As soon as I landed “the perfect job” several years ago, my career coach told me that I should ‘update my LinkedIn profile, revise my resume AND keep an eye out for new opportunities.’ I thought she was crazy. I had spent nearly 6 months looking for this outstanding opportunity and when I finally found it she was telling me “you can’t rest on your laurels.” And she was right. Less than a year after I landed that “perfect opportunity” the company was bought out and I was looking for another job. Although it was a tough pill to swallow, I learned early on that you always need to be proactive when it comes to your career.
On a related note, I had the pleasure of recently attending a LinkedIn workshop that was delivered by my friend and colleague Wayne Breitbarth who authored the book, “The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success.” I wanted to share with you a few LinkedIn tips from his presentation, along with a few of my own:
- Using LinkedIn a few times a week is like exercising — you may not like it — but you just do it. I’m not saying that you have to go on LinkedIn every day to look for jobs and increase your visibility, but you should keep you name out there among your target audience(s) on an ongoing basis. For instance, write a few original blogs a month, make a few relevant and though-provoking comments about industry-related articles, participate in groups that resonate with your areas of interest, among other related tactics. You own your personal brand and your brand needs to be visible, easy-to-understand, relevant and valuable to your target audiences.
- Simply posting a LinkedIn profile and connecting with a few colleagues is NOT a strategic way of leveraging LinkedIn. Similar to writing a resume, writing a LinkedIn profile can be challenging. You want to articulate your brand in a way that demonstrates your value proposition in a brief and compelling way. Your profile should not read like a resume — it should be a dynamic representation of who you are and what your personal brand represents. Most importantly, it has to demonstrate the value you would bring to an organization and how you stand out from the competition.
- You don’t need to re-create the wheel! I’ve helped dozens upon dozens of colleagues and friends over the years with their LinkedIn profiles. After working with them on several revisions I eventually told them, why don’t you take a break and see what’s already out there. There are many powerful and effective LinkedIn profiles that already exist. Choose among the best in class and then re-purpose them in a way that represents your own brand and style — make it your own.
- Don’t get a bad reputation by “connecting around” with everyone. Some of us will connect with everyone who gives us the opportunity to do so. DON’T. You want to be selective with your connections. If someone you don’t recognize asks to connect with you — simply respond something like, “thank you for your invite to connect, unfortunately, I don’t recall how we know each other, can you remind me?” Once you gather that information then you can decide if it’s worth adding that person to your network. Plus, as you may know, you can add notes about each of your first-level connections to help jog your memory in the future on how you formed the relationship in the first place.
- “To be or not to be” — should you become a Premium Member or not. Personally, I love all the “bells and whistles” that you gain from becoming a Premium Member. I can send a specified number of InMails to individuals who I normally can’t reach on my own, I can see who’s visiting my profile and blogs, among many other advantages as a Premium Member. (It’s definitely an investment worth considering!)
- Keywords are all the rave. In all of our respective fields there are certain keywords that recruiters are always looking for when they are doing an advanced search for potential colleagues or candidates. That being the case, the LinkedIn algorithm generally moves you to the top of the search results based on the keywords you have scattered throughout your ENTIRE profile. Not just the keywords in your headline, but in other areas throughout your profile such as: areas of expertise, endorsements, interest areas, etc. So, if you want to move to the front of the pack — use those keywords generously.
If you’d like to learn more about increasing your personal presence on LinkedIn, please contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. (In order to ensure a prompt response, please make your message clear and provide your email address and phone number.)