LinkedIn is a great social media tool because it already sorts itself into your professional network, so the conversations you’re likely to have with others will relate directly to what you do or what you’re interested in. Don’t let LinkedIn’s resume-like nature fool you: though the online resume is a starting point, the site also offers many ways to connect with others, learn about trends in industry, and share your own knowledge. How can you get the most out of it? Start with your profile.
Your profile: Keep your profile up to date. There’s no need to include everything you’ve ever done, but LinkedIn is a good place to provide a chronology of your professional history.
Style matters: Use bullet points to keep your descriptions from evolving into large paragraphs. To add a bullet, hold the ALT key and type 0149 on a PC or Alt + 8 on a Mac.
Use media: If you have links to work products, add them in. LinkedIn makes it visually appealing to include documents and other materials and sort them by your professional history. it’s a great way to create an online portfolio.
Connect with others! If your colleagues or former co-workers are on LinkedIn, be sure to connect with them. Keeping up with your contacts becomes much easier if you’re already connected. One rule I like to keep in mind is that I don’t connect with anyone who I haven’t met personally or worked with. Remember, this is about getting the most out of LinkedIn. Connecting with people you don’t know may not add much to your online experience. That being said…
Follow the industry: If there’s an industry you’re interested in, follow it! You can follow companies and get updates regularly on what they’re working on; you can also follow people through Pulse Discover, a feature within LinkedIn that allows people to share what they know. Generally, these are well-known influencers within an industry. Additionally, within Pulse, LinkedIn also groups content by “channels.” Options include, “Leadership and Management,” “Professional Women,” and “Social media.” Following a channel will put relevant content in your home feed.
Ask for recommendations: Having 2-4 recommendations is a good ballpark for your profile. If your supervisors or colleagues haven’t provided a recommendation on their own, don’t be shy about asking. And offer to provide them one in return. Keep in mind, a good recommendation is concise, to the point, and specific. Mention what you worked on with the person you’re recommending and how their support made the project successful.
Engage with the content: LinkedIn, like any other social media, is an online space for interaction. Use it to congratulate colleagues on accomplishments or engage with industry influencers. If someone publishes a post and you’ve got a comment, post it. Or share their post. Create a space for information exchange.
Join those groups! LinkedIn still continues to feature groups, which let you connect with others around very specific or general topics, depending on the group. Join a few that interest you and monitor the discussion. Chime in if you feel up to it. Again, it’s about connecting with others and getting yourself known. The more you engage, the more likely others are to notice your online presence.
Publish! LinkedIn’s Pulse Discover feature lets anyone with an account publish a post. Have some thoughts about a topic? Compose a post and let your network take a look. Every time you publish a post, your connections receive a notification, which takes them directly to your content. Your post appears in a stream of other content and tagging your posts appropriately allows them to show up in designated channels within Pulse Discover.
What else helps you get the most out of this platform? Please share below!