Your LinkedIn profile is like your ad in the world newspaper. It is a place to project your “best self”, and any possible opportunity – whether it’s a job offer, a business deal or a consulting gig – could find you.
In this post we’re going to discuss creating that best ad for yourself – a part of it has been covered in our previous article – and today we’ll talk about utilizing your LinkedIn profile to its full capacity.
Having covered the basics, we’ll explore the following crucial sections now :
- Building your network
- Receiving some outstanding recommendations
Building your network strategically
This is probably the biggest advantage LinkedIn provides us! LinkedIn helps you connect with the people you know and you may want to know and hence build your professional circle.
Connections are the sole reason that gives LinkedIn an edge over others and makes it irreplaceable!
But it is not the initial connections that make the difference – it is the additional connections you make through these connections that do the magic! Your initial connections will stand as a gateway to opportunities, becoming the foundation on which you build the further network.
Building a great network holds paramount importance if you're serious about leveraging LinkedIn in your job search. A higher number of relevant connections - connections that are industry specific - increase your chances of being considered influential in your industry.
Hence, your approach towards building your network plays a vital role in deciding the number of connections you have. Consider the following tips to help you build your network strategically:
Connect with people you know in person
Send individual requests to people you know to set off your journey on LinkedIn. It could also be those people you happened to meet over a business meeting or simply that friend you made on one of your travels. If you aren't close enough, then do send them a reminder as to how you met them.
Invite new connections using your profile
Make sure to include your LinkedIn profile link on all your social-media accounts, your blog, website, visiting card etc, so that you can utilize the chance of connecting professionally with all the people within your reach.
Move to people you might want to know
After reaching out around 50-100 connections on your own, you can start sending requests to people you're interested in. But it makes sense to begin with the people who are connected with your connections.
Utilize LinkedIn's "Request Introduction" feature
This is another incredible feature of LinkedIn. This feature allows you to leverage your existing connections to introduce you to other LinkedIn members you have in common. This way you connect to people who are in your farthest networks. But make sure you make this request with utmost politeness and professionalism, it's a favor someone is willing to do for you.
Attend seminars, meetings etc to build your circle.
This is the most powerful way to build your circle. Business meetings, get-togethers, seminars etc are the places where most influential people meet and share their views on the business. It is always helpful to attend these events as there's no better chance to meet so many career-oriented people altogether, at once.
Join the "Open Groups" on LinkedIn.
There's no better way to make the first-level connections than to join the open groups on LinkedIn. We'll discuss further about groups in our next article, but keep in mind that these connections you make here via open groups ultimately lead you to connect with the people you most want to!
Connections are a vital part of your LinkedIn Profile. Because the more connections you have, the higher are your chances of being visible in the search results.
Receiving some outstanding recommendations
A recommendation, in simple terms, means an external validation of your experience and skills. It is again that dimension of LinkedIn which a resume cannot do for you.
A positive recommendation adds significant depth and credibility to your profile. Because someone has taken their valuable time out to certify about your strengths and accomplishments under their name.
Recommendations from your former bosses or colleagues make an ample amount of difference when a potential employer is looking for you.
But again, getting these testimonials is no joke. Not everyone is ready to recommend you for a certain position. You gotta earn them if you’re serious about boosting your career through this medium. And for this, you might want to request for recommendations.
Some basic recommendation etiquettes goes a long way in keeping you at the top of your game.
Let’s see a couple of tips to get some smashing recommendations:
Be specific about what you want
Make a list of your accomplishments which you’d want to be recommended about. Be careful while asking for a recommendation – it’s important to be certain about your skills, expertise and knowledge are relevant to the positions you’re looking for. Now ask people to recommend you for these exact skills.
A little prompting in between can help you get the most desirable results – Like say, you can talk about that specific project you finished within the stipulated time or the bottlenecks which you discovered before the potential harm. Small reminders like these might help the potential that boss/colleague of yours to write a tailor-made recommendation.
Make a personalized request
Although LinkedIn gives you a chance to send mass e-mails to a large number of connections at a time in an attempt to get recommendations, it’s always the best to make personalized requests to people you really want a favor from.
You can personally send them a message about it or mail them about your intentions but be patient enough to give them some time to respond.
Don’t forget to thank them
This is an important point to keep in mind while asking for recommendations. Irrespective of the fact that someone agrees to write a recommendation for you or not, it makes sense to thank them.
If you do get a positive response and someone offers to write a recommendation for you, it’s worth to reciprocate it with a token of appreciation. You can send them a thanking note or email them that you’re grateful to them for their gesture.
But in case, you don’t get a positive response, thank them anyway. Tell them that you deeply respect their personal commitments and refrain from bothering them any further. Don’t hold anything against this person and simply move to the next prospect in your contact list.
Now that we know how to make a decent request for a recommendation, let’s now see asking whom would be most beneficial to us.
It is always a good idea to ask for the people in the senior positions to recommend you. You could also focus on people who have used your services in the past or someone who worked with you.
But a person from a senior position taking his/her time out and recommending you is a credible sign that you’re good at what you’re doing. It increases the chances of being noted by a prospective employer or a business opportunity.
Consider these people while asking for a recommendation:
In short, LinkedIn has made life easier! By setting up a LinkedIn profile, you'll always upkeep your job search process, tell the world that you're updated and relevant (indirectly, of course!) and always be at the top your game. So, why not create one today?
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