LinkedIn is a hugely beneficial tool for positioning yourself to make a leap into the job market. LinkedIn used to be viewed as a pinstripe suit, with Facebook the long-haired rebellious younger brother, but now LinkedIn has lots of ways to connect and update your network. As an experienced Healthcare Recruiter, I keep up an active presence on LinkedIn and below are my six best tips for using this tool.
Putting a good, professional, profile picture up on LinkedIn is essential. Without one your LinkedIn profile looks incomplete, almost like you have something to hide. With one, you have added an extra layer to what is effectively your online resume. A LinkedIn profile picture is that cherry on top, don’t forget it.
Join Groups. Groups are an excellent way to network, but they are also a wonderful way to add more connections. If you see someone you are interested in speaking with, join a similar group to them. When you want to add them as a connection LinkedIn will ask you how you know that person. The usual options are friend, colleague, schoolmate or someone you have done business with. However, when you are in the same group as that potential contact, and additional option appears and you can choose that group as an option instead. This is a very useful tool for adding to your network.
Don’t just use groups to leverage contacts, posting discussions on groups is a good way of showing that you are an active, lively member of LinkedIn. When people notice you, and view you as a hub for information, they will want to connect with you.
The first step to doing this is to become an “Open Networker” – join the open Networking group, and broadcast it on your profile. By becoming an open networker you are telling people on LinkedIn that you will accept any connections. This is an enormously powerful statement which will let it be known you are an open networker. Put simply, you should accept everyone, but invite strategically.
Recommendations are an enormously powerful part of LinkedIn – having someone “recommend” your LinkedIn profile is akin to a reference – and the more you get – the more your profile starts to get the glow of success.
LinkedIn now has an update feature. However, don’t listen to those counseling to update too regularly. You don’t want your site to flood with information – an update once a week should suffice – but the important thing is that these updates now show that you are an active person in the workplace and only serve to enhance your resume further.