You can showcase your experience and business to more than 65 million people across the world including executives from all Fortune 500 companies — while you sleep. That’s the networking benefit of a LinkedIn profile.
Why you need to be LinkedIn
According to LinkedIn, a new member joins their online network approximately every second. Whether you are a professional looking for new potential business contacts, a currently un-employed or under-employed jobseeker, or a college student getting reach to launch a new career, you need a LinkedIn profile. As with most social networking tools, there is no subscription fee to join and you can set up a profile in a matter of minutes. The real benefits of LinkedIn are in direct proportion to the completeness and quality of your profile and to the level of your LinkedIn activity. LinkedIn is a social networking site for professionals. Put your best business persona to work here.
Setting up your account
Use your real name
This name should be consistent with your other professional online listings – and should be unique if possible. Attorney Jeffrey D. Carpenter uses this version of his name to distinguish himself from the other 600 Jeff Carpenters on LinkedIn.
Add a photo
People often remember faces and forget names. Your photo should be a professional-looking headshot. A cropped vacation photo featuring you in sunglasses and hawaiian shirt is probably not the best image for you on LinkedIn (unless you are a travel agent specializing in Hawaiian vacations)
Complete your profile
Don’t just list your position titles and company name. Add in details. Think of LinkedIn as your 24/7 online
resume and business promotion tool. Use positive terms and list your accomplishments – without excessive bragging and selling.
Set controls for maximum networking
LinkedIn allows you to set controls for the information you share with others. For maximum networking, set these controls to “everyone.”
Update your status
LinkedIn has an update section similar to Facebook. Tout your business accomplishments here, using active verbs. Rember your audience: LinkedIn is designed to further your business and career goals – share projects, presentations and new client signings — don’t share your family vacation, dinner plans or personal blunders.
There are more than 500,000 groups on LinkedIn. Think of these groups as communities of people that share something in common. There are groups for Bloggers, alumni groups, groups for small business owners, groups of industry professionals, groups for job hunters, local networking groups and even groups for golfers. Use key words to search for groups relevant for you. Once you join a group, sign up for the group’s weekly email updates. Then actively contribute to discussions. It’s a great way to network.
After your profile is close to 100% complete, decide who you want to connect with. I treat LinkedIn as my online Rolodex. If I’d take your business card and put it in my Rolodex, I’ll add you as a connection. LinkedIn makes it easy to start connecting to people you already know. You can import your email address database from Outlook, Yahoo, Gmail and other sources. Click on the “Add Connections” tab on your profile page for details. As you become more active on LinkedIn, you’ll send even more invitations.
- Check out the LinkedIn video:
Spend some time building a top-notch profile on LinkedIn that tells your story. Join groups. Make some new connections. Have fun. And once you’ve set up your profile, it will continue to network for you — while you sleep!
Share what you know. Feel free to comment. Send questions, and I’ll try to address them in future blog updates.