Since 2003 LinkedIn has become a staple tool for professionals looking for new opportunities and to stay connected with corporate networks.
You may have once created an account while job hunting, only to leave it unattended once the goal has been achieved, but LinkedIn is useful for much more than finding a new job!
Here are some key steps to take to make the most of your account:
Set up your profile
LinkedIn has a useful tool that walks you through the essential steps when you’re setting up. Make sure your profile photo is clearly identifiable as you, so you’re easily recognisable to your future network.
Make sure your information is up-to-date – nobody wants to see broken hyperlinks and you don’t want people thinking your most recent role was three years ago if you’re currently working.
Your ‘headline’ is your first opportunity to connect with a wider network – this will appear near your name whenever you post on the site and is usually used for your current role and business or to show what opportunities you’re looking for.
Grow your LinkedIn network
Start off by adding a few friends, past colleagues, and anyone else you feel you should connect with on a professional level. As you grow your network, the site will suggest connections based on mutual links and areas of interest – it’s worth a regular visit to your ‘recommendations’ tab!
If you work somewhere like a coworking space with other motivated professionals, it may be worth asking people in person if you’re able to connect on LinkedIn for opportunities.
It’s good manners to send a small note along with your request if you don’t have a current connection with the person, as some people are selective around who they add.
Read more: 5 Tips For Speed Networking Like A Pro
Get recommendations and endorsements
Many people you work with or assist will give you recommendations and endorsements through LinkedIn, but it never hurts to formally ask if you think it will help you cement your expertise in the field, and prove your skillset through testimonials as well as tangible examples.
Share great content
Once your profile and LinkedIn network is set up, the site begins to resemble most other social media with a scroll-worthy dashboard quickly filling with content.
Keep an eye out for content and news that’s interesting to you – odds are other people will find it exciting and/or click-worthy too!
You don’t need to try and be overly prolific (quality over quantity), but regular posting establishes your influence to those in your network and lets algorithms know you’re active and shareable.
Rather than shouting into the void, make sure you’re using LinkedIn for it’s intended purpose – creating connections.
Comment, like, and share – striking up conversations and discussions in comments is commonplace and encouraged, and helps you showcase your knowledge as well as learning from your wider community.
Similarly to door-to-door salespeople or telemarketers, nobody wants to be aggressively sold to through LinkedIn.
Keep your content general, and focus on giving people the tools to click through or interact with your business or product if they choose to do so.
Write about your experiences
If you’re a confident writer, you may want to showcase this by posting your own LinkedIn article. Similar to a blog, the article should serve to be educational and enlightening, providing a perspective that people will want to read.
Every person has different experiences, especially when it comes to career paths and learnings, and writing your own articles can help you establish yourself as a confident and experienced voice in your industry, potentially opening the door to more opportunities.