LinkedIn is, after Google, probably the most used tool to search for your name. Even when they only search for your name on Google, your LinkedIn profile will probably show up on the first page of results. You can make sure people will like what they find !
Use your profile to display your skills and talents. If your profile is 100% complete it will show you as an expert in what you do. Make sure you have added some recommendations and always list your job history.
A wise man once said : You never get a second chance to make a first impression … so make sure you have the impact you want !
2. Add a headline to your name
Your headline is the first thing people will see when you show up in the search results. Make sure it is clear. Tell people who you are and what you do.
Adding a headline will already position your profile above many others.
3. Add your job history
For networking reasons it’s always a good thing to add your past jobs, because people might remember you as “Mr. Jones of Coca Cola”. By searching on your name and this past job you will show up in the search results !
Also, it could be that the HR manager who searches for new people has a good experience with one of your former companies which might get you on top of the pile for this job.
In short : The more people that recommend your services, the better the result will be. If you have less than 10 recommendations, people will not take you seriously as a professional.
In online networking the first impression is everything, make sure to ASK for recommendations whenever you have the opportunity. When a client compliments you with a successfully ended project, immediately ask for a recommendation. He will probably be very glad to do you this small favor.
If you don’t give recommendations, you also won’t receive any. Make it a habit to give recommendations without being asked for them. Lots of people will copy the gesture !
5. Be open for connections
LinkedIn advises to only connect with people you know and trust. In my opinion this rule will make it hard to connect with potential employers or other people who could open the right doors for you.
When looking for a job, you just don’t know who might be your best connection to get to the people you need to talk to. If you connect with an open mind, you will automatically detect who can help you the best.
When you are proactively connecting to people, always include a decent message that tells why you want to connect to them. (Even if it’s just to grow your network for future opportunities)
If you connect by using the default sentence that LinkedIn provides, lots of people will ignore the request and don’t even bother to think if they already know you or not.
LinkedIn has a very strong feature which you won’t find on many other networks. When you search for someone you want to get in touch with, you will always find the people in your network who can be the ‘hot link’ between you and your target. You can ask those people for an introduction which will work far better than contacting them out of the blue.
6. Always send a clear message
Professionals always have limited time, so make sure your messages are clear and to the point. Being mysterious doesn’t work in social networking, make sure the facts are on your profile.
7. Don’t let your profile fall asleep
The people who are the least successful on LinkedIn are those who put up their profile and let it fall asleep.
Make sure your profile is always 100% up-to-date and take part in the conversations on the forums.
Each time you do anything on LinkedIn, your name will show up in the newsfeeds of everyone in your network. This will remind them of you time after time, triggering them to read your new content and take note of your updates.
8. Join Groups
“General networking” on platforms like LinkedIn is good, but adding niche networking to your efforts will increase your credibility as an expert in your trade. By taking part in the conversations around your field of expertise, people will notice your knowledge and skills.
Within these niche groups around a certain industry or topic there will also be a more intense kind of networking with a lot of interaction.
9. Start your own group
Once you have built a network of a few hundred people, you can start a group around your field of expertise and invite them to join. This gives you a platform to talk to your audience.
By sharing your knowledge people will return to the group and engage themselves in the conversations.
10. Be interactive
On LinkedIn there is a great feature called ‘Answers’, which gives you the opportunity to ask questions to your network. This is a very valuable feature for all entrepreneurs and jobseekers.
Keep an eye on the ‘Answers’ section and when you see a question in your field of expertise take part in the conversation and show your knowledge.
11. Connect to your other Social Media profiles
To create more action on your LinkedIn profile, you can connect it to other online presences on platforms as Twitter, Slideshare, your blog, …
By connecting your online profiles, you will drive visitors to each of those profiles, to your blog and your website. Visitors can become clients, suppliers, employers or just friends …. The more people you meet, the more opportunities will cross your way.
12. Do the magic thing
Connect people to each other whenever possible. If someone tells you about a need and you know someone who could be the solution to that need, connect them. It may not be a 100% solution to the problem, but it is always a 100% chance to solve the problem.
In most cases I don’t use LinkedIn for this, but I send an email to both people, introducing them to each other and sharing their contact details.
People sometimes ask me if I’m not afraid to harm my own reputation when connecting people together. If the match goes wrong it could potentially damage my reputation too. I think there are two ways of connecting people :
- I can connect you to one of my close contacts. A professional I know for years and I’m very certain he will deliver high quality. This match can’t go wrong.
- Maybe I don’t have any connection that can help you with problem, but I remember a guy I have met at a networking event a few weeks ago who might have the knowledge you are looking for. When I introduce this contact including this message, I remove the risk of getting burned. My contact knows that this is not a close and direct contact of mine.
You can’t buy a network, you have to build it yourself every day. On average, it takes 3 years to build a network that’s strong enough to support you. Don’t give up when you don’t see results immediately, once you have built your network and keep the contacts warm, you can keep the network for the rest of your life. LinkedIn is one of the strongest tools available to build your professional network.