LinkedIn is not just another social media channel. I would argue that it’s the most important social media channel for your career. This weekend on my BlogTalkRadio show, I shared my best tips on what to do with your LinkedIn profile once you have created one. Very often, people create a LinkedIn profile (or have one created for them) and forget about it or only log on when searching for a job. In reality, you are already behind the eight ball if you log on only when you need a job or once in a blue moon. The name of the game on LinkedIn is engagement if you want to be successful on LinkedIn. Below are a few highlights from Episode 12 on what to do now that your profile is created.
What is LinkedIn?
If you’re a social media novice (or living under a rock) you may not know the purpose of LinkedIn. It is a social media platform for professionals to connect. LinkedIn is the HubSpot for building relationships to achieve goals and also the number one place where businesses go to look for people to hire. Most people on LinkedIn connect with the intention of doing business together in some shape or form. Think of it as the business edition of Facebook (but it’s not like Facebook at all). Refer to Episode 6 – LinkedIn and Resumes to find out more on LinkedIn and how to get started.
Top 5 things you should do when you log into LinkedIn
1. Check LinkedIn for new messages, or notifications twice per day. This takes seconds if you use the app and even faster if you use the desktop version. Log on once in the morning or at lunchtime and once at the end of your work day. Why? If you are in the job market, check messages often and respond quickly. Do not rely on just the email notifications to alert you when you have a new or incoming message. Emails often get missed in the mix of all the emails you get on a daily basis.
LinkedIn also has a feature in the upper right corner of the home page, “Ways to Stay Connected” and “People You May Know.” These features are an awesome way to congratulate people on new jobs, work anniversaries, and a quick, easy way to “Like” or “Comment” on your connections’ achievements.
2. Post a status update 2-3 times per week (ideally every other day). Status updates can range from news articles, blog posts to funny, business related or motivational memes/photos (keep religion and politics out of it – leave that for Facebook), etc. Best days to post are Monday mornings between 8:30 – 9:30am, Friday mornings before 8:30 -9:30am, and any day Monday-Thursday around 5pm. Use sites like Buffer and HootSuite to help you schedule posts automatically.
Share other connections’ status updates, articles, posts, or pictures (be sure to give them a “like” while you’re at it) Sharing shows people that you are open to others’ ideas and helping someone.
3. Give and thank connections for endorsements. Endorsements are a way to recognize your 1st-degree connections’ skills. They also let your connections validate the strengths found on your own profile. Skill endorsements are a simple and effective way of building your professional brand and engaging your network.
Some recruiters use endorsements as a way to validate the skill set you are claiming on your resume. If a large number of people have endorsed you for a skill, chances are you have that skill.
4. Use the LinkedIn “Jobs” feature to look for open positions. LinkedIn does a nice job of suggesting jobs on almost every page on side banners. You can also set up job search email notifications on the “Jobs” page, save searches, save open jobs, and if you apply for a job on LinkedIn it evens saves the job application. Please note that employers cannot see your job search activity and the jobs page.
LinkedIn allows you to use your profile to apply for jobs. I know will be tempted to click the button because it’s fast. Consider submitting a tailored resume (include your LinkedIn profile on the resume). If you don’t submit a tailored resume, you could be wasting your time. If you’ve wondered why you are not getting responses, the one size fits all approach could be the reason. You are wasting opportunities if you are not using a tailored resume to apply.
5. Make 10 connections per day to grow your network: Start connecting with people close to you, from work, high school, college, friends, family, people you meet at events, gatherings, etc. Then use Gmail, Email, phone address book, and Facebook contacts. You can also use the “People you may know” feature to connect with people.
Also consider connecting with Recruiters, LIONs (LinkedIn Open Networker) or Open Networkers, Industry experts (connect upwards). LIONS are a great resource when it comes to connecting. A lot of recruiters are LIONS and they love connecting with potential job seekers. The more candidates, the larger the search network, the quicker they can find someone to fill an open position.
Be sure to personalize your connection message whenever possible. I will admit that LinkedIn is not a fan of connecting with masses of people who you don’t know. The strategy I recommend to my clients is connecting with people who you have something in common or common interests. Refer to Episode 2 – LinkedIn Connections for more information.
Groups are a great way to stay connected and engage with your network. You are able to make connections with other group members. As a matter of fact, please join me in the LinkedIn group for “Career Talk with Holly Bunn” to get show updates, career advice, and special offers for career services.
Who to connect with on LinkedIn … based on your goals
- College bound High school students: Connect with college admissions professionals and professors at the school you are targeting. In your message tell them you want to expand your network at the college or school. This will help you create a positive connection long before you apply.
Parents, if you want to give your child a leg up, help your High Schooler by creating a LinkedIn profile. I will do a BlogTalkRadio show about this in the future.
- College Seniors, Juniors, Sophomores: connect with recruiters, managers, and professionals at companies you would like to work for. Ask them for advice about intern opportunities if you are still in school (sophomore or Junior). College seniors should connect with recruiters and managers at the beginning of your senior year no later than six months prior to graduation. The connection will establish a positive relationship before you graduate. I will also do a future BlogTalkRadio show about college students and LinkedIn.
- If you are in job search mode up to the Director Level: Start by searching for Recruiters, Talent Advisors, Sourcers, Talent Managers, etc. In the search results, start with people with whom you already have a connection, the higher the number, the better. Tailor your connection message and mention the connections in common, etc.
- Senior Executives: Connect with your peers and/or make upward connections at the companies you are targeting. C-levels connect with board members of target organizations, venture capitalists, investors, and peer C-Levels. Did you know that the top 5% of Fortune 500 executives are on LinkedIn and use it strictly to make connections for business?
- Business owners/Entrepreneurs – connect with potential clients/customers, vendors, suppliers, social media professionals, bloggers in your industry. Invite them to follow your company pages. Also follow competitor’s company pages. Keep an eye on them and stay one step ahead. Follow all their social for that matter.
LinkedIn is a valuable tool for success. And like any tool, it’s as only as good as you use it. If you are going to spend time on social media, spend it on the channel that will enhance your career and lead you to success.
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Holly Bunn is a resume writer, career coach, and motivational speaker with more than 15 years of experience in Human Resources, recruiting, and technology. She is sought out as a subject matter expert on resumes, LinkedIn, job search, and career management. Holly has delivered job search workshops and written resumes for hundreds of job seekers who have secured interviews and landed jobs. Her clients experience success almost immediately after applying her winning techniques. For more information on career coaching or resume help, contact Holly at (305) 791-6965 or firstname.lastname@example.org.