With over 25 million members, LinkedIn has grown to become a very powerful business and career management tool. Many are using it, but few have really optimized its value. Here are ten tips for creating a strong online presence.
1. Take the time to create a robust profile. Write a summary section that clearly outlines your personal brand and value add and gets readers jazzed up about what you do. Build out the specialties section and make it keyword rich and industry relevant. Many profiles on LinkedIn are just a shell with a name and an abbreviated chronology. You would never submit a resume to a potential employer that only listed employment, so why would you use this tactic on-line when your information is available for millions of people to see?
2. Use the endorsements feature to request and offer endorsements. People are more likely to contact you if you can prove that others have been satisfied with your work, product, or services. Adding endorsements can expedite the decision making process.
3. Keep your profile up to date. People who use LinkedIn for a job search campaign often abandon the tool after they find new employment. By keeping your information up to date, you are more likely to keep your network strong and be able to reciprocate to others.
4. Educate your connections. If people join LinkedIn and don't invite others, they won't get as much out of the tool and will remain several degrees apart from the people they want to meet.
5. LinkedIn doesn't replace traditional networking, it facilitates it. Always supplement your on-line efforts with face-to-face networking.
6. Use the questions and answers feature to start conversations, create community, and position yourself as a subject matter expert. By answering questions, you are simultaneously endorsing your candidacy and expertise.
7. Don't add a connection that you would not feel comfortable introducing to someone already in your network. Having 500 connections doesn't have much value if you can't share the love.
8. Don't use the invitation to connect templates. They lack authenticity and are inferior when compared to a personalized message from you.
9. Create a public profile. This is an easy way to start building an on-line presence for yourself, since LinkedIn ranks high in the search engines. Add a vanity URL for greater differentiation.
10. Take advantage of resources that can help you optimize your Linked In profile such as the LinkedIntelligence Blog, I'm on LinkedIn...Now What?, and Happy About Online Networking.
You can keep your LinkedIn presence healthy and strong by reviewing and updating the content frequently, sending and accepting new invitations, offering and requesting endorsements, and posing and answering questions. Try to spend at least 30 minutes per week managing your LinkedIn presence. Your persistence will pay off.
Barbara Safani, owner of Career Solvers, (http://www.careersolvers.com) has over 12 years of experience in career management, recruiting, and executive coaching. Ms. Safani partners with both Fortune 100 companies and individuals to deliver targeted programs focusing on resume development, job search strategies, networking, interviewing, salary negotiation skills, and online identity management.
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