What is LinkedIn? The Facts…
LinkedIn Is a social networking website for people in professional occupations. Founded in December 2002 and launched in May 2003, it is mainly used for professional networking. LinkedIn now has over 250 million members globally!
It’s for professionals , I’m still at uni, what does it have to do with me?
LinkedIn has become a substantial online platform for recruitment across all disciplines. Employers and recruiters actively look on LinkedIn to headhunt candidates and advertise job vacancies – so it’s a great place to start looking for graduate or internship jobs!
A basic LinkedIn Account is free – so you may as well try it!
LinkedIn works a bit like Facebook; You set up a profile, write a bit about yourself, and start networking. You can join groups based on your interests, add friends (Connections) and send mail (InMail).
However, unlike Facebook, your profile and actions need to be professional. Your profile is the new ‘first impression’. It’s normal to be Googled before meeting someone professionally for the first time (i.e., for an interview) so your LinkedIn profile may be what they see first. Make it professional and appropriate. A good first step would be to upload an avatar. suitable picture would be a photo of you, head and shoulders only, with a plain background. Unless you work with Disney don’t make it a cartoon!
You can upload a formal CV/resume to your profile for contacts to download, so you’re profile itself is not necessarily your resume. Think of what would make your profile stand out from the crowd. You can detail awards, achievements, interests and there is space to upload documents, images and videos – so be creative!
This first step is to create a great persona. The best profiles are rich with relevant information; they’re like a candid conversation about yourself, they’re not just a list of prior employers. Make your strengths stand out and state your career goals.
Consider yourself as a brand; LinkedIn is a personal PR tool – use it in a dignified way, but don’t over share personal details. Act like Barack Obama not like a tabloid celeb! Try using SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) to help you get discovered. If you were looking for someone like yourself, what search terms would you include? Use them in your profile and make your public profile available to everyone for search purposes
Try to get discovered beyond the LinkedIn website. If you leave a comment at a news site or a professional blog, enter your LinkedIn public profile URL in the ‘your website’ section. You can also add your URL to your professional Twitter profile or other social networks. Make it part of your ‘about me’ if you have a blog relevant to your profession or add it to your email signature, or CV.
Building your network
To start building your network Import your email contacts and look at LinkedIn’s suggestions of others you may know. You can also search for people you were educated with and who share alumni’s. You can search for former colleagues and suppliers that you may have worked with to. Also when you meet new people, use LinkedIn as a secure point of contact for them to follow up with you afterwards.
But remember The people with the most friends don’t always win! True value will come from adding people to your network that you’ve met or have an online relationship with. A reference from someone you respect is recommended but choose wisely, less is actually more – gravitas rather than peer popularity.
Contribute by commenting on your network’s updates and join groups where you can contribute to discussions. Participate in polls and share business knowledge; answer questions, and ask questions!! You can stay top of employer or professional minds within your network with regular updates.
You can even create your own professional groups. Try asking people to join and keep the conversation lively and open your group so that it can appear in search results.
You’ll catch more flies with honey than vinegar; Lies, spamming and hijacking threads are not acceptable. Avoid banalities, expletives and controversial posts that may reflect negatively on your career, clients or employer. Be polite, thank others for their positive reinforcement or contributions.
You’ve got mail; Regularly check your inbox for updates and invitations. It is acceptable to exchange InMail before accepting an invitation. You do not have to accept every invitation that you receive.
Learn to be social: Schedule some regular time to visit LinkedIn and to participate. Read LinkedIn’s Today section which aggregates the most shared news updates. Check out who’s new, there may always be someone you know.
On the home page follow the link to see who’s viewed your profile. Adjust your setting to allow others to see if you’ve visited their profiles. You may just find a new career lead…
It doesn’t hurt to look around: Check out the jobs advertised. You may find interesting leads for yourself and others, so share them. Introduce yourself to others who may share professional synergy
Sitting on your hands achieves nothing. Enjoy LinkedIn for bringing you opportunity, friendship and knowledge. It is the new way to assist you with your career and business. You needn’t be aggressive to reap the rewards, just active.