- LinkedIn is the premiere social networking site for professionals
- Why should you use LinkedIn? It’s great for keeping in touch with colleagues, keeping up industry developments, and finding your next career opportunity.
- Creating your LinkedIn profile for professional networking
- Tips for building your LinkedIn professional network – Some Do’s
- Some Don’ts
Owned by Microsoft, LinkedIn is the premiere social networking site for professionals. It’s focused on your career. It’s great for keeping in touch with your co-workers, past, present, and future. It’s your online resume, getting endorsements, and should prove useful should you seek new career opportunities.
Why Should You Use LinkedIn?
As the world’s largest professional network with more than 500 million users in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide, it’s a great way to stay connected to your colleagues and customers.
Source of industry and career information. Colleagues will usually post or like interesting online content relating to the progress of your particular industry. Some will post inspirational content that will broaden your horizons.
A Resource to Find Your New Career Opportunity. Over the last few years, LinkedIn as upped its game on new job postings. Its artificial intelligence engine does a decent job at potential job matches, based on ones that you have shown interested in.
And the basic account is free. Enough said. While there is a Premium level subscription, you don’t really need it unless you are a professional recruiter or aggressively looking for a new job.
Creating Your Linked Profile
Here are some tips to create your LinkedIn profile:
Profile Picture. Use a real photo of yourself. Not a cartoon/caricature image. Preferably with any distracting backgrounds. It’s how you would like to seen as a professional.
Cover Photo. This is wide banner photo. LinkedIn recommends a photo resolution/size of 1584 x 396. Ideally, it would be a photo that shows your professional interest, but it could reflect your personal interest/hobby.
Your Contact Info. Avoid posting your email address and phone numbers for the world to see and spam you. People on the LinkedIn network can contact you via LinkedIn. And LinkedIn will broker the message and forward the message to your private LinkedIn registered email.
Your Educational History. Post the college(s) that you attended and graduated from, along with your major and minor fields of study. Omit your GPA, no matter how recently you graduated and how proud you might be of it.
Your Job History. Keep it your previous job’s descriptions high level. Don’t offer too much details on your current or past employer’s programs, projects, budgets, performance quotas, etc. (We’ll explain later in the Competitive Intelligence section below.) Instead, focus on your capabilities and your accomplishments.
Your Skills, Certifications and Credentials. List them proudly. Hopefully, you’ll gather “endorsements” on your various skills from colleagues. Don’t post that you have a DoD security clearance. You may just be a target of unwanted attention.
Building Your LinkedIn Network – Some Do’s
Building your professional network is very much like building your social network on Facebook:
Connect with professionals who you’ve met. So you met a few new co-workers, partners, potential customers at a meeting. You exchanged business cards. Well, a that’s a great starting point for building your network. Within a week, extend an invitation from your LinkedIn account by entering their email address.
“People You May Know”. LinkedIn uses its database to suggest people you might know through mutual connections. Occasionally peruse and extend an invitation to those you know to connect.
Reciprocate Endorsements You Receive. If you’re fortunately enough to have current and past colleagues endorse certain skills, return the favor. I’m sure they’ll appreciate your endorsements. Remember, to always keep it real.
“Like” Content. Just as you would on Facebook.
Post Useful Content that is Career Related. Feel free to share inspirational stories that you find on the internet.
Keep It Professional. Prospective employers may visit your LinkedIn profile page to gain some insights of who you are, based on what you “like” and your postings. Don’t post and like anything that would raise questions for your prospective employer. Avoid politics, activism. Unless your career is in politics. Also avoid sports and recreational topics, which are better suited for for social network.
Don’t Socialize, Keep It Professional. This is not a social network like Facebook or Instagram where you connect with family and friends. Your LinkedIn network should focus on your professional contacts only. For the same reason you need to balance your work and life, I suggest keeping your LinkedIn network separate from your family and friends who are already on your social social networks.
Don’t Connect with Head Hunters. Every week, I get invitations from random head hunters to connect over LinkedIn. While these invitations seem harmless enough, don’t connect with them. They’re just phishing for information to recruit you and the people in your network. It is the “spam” of LinkedIn.
Don’t Enable Competitive Intelligence Gathering for Your Competitors. Worse than spam, these would-be “head hunters” could actually be employees working in your competitor’s Competitive Intelligence department. “Competitive Intelligence” is code word for, you guessed it, corporate spying. From your LinkedIn connection, they can see everyone in your network. They would repeat the invitation to one of your coworkers until they find some nuggets of information that will help your competitor get an edge over your company. That’s not a good situation.
Get Started: Get LinkedIn
So now that you know some basics about the value of LinkedIn, and know what to watch out for, why not create your profile on LinkedIn and get started with digital networking?