Eleven Things to do on LinkedIn if you are beginning a job search.
1). Put up a photo. If you don’t have a photo, your credibility is at risk. A complete profile has a photo. People wonder what are you hiding from when you don’t have a profile picture. People want to connect with a person and a photo is a good way. And don’t put one up from when you graduated high school or won a beauty contest. It is best to be honest and show how you really look. I will avoid surprises when you finally meet that person or hiring manager.
2). Join about 40 groups. You’re allowed up to 50 groups on LinkedIn. Join almost that many. By joining 40, you still have “room” for another interesting group. Groups are how you get things done on LinkedIn. When someone just has one or two groups, or, even worse, no groups that says something about you and your interest levels. By joining groups people can get to know you and your business.
3). Get recommendations. Recommendations are essential to you. Former supervisors are very valuable. Seek them proactively and seek them passively. Proactive recommendation seeking involves reaching out and asking someone to recommend you. Passive recommendation seeking involves recommending someone, at which point LinkedIn asks them to recommend you back. The latter is actually a bit more effective.
4). Post discussions on groups. What’s the use of belonging to groups if you’re not out there as an influencer? Participate! Post discussions on your groups that is appropriate on a regular basis. Beware of rants and complaints as your next employer could be checking you out in those groups and could be turned off by any over the top discussions. Make the discussion to be something of actual interest to the group. Post articles (that aren’t self serving), announcements, real events (not promoting or selling your product or service), requests for real advice, and discussions about a topic relevant to the group. Again, no selling! Don’t over post the same thing over and over.
5). Participate in threads. If you’re just a poster and not a participant, it will become clear that you are just in it to promote yourself, rather than be a fully participating member of the LinkedIn community. Participate in threads with useful remarks. Again, no selling! And no “trolling,” either! If you must make political comments, be polite. Don’t attack people. I’m not saying to weasel your words. I am saying to be civil. If you participate in threads, follow the same rules as above. Be useful, not self-promoting.
6). Let it be known that you are an open networker. There are two philosophies on LinkedIn. One is more effective than the other.
The first is that you only connect with people you know well. That is LinkedIn’s official philosophy, although they really speak with a forked tongue on this one. This will keep your connections pretty low, and will not build your network. Keep in mind as soon as you join NhN’s LinkedIn group you have 600 + potential connections right there.
The second is to accept all or almost all connection requests, at least from individuals. You can always delete them after you see their profile and evaluate their contacts, or find out that they are selling multi-level-marketing products or services. Don’t connect with companies, and be cautious about connecting with someone without a photo (because it could be a fake profile).
The second approach will build your network much more rapidly. You may have no interest in networking with the individual who invites you. But you might have an interest in someone in his or her network. Connecting gives you access to that network. The more connections, the more likely it is that someone you want to meet now or in the future will be “in network.” This makes your life on LinkedIn much easier. When you want information on one of your target companies you need people inside and this is a way to get to them.
LinkedIn as a very large networking party. Now, at a networking party you don’t just go up to people you know and talk to them, if you do, you’re a lousy networker. So why should you only talk to people you ?.already know. LinkedIn has helped me meet some great new friends, business associates, and networking partners. I’ve gotten clients through LinkedIn. I’ve contacted hiring authorities for my clients through LinkedIn. And I’ve gotten an opportunity to meet very interesting and dynamic people through LinkedIn. All of this is because I’ve ignored the B.S. that says I should only connect with people I know well! Connect and be an open networker.
7). Accept everyone, but invite strategically. You should have your tarkget list of companies and industries you want to work for or in. You Invite to build your network the way you want to and need to build it.
8). Diversify your contacts. I noticed a while back that my contact list was looking pretty homogeneous. Almost everyone in there was white, 50-ish, and male. So, in my inviting, I have made it a goal to invite women, people of color and younger people. Part of the problem is, of course, that LinkedIn itself is predominately middle aged, white and male. But there are plenty of others if you look. And you should look.
9). Use your network. Don’t like my network selling their products or services to me, announcements or questions. I make it a point to answer every question I get through LinkedIn. If you have a question that needs asking — ask the network. If you have something stupendous, share it with your network. You will get to be known this way and people will naturally come to you for many different needs.
10). Update regularly. If you go to your home screen, you can see a place to update your network. Use it frequently. It is like a Tweet, but it goes to LinkedIn. You can also Tweet your update if you wish.
11.). Update your profile frequently. Your job and needs are changing. Don’t keep the same stuff in your profile. Update all of the time. Add your work or position with Neighbors-helping-Neighbors in the volunteer section of the profile. If you are one of our facilitators put that down as your job, if you help us on one of our leadership committees put that too. Potential employers like to see people volunteer their time in their community and we have a great way to accomplish that while you are conducting your job search.