LinkedIn is all about networking with others, whether you know them personally or professionally. With over 200 million LinkedIn users around the world, it’s important to keep your profile in tip top shape. You never know who could find your profile and inquire about the product or service you’re offering, or offer you your dream job.
Here’s how use LinkedIn successfully by following a few easy steps:
1. Maintain a Thorough and Updated Profile
This step is so easy, yet is commonly skipped. First off, your photo should be a professional head shot. If you don’t have one, take one instead of settling for an old or unprofessional picture that you snagged from your friend’s Facebook album. Your photo is the first thing that viewers will see, so make sure it’s a good one. Once you have a winning digital portrait, start filling in your professional background to match that pretty face. Don’t neglect any necessary information, like past work experience – this should mimic a detailed resume, your education (school, major, year you graduated, etc.), skills and endorsements, and eventually some recommendations. Update these sections regularly so you can present yourself accurately.
2. Share Interesting Articles, Photos, and Videos
LinkedIn isn’t the place to share cute puppy videos, but it is a great location to share relevant business articles or blog posts. Not only should you share written pieces, but helpful infographics and videos are appealing to users across the board. Additionally, sharing other users’ content notifies them that you shared their post and may lead to them to your profile (or your company’s).
Don’t be shy – connect with people you just met as well as people you met a few decades ago. LinkedIn isn’t personal like Facebook or Twitter, so you shouldn’t be shy when requesting to connect with someone. You should also join some groups that appeal to your professional interests. Here you will meet more people within your industry who share common interests. Getting your name out there within your industry, especially locally, will help others recognize you in the future.
When you join a few industry-related groups, start contributing to discussions. Not only start new discussions, but also participate in current discussions. Read the conversation threads, get involved, and make some new connections. You will learn new strategies, opinions, and experiences that could help you in your career. You may also provide some great insight that someone else could use.
5. Keep it Purely Professional
LinkedIn differs from other social media sites in the sense that it is solely for professional content. Speak well, use proper grammar, and avoid inappropriate conversations. Think of it as an interview; if you wouldn’t say something in a formal interview, don’t post it to LinkedIn. Additionally, be sure not to post anything too personal, as you will likely be connecting with people who you don’t necessarily know personally.
Effectively taking advantage of LinkedIn and all it has to offer will likely pay off for you, and it’s much easier than it looks. Take the time to properly set up your profile so that you can reap all of the benefits it has to offer. You may meet your newest client or your next business partner – you never know!