It is widely known that LinkedIn is a social networking platform for professionals to connect with other professionals. Seems like a pretty useful tool, right? Representatives ranging from students to experts in every industry imaginable, from virtual assistants to motivational speakers to solar energy researchers have flooded to LinkedIn over the years to not only connect with people in their field, but outside of it as well. As there are more than 433 million LinkedIn members, 128 million in the U.S. alone, linking yourself to other professionals around the world has never been easier.
Nevertheless, LinkedIn is often an underrated and underutilized source for many. So, how can you make the most of this game-changer of a platform? The obvious answers (i.e. “fill out your profile,” “connect with colleagues,” and “put up a profile picture,”) have been discussed time and time again. However, there are more ways in which you can take advantage of this massive networking mixer.
- Have 2 photos
Yes, it was hard enough getting to the point of putting up a professional profile picture. Still, with the addition of LinkedIn cover photos in June 2014, the ability to make your profile visually appealing increased. Choosing to utilize this feature is simple—find a photo you feel encompasses you as a person or a professional (or both!), and put it up! Landscape photos and shots of bustling cities tend to fit well for many. Just remember: LinkedIn is a professional’s networking platform. It is not the place to showcase your family’s Christmas photo.
- Post on Pulse
Opening to all members in February 2014, Pulse is a LinkedIn feature that allows you to have an individual and distinctive voice. (Think of it as a blog where you can show off your knowledge of your industry.)
Posting thought-out, edited content on Pulse not only beefs up your personal LinkedIn profile, but it also opens you up to having content shared, thus resulting in your name being spread. Pulse posts can be “liked,” commented on and shared on other social media platforms. Have something that you want to say about your industry (in a professional and knowledgeable way)? Post it to Pulse.
- Connect to Twitter
Linking your Twitter to your LinkedIn status updates allows you to tackle two of the most popular platforms in one fell swoop. Whether you are sharing an interesting article or congratulating a colleague, the update will show up on both ends, preventing you from having to make separate updates. Two birds, one stone.
- Endorse others
Endorsing and recommending others on LinkedIn is important for numerous reasons. Many people feel comfortable returning the favor of a skill endorsement or nicely worded recommendation. But, it is also good to just share the positivity without expecting the action to be reciprocated. Have you had a memorable experience with a person? Recommend them. Do you think a coworker is proficient in Social Media Management? Endorse them. The task is simple enough, and takes little to no time.
However, it is important to note that you should only endorse and recommend people you know. Spamming a new connection with endorsements or writing a generic, unknowing recommendation does not fare well on LinkedIn. Instead, it looks as though you are fishing for the favor to be returned, because of this, it oftentimes won’t be.
- Connect to your employer
If your employer or business has a business page, like Florida Capital Bank Mortgage’s, you’ll want to connect your “Experience” section to it. It’s easy to link together and draw attention back to a bigger organization.
- Share content other than yours.
Whether it’s a Pulse post from a coworker or an interesting article you found elsewhere on the web, sharing content created by others lets you remain active and engaged on LinkedIn. You should also take to commenting and liking the posts of others for the same reasons.
- Establish actual connections
LinkedIn works great for making virtual connections. However, to make the most of the platform, you’re going to have to act on your connections. Reach out to professionals in your field for job or mentorship inquiries; offer to collaborate on research projects. There are numerous ways to engage with the people you connect with on LinkedIn in genuine, interesting ways.
LinkedIn is a powerful tool that, utilized effectively, can open you up to new relationships and ultimately new career opportunities.