For those of you that think that LinkedIn is just another social networking site, think again. According to LinkedIn.com, the site boasts more than 100 million networking professionals and is growing at roughly 1 million new LinkedIn members every week, which is the equivalent of a professional joining the site at faster than one member per second.
As job seekers and working professionals, why does this matter? LinkedIn matters because it is a fantastic tool in helping you find your inspiration. The platform is more than just a way to display your social resume; more importantly, it is a database of people who are sharing their different paths to professional success. How many times have you met someone and thought, “Wow – I wonder how they landed that job?!” Each person’s path in obtaining their professional goals will be different, but reviewing profiles on LinkedIn provides users with a terrific understanding of the education, skills, passion and work history that it takes to achieve professional success. Essentially, LinkedIn allows you to view the building blocks industry professionals have taken to reach their current positions.
The following ideas will help you improve your networking capabilities on LinkedIn.
Complete Your Profile
When creating a profile on LinkedIn, make sure that your profile is 100% complete. If you are worried that you do not have enough experience or background to have a complete profile, you are wrong! Most job seekers are more qualified than they give themselves credit for. When creating a profile, think broadly about all of your experiences including summer jobs, unpaid internships, volunteer work, organizations you are active with, as well as your passions. Remember, the more information you provide on your profile, the more people will find reasons to connect with you.
Update Your Status - Professionally and Positively
Although LinkedIn has an “Updates” section much like Facebook and Twitter, you must keep in mind your audience. LinkedIn updates are a great away to let your connections know that you are job hunting or looking to network. However, remember to use discretion in your posts. Make sure that your comments are always professional and positive – after all, you never know when a recruiter or hiring manager may be reviewing your profile.
When it comes to networking through LinkedIn, you will only get out of it as much as you are willing to put in. What this means is just because you build a complete profile and make status updates, it does not mean that the work is done!
- Get (and Give) Relevant Recommendations: Recruiters and hiring managers are always interested to read what other people have to say about you and your work ethic. It is important to select a few individuals with whom you have worked closely, and ask them to write a recommendation for you on LinkedIn. Remember, that networking is just as much about giving as it is receiving, so you may consider writing a recommendation for your connection prior to asking them to write one for you.
- Join Groups and Discussions: A great way to network with professionals that share similar passions is to join groups and discussions on relevant topics. Become an active member in a professional group on LinkedIn geared toward your area of passion and start sharing your ideas and opinions. You will appear as an expert the more engaged and active you are within such groups, giving you more visibility to other professionals and recruiters.