Do you want to hang out with big players? The right place to start with is LinkedIn. The right place where connections are made, leads are generated, deals go up and down, making it a platform with the world’s largest audience of influential and affluent professionals in one place. I consider that LinkedIn is a must-have for every individual from every profession to show the achievements and see where you stand in a herd!
I thought LinkedIn to be just another social networking site like Facebook, Twitter when I joined initially. I created an account but had no idea of using! Connecting with my colleagues on this profile did not make any sense to me. They work with me and already know me, my work and my email address to reach out to me. So, why LinkedIn then?
As time passed, I realized that just my resume was not working to acquire a job. A professional online presence was necessary, where the recruiters could know the kind of people I network with, what people think about me as a professional, read about my recommendations. When asked about my profile, I would be in a state of saying yes or no. Time for me to start building my profile had arrived.
Using LinkedIn is no more difficult than using any other social networking site – with a few caveats. Being designed for professionals, better to keep a business like mentality in mind when working on a profile, adding updates, seeking introductions to new contacts and so on.
The site has a new member almost every second around the clock and boasts members from just about every industry and country imaginable. Many Fortune 500 executives and many other employers use LinkedIn. 98% of recruiters and 85% of hiring managers use their profile to find candidates.
Here are five steps to carving a superlative profile, constructing a valuable network and leveraging both to your best advantage:
- Make a visually appealing profile – “A professional headline with a picture and name is what people see most often on LinkedIn, so it’s worth it to take two to three minutes to craft something appealing” says von Rosen. Make sure to upload a professional looking head-shot. Utilize the full 120 character space for crafting a creative professional headline by using the keywords in the industry.
- Use your profile to showcase things beyond the resume – The professional experience is not explained in detail on the resume. This is the right place to showcase the work! Utilize the full 2000 character space in the Summary section to tell the world about your professionalism.
- On having a publishable profile, strategically connect with others – Connect with existing professionals and personal contacts, former co-workers, current co-workers and other professionals from industry. Wisely grow the network with the profile. After having a positive interaction with professional, it is good to stay in touch with them through LinkedIn. Do not squander a potential connection by sending the default message ” Hi, I’d like to connect with you on LinkedIn”. Take efforts to write a message relevant to the individual while sending the request.
- After having a valuable network, snoop – Snooping is the best way to leverage, but only after having good connections. LinkedIn allows to find former employees, find about the company’s culture, search for job opportunities. It allows a person to be found in opposite to him, searching for a job. So whether being active seeker for a job or not – let others do the work. Join various groups aligning with your interests and participate in discussions. Increase the network by sending a request to another with another user having a common group.
- Stay active on the site – Getting the most out of the site is not just about using the profile when wanting something specific. Better to remain active even when there is no purpose. Remind your contacts about the work, by sharing links relevant to the industry and keeping the profile updated. Also, participate in the discussions in various groups, post answers to questions in groups, follow employers and ask questions.
Marketing yourself and portraying identity cleverly to the world is important. Here are some tips to get you started:
- Photograph: The profile looks unfinished without a photograph and people will barely have a glance at it.
- Headline : The headline appears just below the name and so this space needs to be utilized to flaunt the skills.
- Status : Updating status in a timely manner keeps you in the eye of people. Updating status about some professional event or workshop you are attending or organizing, some achievement, etc. also is helpful.
- Summary: Have a friend brag about you and then do the necessary changes and post it in the summary section.
- Custom URL : LinkedIn offers a concept of customizing your public URL. It is always better to have a customized URL with your name in it, as it is always easy for people to remember names rather than large shabby URLs.
- Add Media :The site officially supports videos, images, audios, documents and presentations by certain providers. Add the media as a part of the summary, experience and education section.
- Link web pages to LinkedIn : You may have created presentations, reports, mock-ups and prototypes during your grad school and work. Make full use of the websites like SlideShare for uploading this content. Link this web page with your LinkedIn page. Create videos demonstrating the installation of technologies or solving a coding question, etc. Publish them on YouTube and link it to your profile.
- Participate in Groups: Start discussions in groups, answer to the questions asked and add value to the discussion. It bestows credibility and an element of popularity among your peers.
Just as time passes by new technologies evolve and so should you to survive in this competitive world! Keep yourself as well as your LinkedIn updated and hope that the best opportunities approach you!
 Shin, L. (2014, June 26). How To Use LinkedIn: 5 Smart Steps To Career Success. Retrieved October 17, 2014, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/laurashin/2014/06/26/how-to-use-linkedin-5-smart-steps-to-career-success/
 Morgan, H. (2013, April 17). Pimp Your Profile: How to Effectively Market Yourself on LinkedIn – US News. Retrieved October 17, 2014, from http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/outside-voices-careers/2013/04/17/how-to-market-yourself-on-linkedin
 Foote, A. (2014, May 22). 5 Clever Ways To Market Yourself Visually On LinkedIn | linkedinsights. Retrieved October 17, 2014, from http://www.linkedinsights.com/5-clever-ways-to-market-yourself-visually-on-linkedin/
 Dahl, S. (n.d.). 5 Steps to Market Yourself on LinkedIn. Retrieved October 17, 2014, from https://archive.ama.org/archive/Careers/Pages/Sima Dahl’s Columns/5_Steps_to_Market_Yourself_on_LinkedIn.aspx