Putting LinkedIn to Work

By David Smith

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Is your LinkedIn profile working as hard for you as you would like it to?  Do you find that every time you access your profile, it looks the same?  No new messages, no profile views, no invitations to connect?

Why is this?  LinkedIn is held up as 'the place to be' when it comes to looking for work...so what is going wrong?

It has been said that having a [insert preferred Social Media platform] profile and not being active is rather like attending a networking event [which could well include job/career fair] and standing in the corner, not speaking to anyone, not handing out your business card and leaving without having gained a single contact.

Here are a few things worth thinking about and putting into practice.

Make Sure People can Find You

Delving into the mysterious world of Search Algorithms is a bit tricky, suffice to say that LinkedIn's searchy-thingies will favour "1st level connections with profiles that are 100% [or as close as possible] complete."  Which gives us a clue as to what is important with regard to your profile.  The tools are actually there, built into LinkedIn, ready to help you complete your profile.  You may have seen prompts such as 'Where else have you worked?'  'What school did you attend?' - there are many more, keep adding information until you see the below.

If you get this element correct, then you will feel so much more confident when directing employers/recruiters to your profile.

Making Connections

Once your profile reveals how awesome you are, then it is time to start making connections.  At the top of the list is this...'It's not Facebook!'  Please do not try to build a huge network overnight.  If you start connecting with people indiscriminately, you may get a stern email from LinkedIn saying 'Stop this!!'  You may be reported as a spammer and run the risk of getting your account suspended or even deleted.  

Start with baby steps.  You don't have to know somebody really, really well, just enough that they will recognise you if you try to link with them.  Twitter is a great meeting place, then once you have a foundation to build on, you can recommend that you strengthen your link with a LinkedIn connection.  This really does highlight the importance of a good profile picture, one they are likely to recognise.

A Two Way Street

I know that I use this term a lot, but networking is not just about what you can gain from your network, it is about the value that you bring to the network.  It is OK to raise awareness that you are either out of work or looking for a change - it is so much better to use LinkedIn as a way to showcase your knowledge and talent.  Get involved in industry-specific groups, make comments and even start conversations that demonstrate your experience.  Be bold and ask for recommendations from people you have worked with/for.

This is the way to get noticed and you will find it more effective than 'Hey!  I'm out of work. Hey!  I'm looking for a change.  Hey!  Can somebody do me a favour?'

Going the Extra Mile...

So you have a brilliant profile?  Are you happy with that?  You should be....but now is not the time to stand back and admire your handiwork, now is the time to add to it and make it even better....more impressive.  Have you got any projects that you can link to your profile?  If not, can you set up a scribd.com account and get your work online for prospective employers to see, build anticipation in them - make them want to call you in for an interview.  Link your personal website to your profile....keep your profile fresh and appealing, ask for feedback and listen to constructive criticism.

Above all, be active!  How disappointing it is when I see that a person has worked really hard on their profile and then keeps quiet about it...actually it suggests a lot of effort for minimum return.

I hope this has helped, but feel free to drop me an email if you have any feedback or need some clarification - or look up my LinkedIn profile, mention this article and connect with me there.


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You might like these blog posts 6 Tools That Will Make Your Social Media Campaigns a Breeze, Small Business Marketing - How To Generate Leads Using Social Media?, 5 Ways to Turn Performance Review Feedback into Goals for Improvement, and The 5-Step Guide For Small Business Productivity.

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