Saturday, December 12, 2015 - By Andy
In a previous post we looked at 5 key networking tips. Tip 4 encourages using multiple channels including online media to help with your networking goals, Linked In of course being one of the main platforms.
If used strategically and towards its full potential, Linked In can be an excellent way of researching companies and people, great for helping you keep in touch with your network, and a channel to help you craft and communicate your ‘personal brand’, an increasingly used career development buzzword and approach in recent times.
1. Spend time on your profile
Once you’ve registered it’s important to spend some time creating the profile you want at the world to see. Add an appropriate professional photo – remember this isn’t Facebook – a head a shoulders shot usually works best. Add your current job title and a summary profile that describes in 2 or 3 easy to read paragraphs, what you’ve done, doing and are looking to achieve. Make sure you include keywords to increase your chance of being found in relevant Linked In searches.
Next, add your employment and education history and be sure that it matches up with your CV. You don’t want conflicting information confusing potential employers and clients.
Have a look at the profile complete % which can be found on the right hand side of the page – you’re aiming for 100%.
2. Find and join relevant groups
Search for and join groups in your areas of interest; a great way of finding people in relevant career fields and identifying hot topics that are being discussed within certain communities. Some groups are open for all to join and some are private which means they will need to accept you - which they usually will do after viewing your profile.
Once you’ve created your account and profile don’t expect other Linked In members to come flocking to you. To build your online community and position yourself in the way you want, you need to become an active user. Start to share and link to news articles, blogs and other online content that help define your areas of interest and which may be of use to your connections. Comment on other people’s posts and shared content, and when you’re good and ready, start to contribute to the discussions that take place over all kinds of topics within the groups (see point 2 above).
Doing this will help keep you in the minds of your connections in an unobtrusive manner and allow you to share some of your views, start discussions and pose questions of your own. All of which can help you on the road to becoming considered a ‘useful’ connection and will contribute to the process of communicating your own brand.
4. Create a customised / personalised URL
Click the ‘update your public profile setting’ under your profile picture, then click the ‘create your custom URL’ link on the right hand side of the page. This allows you to create a shorter, more personalised url which you can copy and paste onto other documentation such as your CV. Much better than the long scary url which is auto generated upon registration of an account.
5. Ask for recommendations
Aim to build up a bank of written recommendations from employers, ex/colleagues and clients which can help deliver a snapshot of some of the good work you’ve done, the type of worker you are and how good you are to work with. It might not ultimately be what lands you your dream job but a good recommendation can go a long way. You can request one through the Linked in system, but it can often be more effective and polite to ask via email, phone or in person in the first instance.
For more help setting up and using online platforms for your career search and development, please get in touch.