How To Use LinkedIn Effectively

Ah LinkedIn! The “professional Facebook” as some like to call it.  Some also like to use it as a professional match.com, but that is another post for another day.  LinkedIn is one of the best resources when it comes to networking.  You can network with someone in the same company as you, the same city, a different city, a different state, or even a different country.  It all depends on how you use it.  LinkedIn allows you to make your skills and value as an employee, known, to recruiters and other people who may be interested in your industry.  Today, I will discuss how to use LinkedIn to the best of your ability.   Different industries call for different standards, but let’s go by the gold standards that will apply to basically everyone:

 

Headshots

For the love of God, do not use a selfie.  Yes, sometimes I know we all have our best photos in selfies, but it is not appropriate for LinkedIn.  Instead, find a professional photographer to get a picture of you in nice light and a great pose.  If you can’t afford a professional photographer, your iPhone or Samsung Galaxy will be just as good if you follow these tips: Face forward, good lighting (no shadows), plain wall or background (not white), and also don’t forget to smile.  You can cross your arms or have them down to the side.  Also, make sure it is just you in the photo.   Wear something professional – a blazer, a professional jacket, or a nice dress.  White does not always show up great in photos, so try a different and muted color.

 

Profile

After you have your headshot, you want to complete your profile 100%.  Make sure you add your colleges and universities and any certifications you may have.  Add a summary and describe who you are, professionally, and what you currently do.  Make this summary witty and show your personality.  Do spell check and proofread.  Have someone else read it also to make sure it is professional but uniquely you.    Avoid writing in first person. 

Add your jobs, employers, and job descriptions – like a resume.  Discuss in detail what you did, what your accomplishments where, and add skills that help you stand out. 

Invite friends and colleagues to do recommendations and endorsements for you.  I personally sent out a blanketed statement asking for some and about 25% of my colleagues responded and wrote or endorsed me in the recommendations section.  Upload your resume and create a unique LinkedIn URL so that people can link back to you. 

There are many different privacy settings for LinkedIn where you can show your profile photo, jobs, or hide them; It’s up to you what you deem is best. 

 

Job Searching

Job searching on LinkedIn is very simple.  For some companies, you can apply directly on LinkedIn.  Other companies will have a link to their site where you can apply traditionally.  Additionally, when job searching, LinkedIn shows who is in your network that may be in that company or industry.  You can search by your school, location, and network connections.  You can ask for a virtual introduction.  It is all about networking here! These are small tips for job searching, but they make a big difference:

·         Research the company you want to work for and follow them

o   Follow some HR recruiters from the company too

·         Ask for introductions from your network

·         Let people know you’re looking for a job – don’t be ashamed

o   Only do this if you’re comfortable with your current job knowing

·         Engage on posts

·         Join Networking groups specific to your interests

·         Follow hashtags (i.e. #datascience, #machinelearning, or even #mba, #healthcare, #accounting)

 

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