Content provided courtesy of USAA.
LinkedIn is a great social media tool that helps you maintain and build a professional network, showcase accomplishments, and stay up to date on industry trends.
In order to use LinkedIn to its full advantage, follow these tips to benefit and expand your professional network.
LinkedIn Has Three Primary Purposes.
LinkedIn has three main purposes. The first purpose of LinkedIn is, of course, as a tool to maintain and expand a professional network. LinkedIn is uniquely organized to quickly find, connect, and keep updated with other professionals, colleagues, and help connect to people you just met. The second purpose of LinkedIn is as a source of professional information and an idea exchange. LinkedIn groups and authored articles are a great way to read and interact with industry thought leaders. The third purpose of LinkedIn helps people find others to expand their business prospects. Generally, people use LinkedIn for connecting, then as an idea exchange, and then for business prospects.
LinkedIn Is A Source To Maintain a Network.
Networking through LinkedIn is somewhat unique. LinkedIn connections were originally designed to be a tool to maintain an electronic connection after a physical connection or contact had been made. Therefore, some people on LinkedIn want to meet you physically before making a connection. Others are more than comfortable with making an electronic connection first. LinkedIn is just one of the tools to create and maintain a professional network. The lesson is to not become over reliant on LinkedIn as the sole networking source. Have physical meetings, attend conferences and lectures, and write letters to expand your professional network.
Find LinkedIn Profiles To Model.
One of the greatest questions on LinkedIn is what should my professional profile look like? Instead of starting from scratch, look through LinkedIn and find profiles that you like, innovative professional descriptions, and other best practices. Once you have done this, then model your profile based on the best-in-class profiles you have discovered. LinkedIn can be a tool to discover the best ways to showcase your professional experience and modeling superb profiles is just one of the ways to do this.
Your Profile Should Precisely Match Your Resume.
Recruiters overwhelmingly use LinkedIn to find candidates and confirm their background and qualifications. A significant difference between your resume and LinkedIn profile could potentially disqualify you from an opportunity. Ensure that you update sections on your publications, professional speaking, and education. These attributes will fill out your qualifications in a way that a resume does not allow space. A complete LinkedIn profile is essential to be seen as a professional.
A Comfortable, Professional Picture.
A professional picture is one of the easiest items to do on LinkedIn. A good LinkedIn profile picture is recent (within 12 months), clear and focused, a head and shoulder outline, professional dress, and a relaxed smile with a neutral background. That’s it. Pictures from parties, the same profile picture from Facebook, or a picture from a deployment are great pictures, they are just not appropriate for LinkedIn.
Expand Your Knowledge.
The LinkedIn groups and LinkedIn authored articles by other members are an incredible way to have a cutting edge, constant, and valuable news feed of information, ideas, and concepts that you can use in your career. Make sure that you “follow” the thought leaders that you enjoy and respect so you can benefit from their insight. LinkedIn groups offer newsletters that will send you the most popular discussions so you can remain up to date.
How To Message Other Members.
One of the most prized commodities of LinkedIn members is their time. If you contact a LinkedIn member, have a specific, personal, and very brief request. Do not be offended if it takes time for them to respond to you. Some LinkedIn members get hundreds of personal requests. Most importantly, do not use LinkedIn to “spam” other members to try and generate sales for a product or service.