If you haven’t joined LinkedIn yet, it’s about time you did. This social media platform hosts the biggest business network in the world — an astounding 85 million members in 200 countries. It shows phenomenal growth, adding one new member every second.
Joining gives you access to those members, making LinkedIn an instant database-builder. LinkedIn’s search capacity helps forge the right connections – and plenty of them. They’re just an invitation request away.
You gain access to your network, your network’s network, and your network’s network’s network – whew! For example, a personal network of 600 connections opens the door to 60,000 contacts (your network’s contacts) and, one degree of separation higher, to a stunning four million.
Open an account, but resist the next logical step — the impulse to fill in the blanks. Instead, start up in “stealth mode.” Since you only have one chance to make a good first impression, you don’t want anyone to view your profile until it’s polished and perfect.
People can find you as soon as you open a LinkedIn profile. Not only can they view your profile, but by default, LinkedIn will inform them of every little change to your profile. This feature works to your advantage later, but for now, just draw the curtains.
Begin in the Profile and Status Updates section of your security settings. Click ‘no’ to both publishing your profile updates and notifying your contacts of status updates. If you signed in using your primary e-mail address, change it temporarily to a non-published address. Then hide your full name by showing only your first name and last initial.
Now you can fill in all the blanks. Take your time and get it right. If your resume is up-to-date, you’ll need about two hours. Soften your resume, but market yourself with a detailed description of your current and past positions, listing the company and noting the industry. Include education and volunteer work, especially if it’s relevant. List your website and note your other social media channels, and don’t forget to write a compelling summary.
You can also include applications. Include a slideshow, a PowerPoint, a poll, your portfolio. Or display a reading list. Import your blog. Check out Company Buzz. LinkedIn gives you plenty of options.
The next step involves fine-tuning the verbiage to make sure that your name comes up when someone wants the service you provide. Your wording should include the terms searchers use. Test it out. They may differ from the industry title or job description you give yourself.
Ready for business? Return your profile and status update settings to ‘yes.’ Restore your primary e-mail address and full name. Then, open up the circle to your closest colleagues by sending an invitation. Ask a few of them for referrals. And the best way to get a referral? Give one.
It’s finally time to open the door wide. Import your database and invite new contacts a few at a time, always with a personal note. Mention how you met or reference a common experience to help them place you in context. Besides, it’s friendlier.
Linked in? Time to meet, greet, grow and learn. Tap into your network and discover who’s waiting to meet you.
- Businesses recognize LinkedIn’s professional value. Many large organizations block social media websites, but emails generated by LinkedIn are not blocked.
- Because you maintain your own listing, LinkedIn displays an authoritative and reliable listing, unlike the proliferation of would-be “Yellow Pages.”
- It’s great for online collaboration.
- You can now build company profile pages