There is just no getting around it – Linkedin is here to stay. If you’re a professional in any field – from administrative to the C-suite – having a rich LinkedIn profile is now critical to your career success.
With over 150 million people on the site, it is a powerful tool that will help you advance professionally, whether it’s to market yourself or your service/product or to make a career move.
98% of recruiters use LinkedIn to source talent. So, if you’re looking for a job, LinkedIn is the best way to position yourself as a desirable candidate. If you’re happily employed, you can reach thousands (and potentially millions) of people on LinkedIn as an ambassador of your company’s brand. If you’re scouting well-connected people to serve on a board for a non-profit, you can find them on LinkedIn.
I teach weekly seminars on using LinkedIn for nearly every professional situation, and here’s my best advice:
Be Open to Sharing Your Professional Information, But Stay In Control
If you’re a Baby Boomer like me, you probably have legitimate concerns about your privacy on the Internet. But the reality is that you’re going to have to let it go and adapt. LinkedIn gives you almost complete control over how your personal information is displayed, but in today’s business environment, you have to be at least somewhat visible to stay competitive.
Reach The Magic Numbers for Connections and Profile Length
Connect with at least 65 of your professional contacts and aim for 100% profile completion. Experts consider those the magic numbers that guarantee your profile will be optimized in search results.
Post a Friendly, Professional Profile Picture
Choose a profile picture that’s truly looks like you when you look your best. Professional headshots are encouraged, but not required, so long as you seem approachable. Be sure to pick a photo that you’re smiling in – people generally want to work with someone who they think they’ll like.
Be a Giver
Write an unsolicited recommendation to someone least expecting it. Connect people to each other if it can help them. It will come back to you in spades.
Don’t Overdo It
When you first join LinkedIn, you might get caught up in searching for people you haven’t seen in ten years, looking at profiles, and just playing around on the site. The amount of available information is pretty amazing, but it can really suck you in. Try not to spend more than an hour a day on it.
Get in Front of People
LinkedIn is a phenomenal tool that enables us to get offline and build in-person connections. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone or send a message and arrange to meet. There is nothing better than face-to-face communication.
Your Daily, Monthly, and Weekly LinkedIn Strategy
• Check the updates on your homepage.
• Look for possible new connections, groups to join, updates from companies you follow, profile updates, and people you may know.
• Check on any group discussions and updates.
• Post a status update every two to three days, and keep it professional.
• Recommend a colleague, manager, direct report, or client.
• Share an article.
• Research your connections – stay connected (be in touch).
• Send a contact a request for an informational interview or informal networking meeting.
• Review your profile. Make sure the summary, expertise, and professional experience sections are up to date, compelling, and grammatically correct.
• Review your group memberships. Make sure that they retain value to you. If you’re getting too many emails, you can change the settings and stop the emails from appearing in your inbox.
Anita Greenwald is currently the Program Coordinator for UJA Federation of NY’s Connect to Care at WJCS. You can check out her profile at www.linkedin.com/in/anitagreenwald, or find her on Twitter – @AnitaGreenwald.