When people talk about social media, LinkedIn seems to get lost in the shuffle. With giants like Facebook and twitter constantly growing and changing, it’s easy to see how the reliable and professional site can be forgotten. Just because there aren’t any fun games or cat videos on LinkedIn doesn’t mean it isn’t as useful as other social media sites though.
LinkedIn is like an online resume as well as an easy tool to stay connected to your colleagues and people you meet while networking all in one. While it seems pretty straightforward, there are ways to maximize your profile to give your career an extra boost. Here’s 6 tips to make the most of your LinkedIn account.
1. Link to former employers
When you add a current or previous employment, LinkedIn requires you to fill out the company name, your title, location, and give dates for when you worked there. When you type the company’s name, search the drop down menu to try and find your company and its logo rather than just giving the name. Not all companies have LinkedIn accounts, especially smaller ones, so don’t be discouraged if you can’t find yours.
Linking your page to previous or current companies not only allows people to easily look up these employers and see what kind of background you have, it also allows LinkedIn to add you to a master list of employees for that company. This will make finding current and past coworkers to connect with easier (we’ll talk about that more later).
2. Include your skills
While LinkedIn suggests skills for you to add to your profile, it doesn’t add them for you. You must select the skills you have and add them to your profile yourself.
While adding your experience shows people the titles you’ve held and the places you’ve worked, adding your skills gives your greater freedom to show what you an do for future clients. You might have held similar titles at a variety of companies over the years, but that doesn’t mean you had the same responsibilities or used the same exact skills at each place. Or perhaps you’re looking to branch out and have recently gained skills you haven’t really used in your previous jobs. The skills section is the place to show that.
3. Connect with coworkers past and present
Connections are LinkedIn’s version of friends, likes, or followers. Do you have coworkers at your current job? What about your previous jobs? Did you meet someone at a networking event that you’d like to stay in touch with? All of these people are your potential connections.
Why is it important to have connections? These people can help you grow your business, hire you for your services, or even give you a leg up if you wanted to switch jobs. Just like friends, likes, and followers, connections are important to keep your business going.
4. Endorse your connections
Remember how you took the time to list all your skills on your LinkedIn page? So did your connections. One way to stay connected with your vast network is to endorse the skills they’ve listed on their pages. Be honest and only endorse the skills you’ve experienced and don’t worry about not being able to endorse all of them.
While it might seem silly to read a list of people’s skills and select a few you really believe in, it does benefit you in the long run. It’s an unwritten rule on LinkedIn to endorse someone who endorses you. Everyone might not follow this rule, but enough will return the favor to transform your list of skills from self-written to colleague-approved.
5. Share regular updates
LinkedIn has updates similar to those of Facebook. They’re accessible to your connections and remind people to keep you on their radar. This is where you share your work, such as your new portfolio, or even a funny image or inspirational quote that relates to your field. Either way, it reminds your connections that you are still active and relevant. Who do you think a potential client is more likely to hire, the talented person that faded to the background or the talented person who refused to be forgotten? The answer’s pretty obvious.
6. Don’t use hashtags
LinkedIn isn’t set up to use hashtags like twitter and Facebook. Without the linking ability behind it, hashtags just look ridiculous. I suggest keeping things professional with standard grammatical English and favor key words to catch clients’ eye.
Let’s be honest, LinkedIn is a more practical than fun social media site. That being said, it has an obvious purpose and serves it well. You’re not here to settle for average though. Always look for ways to achieve more than the status quo, even in the professional world. Use LinkedIn to your advantage and grow your business, and your network, like never before.
Symo0. Technology. 8 Feb. 2011. Online image. Flickr. 20 Oct. 2014. https://flic.kr/p/9hsheb