In marketing, SEO and social media especially, it is just about mandatory to have a LinkedIn profile. Not only can you network with others in the industry, but you can also use it for job searching, keeping track of past projects, and reading news, among many other features. To take full advantage of all the features LinkedIn has to offer, it is important to use it correctly and strategically.
Of course, being professional on LinkedIn sounds like a piece of cake. However, you might be surprised at some of what we see on this professional network. Read on to learn what to do, what not to do and how you can become an All Star on LinkedIn.
Do send a personalized message to LinkedIn members you know.
The standard invitation to connect is acceptable, but being personal helps you stand out from the crowd. Try something like, “Hi Mary. It was a pleasure speaking with you at the networking event last Thursday. I would love to add you to my network on LinkedIn, and hope to continue discussing the project soon.” Of course, the message can be more or less formal depending on how well you know your new connection.
Do write a summary that is short and descriptive of your top skills and experience.
Your summary is one of the first things people see on your profile. However, connections will often not read the summary if it is too long. Keep the summary short and sweet, and take the time to describe your best and most relevant skills, personality, or what you feel will best help you in your industry.
Do add projects, articles or blogs to each specific job description.
By adding tangible, creative projects to each of your job descriptions, you are not only TELLING people that you did these tasks, you are SHOWING them. More so, you’re showing them that you did those tasks extremely well (we hope).
Do ask for endorsements from credible sources.
Asking for endorsements should not be scary or make you feel weird. If you know you did a good job at something, there is no harm asking others to support you. Endorsements are one of the best, if not THE best, way to show that you are credible and skilled.
Do describe your position and tasks in detail.
If you just add a title and company to your page, viewers are not able to see how complex your job really is, how varied your tasks are or how valuable your job was. Give details to further explain your job, and show potential employers the exact experience you’ve gained.
Do endorse, congratulate and interact with other connections.
This is important especially if others have endorsed you. Return the favor to others whom you know their skill set. Congratulate connections on new jobs or accomplishments, and engage with others on the platform. You might be surprised at the opportunities you receive.
Do use LinkedIn groups to your advantage.
Whether you’re in an alumni group from college or a group of professionals in your industry, joining these groups opens doors to amazing opportunities. Find volunteer opportunities, jobs, advice, relevant articles, news and network with others.
Don’t have an unprofessional profile photo.
This may seem like a given, but an unprofessional profile photo can turn off many potential connections. The big no-no’s are any photo with alcohol, other people, pets or other irrelevant items in the photo. Instead, use a simple head shot. To go above and beyond, take a professional photo or call up a friend who has a nice camera to take the photo for you.
Don’t include jobs that are extremely irrelevant to your industry.
If you’ve been solidly working in your industry for more than a few years, you can begin to take off the odd jobs you held in high school or college. Try to keep your job experienced focused on jobs that are relevant now, or you think might be relevant in the future. The exception to this is if you haven’t yet gained experience in your chosen field. In this case, keep jobs on your profile to show that you are a dedicated employee who has held jobs for long periods of time.
Don’t use LinkedIn for anything other than a professional networking site.
It’s not Facebook, Twitter or a dating site. Make sure you’re tailoring posts to be appropriate for this audience.
Don’t share your profile if it is outdated.
Although keeping a constantly updated profile might seem annoying, it is incredibly important. If you can’t find the time to update your profile, keep it off your resume until you’re able to.
Don’t request to connect with someone just to get to 500+.
Make sure you’re connecting with people you either know personally, or want to know in order to network with. Even then, try to keep requesting strangers to a minimum and do not simply request someone so that you can spam them.
Also a given, make sure you’re being honest!
What other tips do you have for LinkedIn? Tell us in the comments below!
“The Power of Sending Personalized LinkedIn Messages” by Stephanie Sammons. LinkedIn.
“5 Essential Tips for a Killer LinkedIn Summary” by Brenda Bernstein. Careercast.
“Everything You Need to Know About LinkedIn Endorsements” by Susan Adams. Forbes.
“How to Network Using LinkedIn Groups” by Stephanie Sammons. Social Media Examiner.
“The Worst LinkedIn Photos You Can Have” by Vivian Giang. Business Insider.
“5 Tips for Connecting with Strangers on LinkedIn” by Andrea Smith. Huffington Post.