Posted: Wednesday, January 14, 2015, 3:01 p.m.
by Michelle Sue Agee.
LinkedIn is no longer a static hub for your résumé. The platform has ramped up its performance power by generating and curating content for all professionals and providing more profile management tools.
An active account will open doors. With a traceable reputation, active users experience more successful inquiries on LinkedIn.
A commitment to LinkedIn is simple: Create a habit of visiting the site often if not daily. The platform does not guarantee or maintain relationships, though it does expand networking opportunities. Simply, maximize your profile, check-in daily and engage — be a valuable connection.
When LinkedIn is not a regular place to check-in, “You let competition control the conversations and make connections,” said Liz Deforest of Bliss Integrated Communication. A complete profile is the foundation of your LinkedIn. An active and consistence presence is the commitment.
Dynamic profile and résumé
The LinkedIn profile should be dense. “Don’t have a dead-end profile,” warned Deforest.
With few limitations on the LinkedIn résumé, expand on what you have accomplished and experienced at various internships, use the proper industry keywords for SEO purposes, and include a recommendation from a supervisor whenever possible. Recommendations carry more weight than endorsements.
Though endorsements might provide a scope of a skill set, those who choose to endorse may not know you and your skill set well. LinkedIn’s recent update allows you to manage endorsements; this is helpful if you have a connection that endorses you far too often or your skills need to be reordered.
Make sure to complete your profile to include awards, coursework, certifications, interests, volunteer work and passions. Having an established, consistently updated profile is a simple but important task to build and evolve your reputation and personal brand. You want to collaborate with peers and attract recruiters, potential employers or clients on LinkedIn; anyone and everyone can view your profile, so impress them.
Developing online relationships
You may not send just an invitation to link with a stranger. When soliciting such a connection, know what you bring to the table and explain why you want to link.
Emerging young professionals should not fret, however. Current professionals want to see the next generation through. And LinkedIn facilitates that mentoring process.
For example, LinkedIn is a great tool to see all avenues of the career one may be pursuing; there is an opportunity to receive practical guidance and create a mentor relationship from senior professionals in your industries of choice.
Deforest suggested sending an invitation to connect to discuss relevant coursework as it applies to the industry. Be mindful of the perspective of the person you are reaching out to when crafting an invitation message.
As you network, your connections will span from old classmates and supervisors to new colleagues and potential clients, partners and various industry peers. Curate your network as it grows — you want the right audience to read and support your content, career and connections.
“Networking takes commitment, time and planning,” said Deforest.
Networking also revolves around mutual relationships. Professionals must pay it forward when networking, Deforest wrote in a recent post; connections lead to referrals.
Activate: Join the conversation
To increase your profile views and build your online reputation, join the conversation. LinkedIn wants you to connect, problem-solve and chat on the platform. Make a habit of reading and commenting on articles, posing an opinion or question. It is helpful to join an aspect of the industry you enjoy, such as social media strategy or crisis management.
Christopher Lower of Sterling Cross Communication suggested that you opt into industry groups that you want to serve. “This is a way to market your own personal expertise,” Lower said. There, you will find public relations and marketing professionals within the industry with whom you could create a mentorship.
LinkedIn is a content curator. So, create content; it will be listed first on the profile. You don’t have to be an expert: Choose topics, interests and personal passions, and begin writing opinions. This is how you gain credibility online. If you are already published, consider republishing that content by posting a couple paragraphs and then link to the actual article.
Remember: Make a habit of not only reading articles, but commenting on them with your opinion or posing questions.
Keywords and analytics
Utilizing analytics is an indication of how effective your keywords and content are, said Kristen Burnham, a senior editor at Informationweek.com. The content you post, including your profile, influences SEO.
For example, you may gauge how you stack up against the competition from visible engagement, but analytics will tell you if readers follow through to read more articles or check out your profile — remember you are showcasing your expertise.
Discover, expand and evolve your brand
When you commit to LinkedIn properly, there is opportunity for you to stand above your competition. Write measurable goals. How will you utilize LinkedIn? And in what way? Networking takes time, and a career path has many directions and turns. Create a foundation and begin to fine-tune your online reputation.
Know your audience and add value to your potential connections and current network. You must make yourself present outside of your personal network. Discover what interests you within your field in various industries; find career paths you want to emulate. Expand your reach by posting original content and engaging in groups. Let your content, posts and network evolve with you and your career.