Making Your Connections Count: How to Make the Most of Your LinkedIn Account
How to use Linkedin in the proper way?
A stunning 93% of employers admit to checking potential employees’ social media profiles before hiring them. This jaw-dropping statistic may have you rushing to delete your Facebook account – but it should also be a strong motivation to set up a professional and detailed LinkedIn presence.
What is LinkedIn?
LinkedIn is a social network specifically designed to be used as a business networking tool. With over 430 million users in over 200 countries, it has established itself as the website for business networking purposes.
On it, you can:
- create and maintain a professional profile page
- follow, connect with, and message potential contacts, clients, customers, employers, head-hunters and more
- join and participate in groups related to professional areas of interest
- read and write articles
- share ideas, links, and media
- ask questions and receive answers from experts
- establish yourself as an expert in your field
No, it’s not just like Facebook
LinkedIn and Facebook are both social networks, but they are used in completely different ways. You make friends on Facebook – but connections on LinkedIn. This difference is key. You share personal details with friends (photos, personal thoughts, videos you enjoyed) and professional details with connections.
On LinkedIn, your profile page acts like an extended CV, with career summary, education, experience, skills and expertise, publications, and references sections. You can also embed links to showcase your skills or work, so you can send people to your website, show them videos of your presentations, or direct them to your latest ebook. Essentially, it’s a page for others to see the professional you – so make it count!
How to get the most out of your LinkedIn account
Some general tips:
– Make sure your profile picture looks professional. A picture paints a thousand words. Make sure it paints you in a good light!
– Complete your profile. A complete profile shows that you understand the importance of having a strong online presence. It makes you seem professional, committed, modern, and forward-thinking. An incomplete profile may be worse than having none at all.
– Be an active member. Join groups and join in on group discussions. If you read a helpful comment or article, leave a thank you message for the writer. Help others. Answer questions. Write articles. Establish yourself as an expert. The more you showcase your talent, the more people will see you as a talent – and reach out to connect with you.
– Make connections. This is the purpose of the website. Friends, family, college friends, colleagues, bosses, peers, contacts, clients, and employers – they all have the potential to connect you to helpful projects… or to your dream job! Connect with other users you come across in groups. Look through your connections’ connections – and if you’d like to connect with them, ask your connection for an introduction.
– Be personal. Just as in real life, making (and maintaining) a personal connection is vital for networking to work. Personalise your connection requests. Develop real relationships with other users. Develop an online presence that will make your connections feel like they know and can trust you. Don’t bombard anyone with impersonal business offers. Establish yourself as an expert, and then clients, customers, and employers will be much more likely to respond positively – and may even seek you out with offers.
– Don’t be controversial. LinkedIn is not the place for political opinions, strong personal views, aggression, or inappropriate humour. Keep it clean, positive, and professional!
OK, but does it work?
I know what you’re thinking: That sounds like a lot of work. Does LinkedIn really lead to jobs? Well, according to a 2014 survey by recruiting website Jobvite, a whopping 79% of recruiters have hired through LinkedIn.
With that said, LinkedIn is not a magic potion. It is what you make of it. Just like with real-world networking, the connections you make may or may not lead to good things for you later on down the road. But one thing is certain, the wider the net you cast, the greater the chance you have of catching that big fish!
So, why not jump in and see if you can make this social network work for you?