LinkedIn, for those not familiar with it, is a social media platform that’s specifically geared toward professionals looking to make connections. You can create a profile, join groups, and add friends just like any other social media page, but on LinkedIn you can also list your job history and skills, and link to your online portfolio. While you can use it for socializing, LinkedIn is a place that’s meant to help you grow a professional network so you can make connections that will let you land a better job.
TIP #1: USE KEYWORDS IN YOUR PROFILE
LinkedIn has billions of searches done annually on its network by people who are looking for profiles to fit their needs. Whether they’re looking for bloggers, engineers, web page designers, or film directors, it’s important for you to check what keywords you want to be associated with, and to use them in your profile. If you’re coming up in searches, there’s a good chance you’re going to catch people’s collective attention.
TIP #2: KEEP YOUR PROFILE NAME SIMPLE
While it’s tempting to be clever with your profile name, or to include your email address and phone number along with your name, it’s best to keep it basic. Just use the name you go by professionally, and possibly your profession as well. Anything more than that will get lost in the shuffle instead of making you stand out.
TIP #3: USE THE GROUPS FEATURE
LinkedIn has groups in much the same way every other social network does. Joining these groups is a great way to meet people who are in your target audience, or who are fellow professionals, to help you broaden your network. If you’re a creative professional, posting in groups is a great way to get fresh eyes onto what you’re creating.
TIP #4: ADD AS MANY AS YOU CAN
While the standard advice is to only add people you know personally, or have worked with previously, that can stunt your network growth on LinkedIn. Generally speaking, you should add as many new connections as you feel you can get away with. That means friends, co-workers, family members, former clients, people you met at conventions, etc. It’s easier to cull the list to remove connections who are causing problems than it is to grow a network only using long-term, personal connections.
TIP #5: MAKE YOURSELF LOOK AS GOOD AS YOU CAN
LinkedIn is a place where you lay out a paper version of yourself. It is, in a very real sense, an always-active resume. So, while you can discuss your flaws as an employee, or list your failures alongside your successes, it’s really a better idea to only put your strengths on display. You know what your weaknesses are, but those shouldn’t be something potential employers see when deciding whether or not to reach out to you.
TIP #6: USE A QR CODE IF YOU CAN
With all the advances we’ve made in technology, QR codes are becoming rather common. If you are in the habit of handing out business cards or other self-promotional material, a QR code square looks a lot more professional than typing out your entire LinkedIn profile address. Not only is this an inexpensive way to cross-market yourself, but it can draw significantly more traffic to your LinkedIn page. More traffic tends to mean you’re going to end up with more offers, which is precisely what you’re looking for.
As a final note, don’t forget to take advantage of LinkedIn’s mobile apps! LinkedIn has its main apps available for free on iOS and Android platforms with various other specialized apps for job search, contact lookup, Lynda, SlideShare, Groups, and Pulse.
In summary, LinkedIn is a great platform for users who want to land their dream job, grow and nurture their network, unlock sales opportunities and find or hire talent. Go get ’em!