Whether you’re looking for a new job right now or just open to the possibilities that might come your way, LinkedIn can be your best tool for advancing your career, building a great network, and cultivating your position as a thought leader.
LinkedIn is so much more than just a place to post your resume and keep tabs on colleagues from previous jobs! Granted, there are other social media platforms that can help with this as well, but for those who are career-minded and looking to make a name for themselves professionally, it’s probably the most powerful social media platform you can utilize.
But are you using LinkedIn to its full potential?
Here’s how to maximize your LinkedIn account to help build your network and gain connections:
- Tell the best story of yourself. When you log in, take a look at your profile picture. When was it taken? Have you changed in appearance at all? You do have a photo saved to your account, right? The best LinkedIn profile photos are professional looking, focused on your face, well-lit, and inviting without looking too stern, serious, or angry. You also want to make sure that your profile is up-to-date, with your latest work history, awards, honors, recognitions, associations, memberships, etc., all listed and kept current. You don’t want someone to be impressed by something you did five years ago only to find it’s no longer relevant or that you haven’t progressed.
- Keywords are your friends. Just like optimizing a website to be well-ranked on Google and widely shared on social media, the words you utilize on LinkedIn will make it easier for people to find you when they’re looking for certain things. If you’re an expert on a topic, do a little digging and find out the top keywords and search terms for that topic, then diligently incorporate those words into your LinkedIn profile and any articles you share on the subject. You want to be viewed and found in searches as an expert on the topic, someone with more knowledge and experience, someone whose thoughts should be taken seriously.
- Be ready to branch out. The keyword is in the name: Linked. The whole concept of this website was to make connections! At first, you might have only connected with people you worked with at the time, along with maybe some college friends or people you knew from high school or a previous job. But LinkedIn is so much more. You can join groups, find organizations, follow industry experts, share articles, learn about job opportunities, and give people testimonials that can help advance their careers — it’s an entire network that also serves as a great networking tool! Search for your interests and then follow people and groups who share them. Contribute to conversations. Like and share posts.
- Say hi. This might bring back memories of childhood and being nervous on the first day at a new school. But LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to meet new people and introduce yourself with a lot less awkwardness! If someone’s posting material you’re interested in, and you’re not connected to them yet, you can request to join their network. Personalize the request by saying why you want to know them better and that you’re impressed with what expertise they’ve been sharing. People love to hear that! Also, if you know people who would benefit from this same knowledge, pass it along. LinkedIn is a great resource for introducing people and sharing ideas.
- Crowdsource information. If you have a tricky situation at work, a problem you can’t solve, or a conflict that needs resolution, and you just don’t know what else to try, ask your LinkedIn community. You’re talking to and asking for help from like-minded people with similar backgrounds who might have different experiences. One of them might have just the answer you’re looking for — and who knows, someone else might be in just the same spot and appreciate you asking first!
LinkedIn is also a great way for companies to look for passive candidates, people who aren’t looking for jobs right now but might make a great fit for an open position within their company. LinkedIn users who keep their profiles up-to-date and active often talk about getting interview offers and invites from recruiters who just happened upon their profile and end up landing great new jobs without having to do much work at all!
So if you’re looking for a new job and are starting the work of updating your LinkedIn, it might also be time to reach out to SmartTalent. We work with companies that are actively, right now, looking to add to their team. Take a look at the jobs we’re working to fill, and then give us a call!