Social networking in recruiting or finding prospective business partners is not a new practice, and surely this isn’t the first time when we approach the subject of building a strong online profile as a professional. However, there are a lot of things to be learned as a LinkedIn user – although it may look like another type of social network but focused on peoples’ job profiles, careers and job – related issues – and recently we found a very well built argument written to teach people how not to use LinkedIn wrong. So what is this all about? Starting from Tom Searcy’s article on 7 Things You’re Doing Wrong on LinkedIn (from Inc.com), we will take a look on some tips to using LinkedIn the right way if you are at the beginning of your career and feel that is the place where you can learn, get hired and connect with people who matter in the business or industry field that you’re interested in.
1. Build a profile and refresh it constantly
You don’t need to be a very experienced professional to show – off with a complete and complex profile which is result oriented and talent oriented – as these are the recruiting trends du jour. It is not necessary to list all your previous jobs, not all of your past experiences, but if you have some results you are particular proud of, or projects you were involved in that weight heavy on your CV, don’t forget to mention them. Updating your profile means adding new info, sharing smart articles or statuses and even learn a few SEO tricks to build a rich key – word for your profile. Remember that the world is stirring towards People Aggregation software, so it’s better that you show up in the searches due to your profile.
2. Don’t just get connected, interact!
An often mistake people make on LinkedIn is to copy their Facebook behavior, and that is not always in their best interest. Joining tens of groups is actually recommended (if they are in accordance with your interests, company, job profile and so on), but joining is not enough, you have to actually engage in real interactions with those people. Comment back, ask for opinions on certain topics, make yourself known to them. Having 1000 connections on LinkedIn you don’t use is similarly useless as having 1000 Facebook friends you never talk with.
3. Using LinkedIn the Right Way means more than looking for jobs
Let’s face it: we use this network or actually start reading the news in our groups feed only when we’re interested in changing jobs or starting a new venture. But just as Tom Searcy says, this is one of the mistakes that can have deeper consequences than you expect. And you can’t expect people to offer you jobs, recommend you, endorse you or share their know – how with you if you never engaged in real communication with them or never shared something worth debating. Just as you have time to browse your Tweets and retweet some statuses, just as you have time to post articles on Facebook, so you must share valuable content and ideas on LinkedIn too.
4. Use LinkedIn answers
This is now Yahoo Answers where people ask all sorts of random questions and other people answer them to their best knowledge, sometimes with a funny overall effect. These are people who know what they want to ask, know what they want to find out and remember the ones who gave them the answers. If you are strong in a field of expertise, answer people questions. The trend in these type of forums is that people come back with questions and, according to Tom Searcy,
unlike other social media sites (think Twitter), the section gets visited by people with similar questions over time, so it can generate leads even a year later.
In other words, if at some point you want to seek help on LinkedIn, there is a higher chance to receive it, as people will know who you are and what you’re good at.
5. Follow the right people
You can follow Richard Branson or Leonard Baron for instance and even if it is quite hard to believe that one of them will offer you the job of your life, you can learn a lot from trend setters and LinkedIn influencers, especially in the industry areas you’re planning to make a career in. Reading their articles, commenting even, learning from their experience is sometimes far more useful than just being connected with a bunch of people who ultimately will have no true added value to your professional development.
Using LinkedIn the right way involves many more tips and tricks and avoiding a whole bunch of mistakes, but there has to be a starting point for everything.