Get the most out of LinkedIn

August 19th, 2010 in .Blogs .Home .Tech
Mrs Mario

LinkedIn may be the quieter cousin of the flamboyant Facebook and twitter but it is, really, the place to go if you want to network professionally. If you use your LinkedIn profile properly you can leverage contacts, be headhunted, and build an impressive network of important people who can help you in the long term.

These tips and tricks are easy to do and won’t take up a lot of your valuable time. Perfect for you mobile entrepreneurs who can update and manage their LinkedIn profiles while commuting to work. See, I told you that your netbook could make you money…

To start with you need to choose a good profile picture. Too casual or silly and you’ve already lost potential clients or employers. Choose something that looks professional and neat instead. You can even use a webcam shot as long as you are wearing a decent shirt and the quality isn’t appalling.

This is also the point when you need to really concentrate on creating a good profile. It will feel a bit like you’re writing a job application and you are! But this time it’s all about promoting you as a product. The more information you include, the more contacts LinkedIn will find for you and the more visible you become. It’s a win-win.

As you update and plump up your profile, the contact creator in LinkedIn will start to churn through all its databases to find your contacts. Once you’ve build a rich CV it’s time to build your network. This will take a little longer than the other tasks because you’ll have to travel through all the contacts and each time you click “connect” it drops you back to the first page and you have to start again. It’s a silly design flaw and a bit tedious, but this is a necessary task.

It’s also a good idea to get in touch with colleagues that you’ve connected to on LinkedIn and ask them to write you a recommendation. Many employers tend to look at the recommendations and make snap decisions based on these alone. Don’t forget to offer a recommendation in return…

Now your network should be buzzing a little. If you’ve done this all in one day then it’s likely that it took you about two hours. Now you can spend some time looking at other people’s profiles and stealing their best ideas. If one person has written their profile in a more professional or eye-catching way, you can learn from that when fixing yours.

The Status Updates are your next port of call. These are a great place to stop for a cup of tea and a read. You can learn interesting facts, find new groups, post interesting thoughts of your own, and so much more. Just one word of warning, keep your updates professional and relevant.

So far so good, now it’s time to really get LinkedIn to work for you. The new Follow Company option means you can follow industry giants that are relevant to your niche. You can see their updates, job openings, company news and more. It’s an invaluable tool to stay abreast of current events.

Also consider adding in applications provided by partner companies. These can include your WordPress account, links to your blog and other blogs, statistics, expert requests and more. Don’t go overboard and choose the ones that will help you boost your network.

Of course, as with all such things, this barely scratches the surface of what LinkedIn can do, but now at least you are on track to creating a powerful business profile that could land you the next big thing.

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