100 Top LinkedIn tips and advice
In this section we aim to provide 100 top tips, help and useful advice for anyone already using, or looking to use LinkedIn as part of their job hunting armoury. This series of tips/articles have been written by not just anyone, but by Pete Hugh, a top professional career sector writer.
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Without further ado let us begin…
1. What is LinkedIn?
Don’t fall at the first hurdle. Without a solid idea of what LinkedIn actually is, you’ll never quite manage to produce that interest-grabbing profile you’re after.
Before you skip over this section, I’d like to say a few words in my defence.
Without having a clear idea of what LinkedIn is (and isn’t), it’s unlikely that you’ll make the best possible use of it. I can say with assurance that the majority of LinkedIn profiles aren’t worth the digital paper they’re written on, and hazard that most people who ‘do LinkedIn’ have never gotten a single quantifiable benefit from it.
This is generally because they don’t have a clear idea of what they’re trying to achieve.
Beyond that, I promise this section won’t be too long, so you might as well just read it.
LinkedIn is a massive professional networking (not to be confused with social networking) website, which professes to help professionals network, advance their careers, find new clients, advertise their business, expand their network… the list goes on.
As of February 2015, LinkedIn has over 347 million users across 200 countries and 20 languages. Believe it or not, over 40% of those users check LinkedIn every day.
The first important thing to note is that LinkedIn can provide some genuine and significant benefits to anyone interested in furthering their career or business.
The second important thing to note is that you won’t get any of these benefits if you expect to simply upload your CV and wait. LinkedIn is a hugely powerful tool, but it’s not a passive one – typically you’ll need to invest some time and thought if you want to get the most out of it.
If you’re in that game, please do read on…
2. Why use LinkedIn?
Knowing precisely why you’re using LinkedIn is vital to creating a powerful, interest-grabbing profile. Depending on what you’re trying to achieve, your profile could be setup in a variety of different ways. Read on to find out which category you fall into…
OK, you know what LinkedIn is, so it’s time to setup your profile, right?
Well… Not quite.
Before you get started adding your employment history, it’s important to consider why you’re using LinkedIn. Below are some of the most common (valid) reasons for using LinkedIn, and depending on which category you fall into, you’ll want to structure your profile differently.
You’re actively job hunting
This is perhaps the most obvious use for LinkedIn. Thousands of employers post jobs and search LinkedIn for potential candidates every day – If you want to be in the game, you’ll need to setup a profile.
And of course, just any old profile won’t get the job done – you’ll need a professional, targeted LinkedIn profile that demonstrates the value you can provide to employers.
You’re open to opportunities
OK, so maybe you aren’t actively looking for a new job.
But if the perfect position came up, you’d be open to advancing your career… Right?
Opportunities come in all sorts of forms; job advertisements, polite enquiries, business proposals and head-hunters, just to name a few.
And of course, the way you write your LinkedIn profile will influence the type of opportunities which might arise. For example, if you are a project manager and you optimise your LinkedIn profile to showcase your project management prowess, there’s every chance you’ll be contacted with an opportunity.
And of course, LinkedIn will periodically notify you of relevant jobs – Even if they’re not suitable, it’s always useful to know what’s out there.
If you run your own business, you absolutely should be on LinkedIn.
The potential for finding new clients, business opportunities and connections is truly excellent, so go ahead and create an account now. I’ll wait.
We’ll cover lead management, marketing, and sales later on, but for now just know you’re in the right place.
LinkedIn groups are a goldmine of up-to-date information, news, discussion and potential employers/business partners.
There’s just one problem – Most of the best groups are private.
You have to apply to join them.
And of course, the people who create and moderate these groups don’t want to let in just anybody. They want professional, knowledgeable people who can add value to their group.
In order to demonstrate that you’re such a person, you’ll need a solid, focused LinkedIn profile.
This is the most nebulous of reasons for joining LinkedIn, and it’s also the ‘purpose’ of your average, poorly constructed, abandoned LinkedIn profile.
But that doesn’t mean it can’t be valid.
Your professional network dictates which opportunities come your way… and which don’t. You might have a former classmate who now works at your dream company, but if you have no contact with them you’ll never know.
If you put together a professional profile – including your career and educational history – LinkedIn will try to find and suggest potential contacts. These will usually be people you’ve worked with, or gone to school with, and you can choose whether you’d like to add them to your network.
Now I don’t want to recommend that you add people randomly because you met them once in a lift. An untargeted network is just as useless as having no network at all.
At the same time, the more people you have in your network, the more chance you’ll have of networking with the kinds of people you want to network with.
We’ll cover exactly how this works later, but in the mean time my suggestion would be to always add colleagues and friends who work in relevant industries or professions.
Even if you never benefit from the connection directly, there’s always a chance that you’ll ‘know a guy who knows a guy’.
So potential employers can ‘Google you’?
This may sound ridiculous, but bear with me.
Using search engines to vet job applicants is a relatively recent thing, but I know for a fact that many employers do it. If I wanted to hire someone to work with me, or indeed collaborate with somebody I didn’t know, you can be sure I’d do at least some research.
This poses a problem – particularly if you’re a young person. You have set your Facebook privacy settings to invisible, right?
Prospective employers don’t need to know what you get up to at weekends, so if you’re doing your job right a basic Google search won’t turn up any of your personal social media accounts.
But as much as you don’t want to share intimate details about your personal life, you also don’t want to be anonymous. A professional, informative LinkedIn account which backs up your job application is the perfect remedy.