Professional development: Networking - focus on LinkedIn
Rachel Lawler shares some tips for getting the most out of your professional network on LinkedIn.
After setting up an account and creating a LinkedIn profile, you might feel ready to tick online networking off your to-do list. Unfortunately for those short of time, benefiting from the professionals’ social network needs a little more maintenance than many people assume. But before you write off social networks as too time-consuming, here are a few tips that should help you get the most out of your online profile with minimal time and effort. Top tips:
Upload a photograph According to LinkedIn, adding a photo means your profile is seven times more likely to be viewed than one without. Maximise impact by choosing something friendly, but professional. Remember, this isn’t Facebook so no glasses of wine or pets in the background.
Complete your profile It may seem fairly obvious, but many people forget this simple step. Set time aside to fill in all the blank sections on your page to give the most complete picture of your experience. Add skills as well as jobs and responsibilities. If you’re short of time, only include experience relevant to your current work and your most recent education.
Keep updating your profile Even if you haven’t recently changed jobs, the best professionals are always improving. This should be reflected in your profile, so don’t forget to add any training you complete or new skills you pick up and add them as you go. If you’re worried about flooding the news feed with updates, turn off activity broadcasts in your settings.
Endorse others Rather than wasting time trawling through profiles and endorsing lots of people, pick a few colleagues you know well and are happy to endorse. As always, quality is better than quantity, so make sure you only give genuine and thoughtful endorsements.
Join groups But don’t be a silent member. Actively participate in discussions in a handful of groups. It’s important to remember that this doesn’t just mean sharing links back to your website. In fact, that is exactly what you shouldn’t be doing and will be a waste of time. Instead, make a few useful contributions to discussions or, if there aren’t any relevant topics, start a new discussion and see what response you get. This is a great way to meet new contacts and demonstrate your proactivity to potential clients and employers.
Check for errors Proofread everything on your profile. Spelling errors are a quick way to make yourself look unprofessional and untidy. If you’re worried about your spelling, draft everything into a word processor and do a spell check before copying it into your profile. This will only take a few minutes, but will improve your profile enormously.
Update your network Take time to look up past colleagues you haven’t linked to yet and your circle will grow rapidly. Remember that on LinkedIn, your network will include all the people your contacts have connected with too, so your network of influence can expand vastly.
LinkedIn website: www.linkedin.com
Join the Institute’s group on LinkedIn for discussions and updates, including weekly newsletters from IOM3. Head to www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=40508