The social arena that is LinkedIn can be a complicated one if you’re not familiar with using it. Many people, including me, set up a LinkedIn profile whilst at university, with the hope of gaining exposure and obtaining a job. However, there is much more to LinkedIn than helping people find employment.
These tips aim to help you use LinkedIn efficiently and better understand the function of this social platform…
This may appear to be stating the obvious, but your profile is the most important thing when you create your online persona. With this in mind, make sure that every single aspect of this is completely up to date and filled in.
Do you use your LinkedIn profile for business purposes? If so, link your profile in as many ways as possible to your place of work, by adding the relevant email and the web address of the company homepage.
What’s the best way to grow your network?
An obvious place to start is with your friends and family, because these are usually guaranteed connections, which will provide you with a platform for growth. But, as you’re probably using LinkedIn for professional reasons, extend this to colleagues past and present, suppliers, clients and other work-based contacts.
The next place to look would be in the ‘recommended for you’ feature that LinkedIn offers. In this section there will be a list of people that you have mutual connections with, or whom you may know based on your profile.
Finally, if you attend any networking events, this is another chance for you to introduce yourself and connect with new people on LinkedIn. And soon enough, your network will have doubled, trebled and possibly even quadrupled in size!
Who should you connect with?
You can pretty much connect with whoever you want. Some people may suggest not adding or accepting people that you don’t know. But remember, when you add someone to your network, you’re not only connecting with them but with their whole network as well, which can work in your favour, providing the reasoning is ethical rather than intrusive. If you’re unsure of whether to accept someone, there’s no harm in taking a look at their profile to see if the connection is relevant for you. For example, they may work within the same industry as you, or one that you are keen to branch into; which would make them a valuable addition.
If you don’t feel that you want certain people in your network then there is no need to accept. It is your decision as to who you liaise with online!
Before this can occur, you need to make sure you have taken the time to list the skills you want others to endorse you for. These are designed for people to effectively put in a ‘good word’ about you and further showcase your capabilities. Even though they’re not an essential part of your profile, they are a great tool enabling others to view your expertise.
If you don’t have any of these then don’t be afraid to ask your peers, customers and suppliers – after all they probably know you better than anyone. And, you can return the favour and endorse them back if they have qualities that you feel deserve praise.
What should you post?
This is entirely dependent on what you use LinkedIn for. If you’re using it for your business it is a good idea to post career status updates. These will keep your connections informed about your present professional status and reinforce your brand. Share your joy, excitement and achievements, because this encourages your network to engage with your posts and view your profile. And, don’t be afraid to share your own commentary on events you attend, industry news/topics and your own professional progression, as this adds a personal touch to your posts!
If you’re on the hunt for your first job, between employment or want a career change, then you can post about the kind of job opportunity you are seeking. This is a great way to make people aware of what you are looking for, and a business who is trying to fill a role within their company may spot this and approach you!
Alternatively, if you have set up your profile whilst at university and are not yet at the stage of job searching, sharing news and articles that catch your attention is a good way to show your network what interests you and even what your views are.
These are just a few tips to help get you started with LinkedIn and how to use it. Once you have your profile set up and have established your purpose for using it, you can begin to grow your network!
Do you also struggle using Twitter and want some guidance on using this social platform? Take a quick look at our 5 tips here.