Are you getting the most out of your LinkedIn profile?
Having a profile on LinkedIn is great, but it is like a plant. If you do not water it, how shall the plant continue to grow?! The same applies to your LinkedIn profile. If you do not maintain it on a recurring basis, it will slowly disappear from search results as well as being ignored by recruiters. If you want to get something out of LinkedIn, you need to invest some time and effort – even if it is not a whole lot, but everything counts. Fortunately, there are ways to grow your profile and connections on LinkedIn in a way that you get a lot out of it and benefit from the power that LinkedIn has.
The biggest effort is to be made in the beginning when building out your LinkedIn profile. Once you have the foundation build up, it is simply just maintenance with minor changes on top of it. What makes a good profile foundation to work with? Your profile should have at least the following:
- Interesting Headline that includes important keywords related to your job search and skills
- Profile Image of decent quality
- As many sections completed as possible (job experience, skills, certifications, education, etc.)
- 50+ connections
- 2+ Recommendations
To take your profile to the next level you need to come up with some sort of a strategy. I am deploying the word “strategy” because for LinkedIn success you need to have a plan or better, a strategy in place. Occasional patchwork is not going to cut it.
For most people there are two options that should bring the best results. If you follow either one or both strategies, you are guaranteed to find success on LinkedIn.
- Connections & Networking
- Updates & Expertise
Connections & Networking
It is very important to build out your network on LinkedIn by increasing the number of connections that you have. Not every connection has the same value though and preferably you want connections related to your overall goal (assumption: finding a better job). Connections with peers, manager, HR, recruiters, and leaders of expertise in your industry matter more than connections with people who are trying to sell you something. Find something you have in common with a connection on LinkedIn and nurse that relationship carefully for it to bloom. Networking can be as simple as attending an alumni event or a special networking event. It can be as complicated as actively reaching out to someone to engage with that person in a meaningful conversation that then hopefully leads to more. The blunt approach of asking for a job or referral is not really networking.
Updates & Expertise
The second strategy is to brand yourself as an expert in your field. Establish yourself as an authority and be known as the go-to guy or gal when it comes to knowledge and skill for a certain topic. This might even lead to speaking engagements or being approached for consulting gigs and even employment. You can establish credibility through meaningful status updates on LinkedIn. If your account is approved for LinkedIn Pulse you can even blog directly on LinkedIn’s platform. If you do not have access to LinkedIn Pulse just yet, use your own website for blogging and then use the status update feature to make meaningful updates related to new content that you published. Make sure to provide updates and content frequently. Hopefully your content is entertaining and of high quality at the same so that people do not want to miss out on future updates. Establish update discussions on LinkedIn – meaning, respond to comments and establish a conversation. These type of actions will lead to people sending you a connection request and your network will grow in size and in quality.
These are just two type of strategies you could deploy for success on LinkedIn. I put a lot of emphasis on quality when it comes to LinkedIn. Don’t feel discouraged if you do not see immediate results. This is a marathon effort, not a 5K. Also, do not look for a 1:1 match when giving something. Do not expect a 1:1 return on investment – give it time and the seeds will grow into something much bigger.
If you like to learn more about LinkedIn Profile Optimization, I highly recommend to consider out online trainings course. A highly optimized LinkedIn Profile is a major step to success on LinkedIn.