According to a survey done by The Statistics Portal in early 2016, there are 450 million LinkedIn users worldwide, with more than 107 million residing in the United States.
Figuring out how to make your profile stand out amongst millions of educated scholars can be a daunting task. Here are some guidelines for making the most of your connections, highlighting your key accomplishments, and much more.
We’re all busy people. Families, jobs, hobbies, exercise, etc. leave little time to update your LinkedIn profile and add more connections to your roster. That is why Erica Breuer’s article on fastcompany.com, “If You Can Only Spare 15 Minutes A Week For LinkedIn, Do This,” provides a breakdown on how to maximize your weekly 15 minutes on LinkedIn:
- 6 Minutes – ENGAGE: ‘Like’ your connections’ posts, comment on their information, endorse their skills.
- 5 Minutes – SPOT CHECK: Size your profile up from top to bottom, addressing easy-to-fix items like typos, dead links, or that old contact number you no longer use. Jot notes about any time-extensive tasks that can wait for a longer makeover session.
- If you’re looking for a job, is that clear (yet subtle)? If you’re looking to attract new clients, do you make that clear?
- 2 Minutes – SHARE: Scan your feed for the most interesting article you can find that’s related to your area of expertise. Share the article with a quick comment on why you think it’s useful and relevant.
- 2 Minutes – TRIM CONNECTION FAT: Ensure that your connections are high quality and position you as a trustworthy resource. Your network is a vital part of your brand, and while quantity helps, it’s ultimately quality connections that get you ahead.
For the business side of things, in Jean Serio’s article on nextavenue.org, “7 LinkedIn Tips to Grow Your Business,” she provides recommendations on how to grow your company by simply using LinkedIn more effectively:
- Make every effort to have a complete LinkedIn Profile Page.
- Build your LinkedIn connections to 500 or more.
- Leverage the power of LinkedIn Alumni Groups.
- Secure LinkedIn Endorsements from clients or those you’ve previously worked with.
- Use your LinkedIn homepage to regularly share valuable information with connections.
- Join 10 LinkedIn Groups.
- Upload PDFs, SlideShare presentations, videos and audio files of your work.
Last but not least, here are the most common mistakes LinkedIn users make, and how to avoid them, according to the article by Sarah Cronin on fastcompany.com, “These Four Common LinkedIn Mistakes Are Holding Back Your Career”:
- Not treating LinkedIn like the search engine that it is. Start with your “Skills” section to boost your industry-specific keyword count. Consider using a “Specialties” subsection in your summary.
- Writing your profile exclusively in the third person. Write in the second person to address the reader, by using the pronouns “you,” “your,” and “yours,” even if they sound too informal at first (they aren’t!).
- Sending generic requests to connect. Make a point to send thoughtful invitations explaining why you’d like to connect, and do the same when accepting an invitation. Never just use the boilerplate, “Hi, I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn. “When you send personalized notes, you effectively remind your network what have to offer and what value you provide in this two-way relationship.
- Skimping on recommendations. LinkedIn Help Center says, “Hiring managers and people searching for new customers and business partners prefer to work with people who come recommended by someone they know and trust.” The best approach: write a recommendation for someone and ask for one in return.
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