LinkedIn provides you the opportunity to showcase what you know and what you can do. It is a space for you to create your professional identity in front of potential employers and to build up additional skills and experience. If you are marketing yourself as an expert, you need to show why; through getting involved with other industry professionals and showing your prospects. If you are changing your career, make your contacts aware of it and use your profile to ask for advice and guidance.
Here are our tips for using LinkedIn for your own personal development:
Create the Perfect Profile
The first step to LinkedIn success is to create a personal profile. You can do this by going to the homepage and filling out the Join LinkedIn Now section. Follow the step-by-step guide to create your profile page.
This page can be seen by anybody and gives you a direct communication channel to prospective employers, future clients and potential partners. It gives them a place to find out about you and your experience, so think of it as a self-promotional tool.
And like any promotional tool, it needs to be branded consistently and have all the relevant details that your contacts might be looking for. Think about your strengths and provide details of the work you have done, highlighting your skills and making them relevant to the job you hope to get. Just like a CV, you’re LinkedIn profile needs to be up to date and relevant at all times.
DO: Portray yourself as an expert and show all of your career experience
DO: Put a professional headshot on your profile
DO: Fully complete your profile – offer prospective employees everything they need to know
DO: Make your profile public
- Use the LinkedIn CV Builder
If you haven’t got a CV already, the LinkedIn template tool can help.
The pre-set templates will import all the relevant information from your LinkedIn account, including your professional past and contact details. You can then edit the contents, layout and style to suit your own personal preference, share it with your contacts and export it to your email.
LinkedIn is great for allowing you to create links to other content. So, if you have a website, add it to your profile. If you have a Twitter feed, link it to your profile – you can even connect the two so your LinkedIn profile shows your Twitter updates as statuses. And, if you have a blog, link to it; all of this will provide a better view of who you are and the things that interest and inspire you.
Showing your expertise is an important part of your LinkedIn success.
The ‘Groups’ feature on the network is a good place to start. Join groups that are of relevance to your skill set and the job you hope to get and get involved! This means reading posts from other members and getting involved in their conversations as well as starting your own threads and linking to your own content. Whatever you contribute, make sure it is insightful and relevant.
You will also find LinkedIn Today to be a valuable tool. This feature brings together articles of relevance to you and our interests in one place; read these to extend your own knowledge and comment on them to show your expertise.
You can also get a weekly email complied with all the key topics and stories from the different industries you follow.
DO: Use LinkedIn today to start relevant conversations with your contacts.
LinkedIn allows you to customise your profile domain name to better brand your account, just like you can on Facebook. You can do this by changing your current URL by clicking the ‘Public Profile’ tab under ‘Edit Profile’. Then scroll down the list to ‘Public Profile’ where you can see your current URL. Placing your full name in your URL will make it easier for potential contacts to find you.
Non-customised URL: http://www.linkedin.com/in/joebow/5/7/58a899
Customised URL: http://www.linkedin.com/in/martinstevensonseo
Use LinkedIn’s advanced search tool to research relevant industry contacts and people who you have things in common with. Also, keep an eye out for relevant people in Groups.
You can then contact them with connection requests or InMail messages, building up your portfolio of contacts. You can also use the company search tool to find specific details about general companies and follow their status posts. Networking is crucial to career development, so start out by asking specific contacts for support and advice individually.
DO: Use InMail to build your portfolio of career relevant industry professionals
DON’T: Overload other LinkedIn members with messages, be specific on which users you contact.
Testimonials are a great way for potential clients or employers to get a better understanding of what you have to offer and why they should choose to work with you. Don’t be afraid to ask people to recommend you – if you’ve done a good job, they should be more than happy to do so. Conversely, ensure you recommend those with whom you have worked or worked for – give and you might receive!
DO: Give to receive testimonials, but remember to be sincere!
Your address book is a really useful list of email addresses and contact information. You can see this underneath the ‘My Connections’ section. A useful thing to note is that you can click on the tab ‘Export Connections’ at the bottom of the page to send this information to your email account, such as Yahoo! Hotmail and Microsoft Outlook.
LinkedIn is a valuable tool and will become more and more resourceful throughout your career. It is all about engaging with your relevant connections, creating new opportunities and networking with key industry contacts. It’s about getting involved and having your say, through interaction and participation. So use it to your full advantage.