers on LinkedIn. No, not Kim Kardashian, but true industry experts and leaders who share your passions, provide great insights, and have impactful content. Following relevant influencers provides your newsfeed with excellent content and keeps you thinking and engaged with the platform. Influencers can help you stay up-to-date with industry trends and future-facing insights. As content resonates with you, you may opt to share influencer content with your connections, adding value to your network.
Ask & Give Recommendations
Asking for a LinkedIn Recommendation doesn’t have to be awkward, but it does help if you add a twist. To get started, identify a few current connections that you know would write a glowing recommendation and ask. Here’s the twist – make it reciprocal. Be sure that of these identified connections, you’d also be willing to return the favor. Recommendations give your profile a boost as other professionals value you and your contributions. And, if you happen to be on the job hunt, these recommendations may help put you at the front of the pack of candidates.
Join Groups and participate in discussions (and grow connections outside of your immediate network). Leave comments that provide value. Publish posts and articles relevant to your industry, career, and passions. Give yourself some time each week to explore the platform, its different features and recent updates. Additionally, update your posts often with quality content that is relevant to you and your network. Don’t forget about LinkedIn Article, formerly Pulse. This blog-like feature invites original content on the platform where others can engage and share it with their networks.
There are so many things to explore on LinkedIn that require a strong foundation built upon your profile and these tactics. As you become a super-user, LinkedIn offers Premium subscriptions that provide additional services and opportunities, especially if you’re in sales, recruitment, or on a job hunt. Consider exploring these options as you define your personal and professional goals.