Are You Making The Most Of LinkedIn? Top 10 Things You Can Do To Up Your LinkedIn Game.
I just finished writing about how terrible your resume is at telling others how brilliant you are as a professional. Seriously, resumes are about as compelling and useful as a nutrition label is on a can of beans.
LinkedIn however, is a whole different story. While still not the perfect way to help others see the value in your potential, it does a better job. What bothers me is that most people just regurgitate their resume on LinkedIn. You could do SO much more. And even with a little effort manifest some results that might surprise you. And no, this isn’t just for when you’re looking for a job.
Here are my top tips for maximizing the LinkedIn platform.
- A picture tells 1000 words. I was talking to a recruiter the other day. They said the first thing they look at is your headshot. Photos tell a story. Is it the story you want to tell?
- Speaking of pictures, did you know you didn’t have to have the LinkedIn blue background? Look at all that graphic real estate! Why not put in a wordcloud, or better yet create an infographic that shares how you think.
- We all have a portfolio of sorts. The “art” in question might be a white paper or a unique project. Maybe you’ve presented on a panel or had someone mention you in an article. They’re all examples of your work. You can showcase these in the “Featured” section of your profile. Get creative here; remember you are telling the story of you.
- When you connect with someone on LinkedIn go the extra step and tell them why. Imagine this; you send one of those dull “I want to connect with you on LinkedIn messages.” Let’s assume the other person clicks yes. Roll forward into the future you, and you want to reach out to this contact. Do you remember what the catalyst was for the connection? Do they? Probably not. Imagine this: you customize your note and say something like, “I’d like to connect with you because…..”. You can fill in whatever works for you here. NOW you have a paper trail, albeit a digital one, in your LinkedIn inbox as to why you know each other. A cold connection automatically gets a little warmer.
- Number 4 there also works in reverse. Imagine you receive one of those same generic requests. Sure, you can ignore them, but let’s assume for a second you are building your network. Always a good idea, in my opinion. You don’t have a paper trail because they initiated the connection. There’s no rule that says you can’t send them a personal note back. I do it all the time. Mine says something to the effect of “Thanks for connecting. You didn’t mention why and I’m always curious. Did you read/see something I produced, or did someone say something about me in a room I’m not in?” Not everyone responds (another missed opportunity), but when they do, we both have some back and forth that connects us to a why.
- Do NOT, I repeat, do NOT connect to try and sell a connection something. I don’t know who gave people advice to try and connect with someone and then immediately jump into the “can I get time on your calendar to show you my stuff” approach. You’ve just told me a lie about why you wanted to connect with me. “Mutual connections” – what a load of nonsense. I know I’m not the only one that responds poorly to these types of connections. Figure out how to make a genuine connection first.
- You are a media mogul. It’s like LinkedIn is this giant magazine of articles about the professional world. You can post in this magazine as much as you want. And here’s the brilliant part, you’ve got your very own section in the magazine that is all your ideas – the Articles section of your profile. You are hired for your ability to think in the future. What a better way of sharing how you think with other people?
- You can be like Oprah. Have you read any articles about how hard people work to get their products featured in Oprah’s “My favorite things?” issue or section? Let me save you some time; it’s SUPER hard. Why? Because of the “Oprah effect.” Oprah’s endorsement and amplification through her platform mean sales often go through the roof. YOU can endorse people too. Ok, so maybe you don’t have the platform of Oprah, but you do have one. Why not use it? It seems to be working for Oprah.
- Participate – A like is nice, and a comment is better, but a share is great. Do you want to get to know someone or build a relationship that’s sharing content (see #7) on LinkedIn? The fastest and most effective way is interacting with what they have to say. While I’ll never dismiss a like on an article, conversations, I find, always start with comments, or better yet, comments + a share. You get to know someone through conversations and by introducing them to your friends.
And where is number 10? I thought I’d give you that slot so I can channel a little of my inner Oprah. Send us your unique and brilliant tip you think people should know so they can maximize LinkedIn. We want to hear YOUR ideas and amplify them too. Either comment below or send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org
Oh, and before I go. One thing NOT to do. Please don’t post your resume. It does such a terrible job of telling us about awesome you.