11 Mar 10 tips for getting started on Linked In
Many people are surprised to learn that according to research you’re most likely to get your next job from someone you’ve already met. You’re also most likely to get your next job lead from an acquaintance, not a friend. This information, and the accepted necessity of networking when job-hunting makes Linked In is a great way to get started if you are actively looking for a new post or position.
I use Linked In a lot, including during recruiting and hiring, and I’ve noticed some things that are really minor, but can have a big impact on whether or not we hire someone or commission work from them. There are lots of different ways to use Linked In and these are just things I’ve noticed through my own use for work that make it much easier for me to access or contact a prospect.
Ten Tips for using Linked In
Email address:If you are actively seeking to network, make sure your email is clearly visible on your profile. When people go
to add you, if they’ve never worked with you, the only option left to them is if they have your email address, the one associated with Linked In, so make sure this is in your contact details at the top, and specify that you welcome new connections. Without the email address they can’t add you and you could lose a valuable connection.
Photo: Your photo comes up as soon as you’re searched and I’m really surprised by the photos people use. It doesn’t have to be professionally taken, but one chap added me who was topless in his photo. This may be appropriate if I was hiring a topless stripper, (I wasn’t), but this guy was a brand ambassador, and personally I found it inappropriate. Try use a photo that is work appropriate and also that looks like you.
Summary: I think this should be stressed that it’s an actual summary. I’ve come across some that contain essentially the whole profile, written essay style into the summary section. Personally I like a few sentences outlining what you currently do/what you can do, and what you’d like to do; if that’s interesting then I’ll happily read the rest of the profile. Also stick wit the same voice, some profiles swing from first person to third person which makes them very hard to read.
People know if you’ve viewed their profile: Roughly translated, if you are going to connect with someone, or accept their invitation, take a moment to look at their profile. The whole point to networking is that you can recommend someone appropriately and if necessary, you won’t be doing a connection justice if you don’t know what they’re able to provide. Also people are far more likely to visit your profile if they know you’ve visited theirs. I have stopped accepting people who I don’t know and who haven’t looked at my profile, I just assume they’ve gone on a adding spree and aren’t actually interested in connecting with me personally.
Add stuff. This sounds really obvious, but the thing I personally like the most about Linked In, is being able to see the things people have been involved in and not just their experience. Projects are an amazing addition to a profile, even a final year project or local charity gig. You can add partners in the project and upload media such as videos or links to websites. This is a brilliant way of showing you can be involved as part of a team while showcasing the work you did. Its also a great way of someone seeing if you have people in common so I can essentially check someone out before approaching them
Personalise stuff.It is too easy to use the generic email when asking for a connection or recommendation. Take two minutes to personalise your invite or request; it makes a huge difference to the receiver. Also, if you are asking for a recommendation, be sure to be prepared to give them too. Even if someone was your boss, you could commend them on their leadership skills.
Follow companies:If your employer or former employer is listed as a company, follow the company and ‘connect’ with the company when you’re listing your position with them. This means people checking your profile can just click on the employer profile to get a great idea of what the company or organisation do, which saves time researching you. This is also how you get the company logo listed with your past roles.
Join groups:Joining relevant groups means that you can keep up to date to current news and trend, but also has the added advantage of allowing you connect with people via the group, people who you normally couldn’t connect with. Commenting on peoples discussions (relevantly mind!) is a great way of getting noticed by industry professionals.
Your LinkedIn address:Change your profile location as soon as possible to your name, so instead of having ie.linkedin.com/in/pub/12548921/ you can have something like, ie.linkedin.com/in/sharonhughes/, a little easier for people to remember. Also remember to reference your address in any CV or Cover Letter you use so recruiters can be referred directly to your profile without undertaking a big search.
Keywords:Linked In works solely on Key words. Your friends already know what you do; Linked In is for attracting people who don’t. Having been at a number of Recruiter talks the last few weeks they have all made reference to their new reliance on Linked In, and they use it by using Keywords and searching. The best way to maximise this is search online for a job-description which matches your previous experience, and then work the keywords into your profile. This also means NO acronyms! They don’t turn up in search terms, like your CV, your Linked In should contain few, if any acronyms.
Overall Linked In is a great tool to have, but its only part of your arsenal along with your CV, cover letter and references, nothing will beat face-to-face contacts.
And remember setting up your LinkedIn takes time, but so does maintaining it. Make sure and check in regularly to see what new, check on groups, make sure your details are up to date and accept invitations and requests. Set yourself a specific amount of time a week to keep your profile up-to-date and not just when you happen to be looking for a job.