6 Steps to LinkedIn Success

When Paul asked me to write a post for his new blog, ‘Job Search Advice for 2014’ I knew I’d have to write about something current and when it comes to job search techniques, there’s nothing more current than social media.

The big player in the ‘Social Job Search’ is undoubtedly LinkedIn, so for this post I’m going to take a closer look at how you can make the most of it.

Create a Strong Profile

In the past LinkedIn profiles were thought of as merely an online representation of your CV. Nowadays the LinkedIn profile has morphed into so much more. Whilst a CV is limited to 2 pages, a LinkedIn profile gives you the opportunity to tell an employer a little bit more. To ensure that your LinkedIn profile is showing you in the best light you need to include the following:

  • A professionally taken headshot
  • An eye catching headline
  • A summary that oozes personality and passion
  • A detailed experience section
  • Keywords that relate to your role or industry – This will help recruiters to find you when they are scouring LinkedIn for new staff
  • Recommendations and endorsements from past or current colleagues

Set Your Privacy Settings

Just like the drunk at a party who tells you way too much about their personal life, your connections don’t want to hear about every little change that you make to your LinkedIn profile. Be sure to turn off activity broadcasts and change the setting to “select who can see your activity feed” to “only you.” You can always change it back when you want to tell your network something important such as actively looking for work or that you’ve just gained a new qualification.

GarnerNew Connections the Right Way

There’s an art to making new connections on LinkedIn and from experience I’ve found that a lot of people are doing it wrong. It seems that a large proportion of people are using LinkedIn’s auto connect requests and stock messages. These are to be avoided like the plague (read a little more about this here). Make the effort to write a personalised message explaining why you should connect and include the following:

  • A reminder of where you met or a little information about where you found out about them
  •  Why you’d like to connect with them – Ensure that this isn’t one sided, it’s not just about what they can do for you; primarily it should be about what you can do for them!

Become a Groupie

One of the best ways to find new connections within your industry is to join industry specific groups. Being a member of interest groups will enable you to interact with people in your industry by taking part in discussions. Ensure that your answers are well thought out and insightful and you’ll be able to show that you’re a thought leader, impressing would be connections. Being a groupie gives you the chance to reach out to new connections that aren’t already contacts, allowing you to expand your network without upgrading to LinkedIn premium.

Revisit Old Connections

Whilst you may talk to some of your LinkedIn connections regularly, for others it may have been a while. Reconnecting with old connections can be a great way to reinvigorate your LinkedIn network. I challenge you to pick 10 connections that you haven’t talked to for a while and send them a message asking them how they are, checking what they are up to nowadays and letting them, know a little about what you’re doing at the moment. Importantly, they may have changed roles, got a promotion or they could even be in a management position with a need for new staff. Rekindle those old connections and breathe a little life into your LinkedIn network, you never know what it might lead to!

If You’re Actively Job Searching – Tell the World!

If you’re on the job hunt and either don’t mind your current employer finding out or are between jobs, why not tell everyone in your LinkedIn network by including it in your LinkedIn headline. Before you change your headline you’ll need to make sure that you’ve changed your privacy settings back to ‘broadcast’ temporarily so that everyone in your network knows that you’re looking for work. Hopefully some of your connections will know of opportunities coming up or they may even be in the market for new employees themselves. It’s a great way of letting recruiters know that you’ll be open to their approaches.

Leo Woodhead writes extensively about Careers and was named as one of the Top 10 Careers Advice people to follow on Twitter by Guardian Careers.

If you want to talk about your LinkedIn networking or about your career in general he says that you should feel free to send him a tweet @thecareersblog and be sure to keep an eye on his blog here for useful advice.

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