Hopefully, you already understand the necessity of having and using a LinkedIn account.
It is the most popular business networking platform in the world, after all. As such, a LinkedIn account is also something that no serious professional can do without. That is, not if they want to maximize their opportunities for career development, better pay, and overall job satisfaction.
Similarly, you probably also understand that you can’t just throw a profile together and expect to get satisfying results. If not, let’s get this out there right away– proper use of your LinkedIn account is an absolute necessity in today’s ridiculously crowded job market.
But don’t worry if you don’t know exactly how to use your LinkedIn account in an optimal way. You’re certainly not alone in this and there are several things you can do in a short amount of time.
Follow these four tips and your LinkedIn account can start gaining traction a lot more quickly than you might think.
1. Leave Nothing to Chance
This suggestion is as much of an attitude as it is a set of specific directions. In terms of attitude, it means taking control of your account and knowing that great networking opportunities don’t happen by accident. In other words, it’s your responsibility to use your LinkedIn account effectively.
Once this attitude of accountability is firmly in place, you can start translating it into constructive action. It all starts with crafting your profile.
It goes without saying that you need a great photo attached to your account. You certainly don’t need to have supermodel good looks, but your picture does have to present you with the best and most professional light.
Going Beneath the Surface
Next, make sure that prospective employers can find out what they need to know quickly, preferably with a single glance. Think about how quickly you tend to sift through online profiles, articles, etc. And adjust your profile accordingly.
One of the most effective ways to draw positive attention to yourself is by using the profile heading to create a personal sales pitch that’s both appealing and searchable. This means telling prospective employers exactly what you do, not just mentioning your job title.
It also means including keywords that are
- Most relevant to your career goals, and
- More likely to help the right employers find you.
Clarity is also a key to optimizing your profile. Be concise and very specific regarding your skillset and goals.
You also have to keep your profile as up-to-date as possible. Remember– you’re trying to tell the world what you can do today, not what you were up to last year.
Lastly, make sure to list any references and endorsements you have at your disposal. Sure, lots of people falsify these things, but a legitimate (and relevant) set of references is still a requirement.
2. Maximize the Utility of LinkedIn’s Groups
This might be an oversimplification, but some LinkedIn users understand the importance of network groups while others simply do not. And not surprisingly, members who know how to navigate LinkedIn’s group feature tend to achieve better outcomes.
The opposite holds true as well– members who don’t participate in relevant LinkedIn groups are missing out on some of the platform’s most helpful features.
But it’s never too late to get started. Here are a few ways to get involved with LinkedIn’s group feature and start reaping the benefits pretty quickly:
- Join groups that are directly connected to your industry, your specific job, and your geographic location.
- Participate in your relevant groups by engaging in discussions, sharing pertinent content, and asking questions related to your field.
- Make a concerted effort to connect with other group members.
- Join your university alumni group and stay in contact with it.
There are many benefits to actively participate in relevant groups. It allows you more access to job postings within your field, for instance. It also helps develop relationships that might prove personally and/or professionally rewarding.
Just as importantly, participation in LinkedIn groups will make it that much more likely that other members will be responsive to any questions or concerns you might have. This includes sharing job opportunities that you might not be exposed to while drifting through the vast LinkedIn network alone.
3. Use What LinkedIn Has to Offer
Your LinkedIn experience should never be a passive one. For best results, it’s imperative that you use at least some of the platform’s many great features.
Here are a few suggestions for getting the most out of what LinkedIn has to offer:
- Use pertinent discussion forums to stay informed.
- Pay especially close attention to what your peers, share when you’re approaching big moments in your career development.
- Post status updates to show your interest and keep your peers informed.
- Use the publisher feature to post relevant articles, video, and other media. This practice shows initiative and helps generate meaningful dialogues.
4. Fine Tune Your Network
LinkedIn isn’t a platform for staying in touch with your family and friends. There are plenty of social media platforms designed to do that, so reserve your LinkedIn account for use in your career development.
The best methods for fine-tuning your network depends on your situation, but here are a few things everyone should consider:
- Find and participate in groups that will expand your network in meaningful ways. We already mentioned this up above, but it’s so important that it bears repeating in this context.
- Don’t hesitate to turn down connection requests from people who don’t seem relevant to your field.
- Don’t be shy about pursuing connections and relationships with professionals you personally respect.
As you’ve probably already experienced first hand, today’s job market is significantly more competitive today than it was even a few years ago. This means networking is more important than ever. And in today’s digital world, networking is more or less synonymous with the LinkedIn platform.
Hopefully, these tips will help connect you to people and companies that relevant to your field. The key is to get started immediately.
LinkedIn can do many things to help you advance along your career path, and the time for an overhaul is right now.