With over 500 million users, LinkedIn is a great tool for networking, job hunting, and marketing yourself as an employee. Although it is technically another form of social media, the online etiquette through this platform is particularly different from other social networking sites, especially when it comes to connecting with other users. To better understand how to navigate your way to a strong pool of connections, follow these 10 tips.
1. Complete your profile
Before you begin connecting with colleagues and searching for jobs, you want to make sure your profile is completely finished. Simply having a profile picture and listing your most recent position isn’t enough to show other users that you are active in the workforce and worth hiring. Thankfully, LinkedIn breaks down the steps for you as you create your profile. But if you still need some help, here are a few things you must have on your account:
- Professional profile picture
- Current position
- Skill set
2. First connect with those you know – and then those you may not
Once your profile is complete, it’s time to start building up that network. When looking for connections to add, be sure to add alumnae, colleagues, and anyone else you may have met in the industry. Once those first contacts are made, your network will start to expand a lot easier.
If you’re connecting to someone you may have only met once, definitely send a brief but personalized message along with your invite. Include unique details to help them remember you and your conversation and to show that you were engaged and listening during that meeting. LinkedIn only allows users to send message invites with no more than 300 characters, so you need to make your message a good one. For more help, check out this article on how to formulate the perfect invitation message.
3. Interact with content on your feed
Just like on regular social media, it’s important to interact with your connections and their content. Like posts, comment on content, and even share articles that are relevant to you and your industry. The more you interact with your network, the more they will interact with you in return.
When commenting or posting, it is important to keep everything positive and professional. After all, if you have nothing nice to say, it’s better to say nothing at all.
4. Create interesting and relevant content
Now that you’ve been interacting with others’ content on your timeline, it’s time to start contributing your own content to the main page. This is the perfect way to showcase your own expertise in the field.
Keep your content relevant to your industry and know what you’re talking about. Posting to LinkedIn is a great way to show recruiters and your network what you actually do and at what level you are able to do it. While you may want to share all of your work with your connections, it’s also important not to spam them. Find a schedule that works for you to post and know what and when you’d like to post.
5. Be professional
LinkedIn is not Instagram or Twitter or Tik Tok. It is a social media platform that lets you emphasize your professional self to the workforce. If your posts and comments are too informal and your profile picture is the same one from your online dating profile, stop right there.
LinkedIn isn’t about having the most followers or highlighting how amazing your vacation was, it is about networking with others and progressing in your career. To do that, be sure to have a professional headshot as your profile picture and only post content in a professional manner.
6. Create a custom URL
When you first create your profile, you’ll be assigned a randomly generated URL along with your name. To help recruiters find your account easier (and to take up less space on your resume), you’ll want to customize your URL to only feature your name. For more information on how to do this, check out our article here.
7. Give recommendations to get recommendations
Recommendations and endorsements may seem like a little, meaningless aspect of LInkedIn, but recruiters are looking at it! If you want to receive endorsements, interact with your connections. If you help them build their network, they will most likely return the favor.
Another way to receive recommendations and endorsements is to ask! A step so simple it’s almost overlooked. If you have your coworkers and supervisors on LinkedIn (which you should), ask them to endorse your skills. More than anyone else, they can vouch for you and your capabilities.
8. Keep your content up-to-date
LinkedIn is a sometimes forgotten about form of social media. While it doesn’t require you to check it each day for updates, though it doesn’t hurt to check it regularly, you should still be keeping your profile as up-to-date as possible.
If you’re hoping to be found by recruiters, it is helpful to have your current title actually be your current title. When updating your profile, be sure to also not overlook your bullet points. Though this aspect can also be easy to forget about, it is important that you have new information to add or numbers to update so other users viewing your profile have an accurate idea of your accomplishments.
9. Keep your profile public
Unlike other popular forms of social media, LinkedIn is one that you want to be public. If recruiters can’t find your account, what’s the point of having one? And it doesn’t just help recruiters find you but even other connections that you did not add yourself.
You can also change your settings to allow recruiters to actively see your account if you are looking for a job. This feature can help you get your name out there and open you up for even more opportunities.
10. Join groups relevant to your industry
One of the most helpful tools LinkedIn offers is the ability to create private groups. These groups can be created for any industry or segment. By joining groups in your industry, it can help you to connect to others within the same field that you may have never met otherwise.
These groups also help you to find job listings in your industry from people you know who can help you get your foot in the door with that company. A good place to start is looking to see if your college or university has an alumni group from your program.
Like anything else, learning to master LinkedIn takes time and effort. But with these tips, you can be on your way to building a strong network of professionals and showing everyone else all that you are capable of!