LinkedIn is like an always-accessible online resume. Unlike a resume, however, it can also help you meet new professional contacts, impress potential clients and reconnect with former co-workers. Learning to use LinkedIn intelligently can help propel your business career to the next level.
Here are four strategies to help you make the most of LinkedIn.
- Ask for Recommendations OftenMost people only have a couple recommendations. That’s why if someone opens up your profile and sees twenty recommendations, they’re automatically going to assume that there’s something special about you or your skill set.Getting recommendations isn’t difficult. Anyone who’s on LinkedIn can write a recommendation for you. Whether it’s co-workers or employers, business partners or past clients, make it a point to ask for recommendations from everyone.It’s like having twenty letters of recommendations attached to a resume.
- Go through Your Past Contacts and Add ThemA lot of people don’t make full use of LinkedIn because they haven’t added their past contacts. People from past jobs, past employers, past partners (even from years and years ago) may have valuable contacts that you can meet in the present.Go through your old phone books, old phones, old email addresses and look for people you might have forgotten to add.
- Update Your Profile RegularlyNot everyone uses LinkedIn every day. Some people only use LinkedIn when they’re looking for a job. Others only use it when they’re looking to hire, or looking to find new clients.During “off” periods, a lot of people let their LinkedIn profile stagnate. They forget to ask for recommendations, forget to add new contacts and forget to add new workplaces.Unfortunately, anyone you meet could look you up on LinkedIn at anytime. If they see an old profile, they’ll likely think you’re less connected, less skilled or less experienced than you actually are.Keep your LinkedIn profile up to date. Even if you aren’t using it at this particular moment, make it a point to update it at least monthly. Remember: it’s a publicly visible resume.
- Search for New ContactsLinkedIn allows you to search for contacts that are two degrees of separation away. In other words, if your friend Judy knows Jane, who knows Mark, and you want to get to know Mark, that can come up in a search.You may be more connected than you realize. Potential mentors, investors, clients and employers could just be one or two degrees of separation away.Get in the habit of searching for people who could help you in your career. Ask people you know, who know people you want to know, for referrals and recommendations.These are a few LinkedIn strategies you can use to really take your networking and business contacts to the next level. Spruce up your LinkedIn page with recommendations, add past contacts, update your profile regularly and use the search feature to find people who could help you advance your career.
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[contentbox width=”550″ borderwidth=”2″ borderstyle=”none” bordercolor=”000000″ dropshadow=”3″ backgroundcolor=”F5F5F5″ radius=”0″]Janet Slack of Solopreneur.biz is a Professional Certified Coach, well-known author, speaker and blogger on topics related to running a successful small business. She has mentored, coached and supported hundreds of others as they started or grew their own small businesses. Her passion is coaching people to succeed in life through seeking fun, challenges and rewards whether they are small business owners, women in transition or even those conquering fear and learning to find joy. Her newest program, Social Media News Flash, helps you to stay current, quickly and easily, on the many social media platforms.[/contentbox]