No matter what stage you’re at in your career, whether you’re just starting out, searching for your next job, or happily employed, we think that making strong professional connections is critical to being as productive as possible! One of the Kdan Team’s favorite outlets for getting connected is LinkedIn. We love it so much that just a few weeks ago, two members of our team set up a workshop on the subject.
We want to share a few tips with you depending on your current employment status that we think will help you make the most of this awesome professional networking resource!
Maybe you’re graduating college; maybe you’re new to social media–we’ve been there too! If you’re setting up your LinkedIn for the first time, then you’re already taking a good step towards your next (or first) job.
Here’s how we suggest you kick things off:
Let Your Passion Shine Through
One of the first things you’ll notice when you set up your account is the section where you can add a bio for yourself. This will be one of the first things people see when they view your profile. Rather than reiterating the same information that’s in your resume, why not let them know something deeper about you?
- What are your ambitions?
- Why do you love your work?
- What gets you out of bed in the morning?
These are the things that can help a potential recruiter or other connection understand why you’re different.
Take a Professional Picture
“You only have one chance to make a first impression,” and on social media, this means your profile picture. Unlike other social media sites, where fun, creative, and pictures with a filter is the norm, LinkedIn is different. Select a photo with good lighting that shows you in a professional context. This gets you started on the right foot.
Don’t Accidentally Spam People!
Like any resume, you’ll be constantly tweaking your LinkedIn profile. There’s an automatic setting that notifies your network whenever you make a change that can be useful if you’re starting a new job or received a new certification, but can drive your colleagues crazy if they get a ping every time you edit a job description or add a new skill. To be safe, turn this off before you start adjusting your profile.
On the Market
If you’re ready for a change in career, or interested in moving to a new city or even country, LinkedIn can be a great place to explore your options.
Before you start your search however, you’ll want to take advantage of some of these platform features:
Share Your Successes
Adding job experiences is critical whenever you’re applying to a job, but did you know that LinkedIn gives you a chance to go even deeper when telling your professional story? You can add media or other projects you were associated with–such as websites you worked on, articles you’ve written, etc.–as part of your employment experience. This tells a more in-depth story about your career.
Don’t be Shy
The job search function on LinkedIn is nice, but there’s more than one way to find an opportunity on this network. After all, it exists to build your professional network up! If you are connected with someone in an industry you’re interested in, or someone who’s a professional recruiter, don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for advice! They might know a place that’s the right fit for you, or even be looking for someone with your exact qualifications. Despite being a bit cliche, “you don’t get if you don’t ask” is certainly true!
Build Your Credibility
If you’ve been in the professional world for sometime now, you can use LinkedIn to build up credibility. You can go on your network and ask others to write recommendations for you or go onto your profile and endorse your skills. This will help you stand out because then it’s not just your word that a potential recruiter is going on. You can also create an email signature with a link to your LinkedIn profile so that your email recipients check it out and write a recommendation.
Excel at the Job You Love
Congratulations! If you’re happily employed in a position that satisfies your professional passions, you should be very proud! With that being said, LinkedIn is still a great tool even when you’re not on the job market.
There’s tons of leaders in different industries on LinkedIn that are constantly sharing news, thoughts, tips, and more that can help you build on your existing skills! It’s important to always keep a student mentality, and LinkedIn is full of teachers!
Join a Group
Another great way to stay up to date on industry news, best practices, and other related ideas is by joining a group or two that’s centered around things you’re interested in. And don’t just be a spectator–if you’ve got an idea or question, it’s a perfect place to share! You might even end up making a valuable connection or two for your business’s or your personal growth!
Learn a New Skill
Perhaps you love what you do, but there’s new areas in your industry that you want to explore. If for example, you’re a professional writer, but wanted to learn some tips for graphic design because you think it will make you a better overall storyteller, there’s ways to do that as well. Join groups, reach out to connections with these skills, and follow industry news in these other areas, and you’ll be surprised how much you can learn from growing your network!
Follow Industry Leaders
Depending on your area of expertise, you can find dozens–if not hundreds–of great companies to watch and learn from.
If you’re in a creative field, or interested in boosting your creativity, why not follow Kdan’s LinkedIn profile? We love to share helpful content, company news, awesome user submissions, and more!
Did we miss any important skills? If there’s other tips that you want to share that you’ve used, let us know in the comments. We’d love to share your other productivity tips!
Also published on Medium.