Dayna M. Mathews, Glendale Community College Career & Employment Services
“Active participation on LinkedIn is the best way to say, 'Look at me!' without saying 'Look at me!”
I don’t know about you, but I love LinkedIn. And I mean LOOOVE it. Utilizing LinkedIn is a part of my daily routine, and over the past four years, I’ve come to know the in’s and out’s and what it truly has to offer if you choose to use it.
There are hundreds beyond hundreds of articles out there telling us what we need to know to, “Make Your Profile Sparkle with These 5 Tips” and “10 Ways to Make Sure Employers Notice Your LinkedIn Profile” and so on. All of these articles are immensely beneficial, but I think it’s time someone shared tips that you don’t typically hear about; Tips based upon my personal experience which I’ve found to be helpful when using LinkedIn.
1. Use LinkedIn to tell people, "THIS is who I really am!" AKA: Establish your brand.
This is a simple request yet so complicated for some because it requires focused direction; something many of us do not consider to be within our scope of reality. My advice to you is to seek to gain clarity in your career goals. Dig deep, ask yourself reflective questions, and decide what your path(s) of inspiration and expertise is and will be. Even if you have two different interests, choose one career path at a time to focus on and pursue it right now. The beauty of life is that if you choose one direction and find it wasn’t the right one for you, you can always choose another and begin again.
As stated by a Sales Recruiter I’ve recently spoken with, “Showing direction and conviction in your career path is much more attractive than someone who claims to be a jack of all trades with no specialties.”
2. Answer the most important question.
"What is my LinkedIn goal(s)?" Whether your goal be to get rid of your massive rolodex, learn from LinkedIn Influencers, or to broaden your scope of connections, your goal(s) will give you motivation to proactively use and engage with LinkedIn. When we set goals, the light at the end of the tunnel becomes brighter, and the path to get there naturally uncovers itself to you. Setting SMART goals is the impetus to progressive success.
The key to finding success with LinkedIn is actively using it in an appropriate, directed, and professional manner. And without a goal in mind, this tends to become a taxing chore. And NOBODY likes chores. (Well, except for my girlfriend’s six-year-old son, who, with every chore completed, receives stars to use toward getting his next toy. Now, THAT’s motivation!)
3. Your headline is your eye catcher not your nap catalyst.
Your headline is the first thing people see, other than your picture, when they look at your profile and decide whether or not you are a person of interest. Just like the title of an article, you want to entice the reader to read more, not to bore them. You want them to want to discover who you are, what you represent, and how to best build a relationship with you. In addition, if you’re a job-seeker, your headline should be filled with industry related key words and YOUR top skills/education related to the job you’re seeking. I personally believe everyone’s headline should be done this way, but it is especially imperative for those looking for work on LinkedIn. If you’re lost, take a look at what successful folks in your industry are using and see what might work for you. Tip: NEVER steal someone else’s headline.
For your reference, My LinkedIn headline reads: Career Development, Job Search & LinkedIn Trainer | Writer | Motivational Optimist | Relationship Builder
4. If you're not visible, you're invisible.
In order for your connections to stay in the loop as to what you do and what industry you’re an expert within, I recommend that you seek to stay visible. If people can't see you, they can't get to know and respect you. What does that mean? That means, at least once a week you update your status with one of three things: An industry-related article representing your niche and, more importantly, a topic your network will find appealing; a personal status informing your network of a professional related event, personal development accomplishment or something related to the work that you do; or an inspirational quote/photo to showcase your values or to brighten the day of your network.
Be sure that EVERYTHING you share is 100% appropriate (non-controversial) and no more than once or twice per day.
5. Utilize the K.I.S.S.D Principle
This communication principle is something I came up with when analyzing how I format my personal messages to contacts and colleagues. It stands for:
Simple – When keeping your requests/messages simple, your network will better understand you.
Strategic – Think strategically when writing your messages. Tailor to your audience every time.
Direct – The more direct your communication/request is the better. No beating around the bush.
By following this principle, especially when writing to a LinkedIn contact to ask for something, you will improve your response results, maintain a professional image, and accomplish your LinkedIn goals much faster; I promise.
Utilize these 5 tips and I’m confident you will see better results.
Dayna Mathews, Advisor in GCC’s Career & Employment Services Department, has been providing guidance and expert advice to job-seekers, students, and career changers since getting her start as a Disability Program Navigator Intern at the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development in 2009. Dayna is passionate about helping students and community members find their niche, realize their potential, and go after the career they want.
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