LinkedIn 101: How to Master the Professional Network
This is the year to get your social networking on point. Make sure that your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date, that you're actively engaging on the platform, and that you are strategic about your outreach. We've put together a few helpful tips for the most effective LinkedIn profile and how to best use yours to master the site's networking landscape. Scroll through for details on how to ace your LinkedIn game.
Nothing quite says carelessness as blatantly as spelling errors do. Make sure to give your complete profile and summary a read-through before you publish so that a) it makes sense and b) there aren't any glaring spelling or grammar mistakes. Then ask a trusted friend to look over it once more. You can never be too careful when it comes to spell-check.
Share your point of view as it relates to your area of expertise. You want to come across as an engaging, thoughtful professional with a particular point of view. That said, don't publish rants about annoyances or current events in your field. Your words should be carefully curated, not reactionary.
It's never a bad idea to accept all of the invitations you receive on LinkedIn, but do be careful about when you go on a requesting binge. If you're in the middle of a career transition or have a lot of updates that you want to make to your profile before directing a lot of traffic to your page, make sure your privacy settings are on. You don't want to ping the LinkedIn universe every time you make a change. Once you've finished your important updates, then invite anyone you'd like to connect.
Always check out the competition and the employees at a company you're considering working for. You can find out a lot about company culture through LinkedIn; for instance, you can get an idea about turnover rates by researching past and present employees. Before you go on a snooping expedition, however, be sure to make yourself "anonymous." You don't want to be obvious about your detective work. And avoid looking at the same profiles again and again. This can cause you to look like a stalker, which is never a good idea.
You should never be finished with your LinkedIn profile. Try to add a status update at least once a week. Maybe it's about something notable that happened in your industry or a summary of your recent blog post. Whatever it is, you want to come across as a highly engaged user on the platform. Also, make sure all of your accomplishments are up-to-date. If you've been given a promotion, won an award, or given some kind of recognition for the quality of your work, don't be shy. No one will know about it if it's not on your profile. In this case, bragging is a good thing.
First of all, you should always have a headshot. LinkedIn career expert Nicole Williams has seen the same mistakes made over and over again on the social network. One of those mistakes is not having a photo. “You’re seven times more likely to have your profile viewed if you have one," Williams tells Forbes. "Like a house that’s on sale, the assumption is that if there’s no photo, something’s wrong." Make sure your headshot is clear and that you are dressed in professional attire, or whatever attire best suits your industry. Cropped photos and images with pets are no-nos.
Whenever you write an interesting article on LinkedIn, especially if it's an engaging piece on a topic relating to your industry, you are boosting your credibility. Make sure to share thoughtful articles to your other social platforms. You may gain followers that are relevant to your career, and those connections are invaluable.
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Do you have a LinkedIn strategy that's been working for you? Share with us in the comments.