Promoting yourself with Linkedin

Courtesy of 4_Ever_Young

Courtesy of 4_Ever_Young

This is by no means a comprehensive post on how to promote on Linkedin, so if you have additional suggestions, please leave them in the comments so that we can all learn.

This will hopefully be the first of string of posts on what I feel are some key ingredients in promoting yourself (or your business) and networking online. I’m going to post related posts, but with different subject matter over at the eastsidelife community blog , so if you like this post, you’ll want to check there for more info.

Do you have a Linkedin account? No? Get one.

Why? Not only is your profile an online resume that can include links to your blog, twitter, etc and can have colleague/client recommendations on it, but it is also a valuable social network for those that have the time to participate in it.

Take a look at my Linkedin profile . It might not be the slickest out there, but it’s complete. It shows my work and education history, including my duties, responsibilities, and accomplishments, and it has a short free form introduction section, where I get to say anything I want. In addition, it includes links to my personal blog and my twitter profile. BTW – if anyone has suggestions for how to improve it, I would love to hear them.

So, you’ve gotten a Linkedin account, right? Now, fill in a description that says a little about who you are, what your strengths are, and what you would like to do, whether that relates to finding a job, networking, or something else, but keep it professional.

Fill in your specialties, and try to keep it short.

Now, start entering your work and education experience. It can take quite awhile if you haven’t updated your resume lately, but having worked in recruiting and knowing quite a few recruiters ( @smellycents and @dawnmiller come to mind), I can tell you that the completeness and ease of reading of these sections can be very important to whether or not a recruiter, hiring manager, or HR person even consider you for a position. Or, it could be a potential client that decides whether or not to do business with you based on the keywords in your experience or the passion they see come through in your descriptions.

Once you’ve finished work and educational experience, it is up to you if you post any additional information below. Personally, I do not find it necessary, but who knows, you might.

Toward the bottom of the profile, you will see groups. If you’re going to make use of Linkedin, I suggest joining a few groups that are relevant to your interests or industry. The value of joining a group is that, even if you are not directly connected to the members, you can still view their profiles and vice versa. If you don’t know why that’s valuable, I’ll get to that.

By now, your profile should be fairly complete. Make sure your professional headline (the text under your name) has your current title and/or your strengths in there. For example, mine reads, “SEO, Social Media, & User Engagement Specialist.”

Before you go and start inviting connections, upload a picture of yourself. Some people prefer normal headshots. Others like the cartoony stuff. As far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t matter too much as long as it’s not offensive, but it is important to have one. If I don’t know you, I need something visual to attach to your name in my mind.

You’re now ready to start adding connections. Do you have an address book? Good. It doesn’t matter whether it’s Outlook, Gmail, or something else, this will be simple. If you use an online address book, you can import them by going to ->Contacts->Import Contacts. If you use a desktop mail client, select ‘Other Address Book’ on that page and follow the directions.

My personal preference is to connect with everyone on Linkedin. You may just want to connect with certain people. That’s up to you. You can also join groups like the LIONs, Toplinked, or MyLink500 if you want to really open up your network. Keep in mind though that these will be weak connections.

It is now time to ask some of your connections for recommendations. Don’t be stupid and ask people that don’t know you. Ask people you’ve worked for, colleagues, and clients. Even if they only write 3 sentences, it’ll help you out. Remember to do the same for them.

Okay, so your profile is set up, and you’ve added some people. Now, what can you actually do with Linkedin? In my opinion, you should first and foremost have your Linkedin URL on your blog, in your email signature, maybe even on your business cards. When I apply for a job, I include a link to my profile in the cover letter. Why? Not only does it contain more depth than my resume, but it also has recommendations. When someone comes to me for consulting, I generally ask them to look at that profile and my blog as well to make sure they feel they’re approaching the right person.

If you’re job hunting or prospecting for your current job, you’re going to want to learn to use the advanced people search. Get in contact with employees of companies you’re interested in. If they’re not direct connections of yours, use the Get Introduced option. It might seem odd, but reaching out like this isn’t just how you do sales anymore. It’s also how you find a lot of jobs.

Another way to use Linkedin that too many people overlook is the Answers section. Here, you can establish yourself as a field expert or just get people familiar with your name. Admittedly, I use this section very little, but when I have used it, the ROI has been very high.

Now, get out there and grow your network, and while you’re at it, shoot me an invitation at [email protected] and don’t forget to come back here or check out the eastsidelife community blog for the next post.

Tags: , , , , ,

blog comments powered by Disqus
  • Most Popular Discussion

  • Categories