You have probably listened to many breathless enthusiasts (myself included) extolling the virtues of LinkedIn, yet is you are like most people, you remain unconvinced. To me there are five things you should be doing with LinkedIn, and I have listed them below, so stick with me.
LinkedIn is the modern day equivalent of the great and powerful Oz – everyone talks about all the things it can do, but few have really seen it work, and in the end those characteristics that will make you successful are already within you.
So is it worth your time? Yes. A lot of your time? No. But definitely a little. It is, after all networking for the new era.
- Get your profile up there and make sure it’s complete. A profile is not a static thing. The computers at LinkedIn work 24/7 to match you up with people from your past. The more information you have up there, the better the connections can be. These are the people who know about you and can help you find opportunities.
- Get endorsements. Ask the people you have worked for in the past (managers, colleagues, customers) for endorsements. Few things beat word of mouth as a generator of new opportunity.
- Maintain contact “pedigree” What the heck does that mean? It means make sure everyone on your contact list is someone you actually know and trust. It is tempting to say “yes” to every connect request that comes your way. Many people feel the need to have five hundred or a thousand or more people in their contact collection. But the only people that should be in your collection are people who you trust and respect professionally, who you would recognize in the street, and whose service you could confidently recommend. Everyone else is just an acquaintance. Put them in your email directory or phonebook, but not in LinkedIn.
- Announce yourself. Use the status update window on your homepage to announce what you are up to. This is “passive marketing.” It tells people you are still alive and active. People need to hear that so they don’t forget you.
- Acknowledge others. When you read about an achievement or promotion that one of your contacts has announced, take a moment to acknowledge it and say congratulations. This, too, is passive marketing and strengthens the ties between you.
Remember. LinkedIn is not a phone book. It’s your little black book. Only the good people need to go in there. Finding work and opportunity is not a science. It is an art and much of it comes from a phrase that is as old as humanity itself. “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.