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Heres How to Power Up Your LinkedIn Network



Published February 10, 2012
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Using LinkedIn is now considered a standard way for professionals to make sure that they are discovered when it comes to job hunting. Recruiters and employers check it all the time for highly qualified people. Like a resumé, however, you do not want to simply use LinkedIn in the same way that everyone else does, or make the mistake in thinking that you will be seen just because you have a LinkedIn page.

There are some powerful ways to make sure that you get noticed on LinkedIn, but it will take some work. Here are some things that you want to do on your LinkedIn page to ensure you take full advantage—and have many people finding you— through the use of this great tool.

Take Advantage of It

Instead of simply filling in the LinkedIn pages quickly, consider it a marketing piece about you that must be professionally done. Use each page and seek to get the best mileage from it by giving them the attention and professionalism needed for maximum benefit to the next stage of your career.

Choose a professional headline that describes what you do. Promote what you do—and not just your name or title—to as many people as possible. It’s a great personal branding opportunity. The headline will be displayed each time they search for you, and it will also reveal what you do in language designed to attract.

Fill in the whole profile. Remember that the more information that you have posted about you, the more likely it will be that people can find you through searches. You do not want to leave blanks, but you do want to write your words as a well-written marketing piece about you, your talents and experience, and what services you are offering.

Get a professional recent picture. If you do not have one, potential bosses are going to wonder what you’ve got to hide. On the other hand, if you are professional then you already know you should have one—and one that is recent, too. If you are applying for a job, then you will probably need to meet face-to-face anyway; it’s good to let people see who you are before you meet, as it makes for a friendlier first introduction.

Take advantage of the Status Update. Just how you use this option will vary from one person to the next, but you still will want to use it to maximum advantage. You might use it to show your current projects, new certificates you are working on earning, to direct people to a recent blog post, or to announce something new—it should be something still of interest to those who might want to contact you about a job.

Enhance Your Pages

Take each page to the next step, making it easier for the search engines to find you—by using key words about what you do. These tips will help more people find you. Use search engine optimization (SEO) throughout your LinkedIn pages. People are going to find you while searching by using keywords. Take full advantage of this and give them plenty to find. Don’t overuse them, but you may want to be sure that you have important keywords in there related to what you do—or want to do. In order to be found even easier, be sure to take advantage of the summary section and use as much of the space permitted as possible—up to 2,000 characters.

Make New Contacts

One of the most powerful features of LinkedIn is the contacts that you can obtain through it. You do not want this feature to go unused as you search for a new job or for business clients. Keep expanding your list of contacts. If you do not have much of a list, said Susan Adams in a blog post for Forbes.com, the result of your searches may not be able to produce the kind of results you want. The more people you are connected to, the better results that you can expect and possibly the more doors there could be open to you.

Another very good reason to keep on making new contacts at LinkedIn is because it may reveal more than you want to reveal to a potential recruiter or employer.

“If someone has 20-50+ connections then I know they probably check LinkedIn at least once a week,” observed Greg Koutsis, corporate and international channel recruiter, Aplicor LLC. “If someone has 1-19 then I realize they probably either haven’t begun to pop the hood and look inside or gotten past the initial threshold of their friends, family and past colleagues. They might be a great prospect for me to reach out to but this might not be the best use of my time. This combined with the profile they have listed lets me realize quickly if I am wasting my time with someone who has no interest or trust in LinkedIn.”

Help others with their needs when you get the opportunity. Every now and then people might mention a new company looking to hire, or they might post or comment on something that you posted. Be sure to thank them and you will find that it is apt to keep the information flowing—which is what you want, said Lindsey Pollak in an article for LinkedIn.

When looking to discover how people were able to find new business through LinkedIn and write an article about it, LinkedIn and Cisco Webex contacted Ian Brodie, who is considered to be a LinkedIn expert. There were 256 responses to the survey. The largest number of answers indicated that the most new business was gained through making new connections. Right behind that, however, was the response that business was gained through reconnecting with old contacts. Obviously, making connections—new and old—is the key to using LinkedIn to the best advantage. Another interesting thing discovered in the survey was that most men made new connections, and most of the women reconnected with old ones.

Be Proactive

Find a LinkedIn Group to join and become active in it. There are many groups in LinkedIn and these provide information and help for others. It can also build your personal brand, according Ian Brodie, a LinkedIn expert who has his own website. It will also establish you as an expert if you post often.
Others will see your posts and may contact you for business.

Look up companies by name. Lindsey Pollak, writing on LinkedIn’s blog, encourages you to look up every company that you might be interested in working for one day. This will give you a list of people who work there—possibly giving you the edge you need to get the job you want. However, Pollak warns you must know the person on LinkedIn, or know someone who knows them before you can make any contact.

Some other things that will also add considerable value to your brand include:
• Obtaining a personalized URL
• Allow incoming mail
• Add Webpage links with good descriptions
• Get some recommendations from others posted on your page.

Finally, stay on top of new ways to use LinkedIn. Social media is constantly changing, as well as the tools that each social media website such as LinkedIn has to offer. Professionals continue to write about new ways, or better ways, to take advantage of websites. You do not want to be found using a method that was popular three years ago when no one uses that method today.

Resources:
Expert Tips For Using LinkedIn.
http://www.forbes.com/2010/07/07/linkedin-advanced-tips-jobs-hiring-leadership-careers-networking.html

LinkedIn Profile Tips: The 10 Mistakes You Want to Avoid and Why.
http://windmillnetworking.om/2009/08/11/linkedin-profile-tips-the-10-mistakes-you-want-to-avoid-and-why/

What Do You Use Your LinkedIn Status Update For?
http://windmillnetworking.com/2009/04/06/what-do-you-use-your-status-update-for/

5 Ways to Make the Most of LinkedIn.
http://blog.linkedin.com/2010/10/18/5- linkedin-tips/

How to Use Linkedin to win new business: poll results.
http://www.ianbrodie.com/strategy/linkedin-win-new-business-poll/

Eight Tips to Building a Better LinkedIn Profile.
http://www.financial-planning.com/news/linkedin-social-media--2672100-1.html

Patrick B. Ropella
Chairman & CEO, Ropella
Tel: (850) 983-4777
Web:
www.Ropella.com
Patrick B. Ropella is Chairman & CEO of Ropella, theleading executive search and consulting firm specializingin the chemical and consumer products industries.Ropella grows great companies through executivesearch, leadership transformation and organizationalimprovement.

His new book, The Right Hire - How to Master theArt of SMART Talent Management, is available at
www.Ropella.com/therighthire


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