How to use this powerful business network to your best advantage.
Updated 19 August 2016
Chances are you’ve already signed up to LinkedIn but are you using it to its full potential?
At last count, 433 million professionals connect on LinkedIn worldwide, but it is much more than a job-seeking website.
Savvy professionals are leveraging numerous other opportunities, such as networking, generating sales leads, building their personal brand and of course, recruitment.
It all starts with a profile and, according to LinkedIn, users with complete profiles are 40 times more likely to receive different types of opportunities.
A LinkedIn profile should contain your industry and location, a short summary or introduction, your experience, a minimum of three skills and a headshot that suits your profession.
“People simply do not invest enough time in creating their profile,” says Cameron Davidson, head of talent sourcing AsiaPacific for recruitment agency Hudson.
To make the most of your profile, LinkedIn recommends having a minimum of 50 connections. And remember, quality is much more important than quantity.
Julie O’Brien, senior adviser at Queensland Treasury Corporation, uses LinkedIn to stay in touch with former colleagues.
“LinkedIn is a fantastic way to stay connected, to see where people end up and send messages without needing current work email addresses,” she points out.
O'Brien recommends building connections with people based on common professional interests, colleagues and areas of expertise.
The composition of your network is what really counts, she adds.
“There is no point in ‘collecting’ connections on LinkedIn if they add no value to what you do.”
When it comes to inviting others to connect with you, context can be very important.
If you have only met once – or not at all – add a short note to the invitation explaining the reason why you would be a valuable connection.
Not not sure how to find people? Wayne Healy, managing director of PKF Lawler in Perth, recommends using the “People You May Know” option for suggestions.
“I also search LinkedIn for someone I might have just met in a meeting or at a function,” he says.
With the basics in place, the next step is to leverage LinkedIn to start building your personal brand.
“The more active your are on LinkedIn, the more engaged your network is going to be and the more front of mind you become,” Davidson says.
LinkedIn’s publishing platform is also ideal for those who want to share opinions on professional topics.
“It has flipped blogging on its head by giving you an audience to blog to rather than endlessly trying to attract followers,” Davidson adds.
However, for those who may be less creativity inclined, you can still share knowledge and join a conversation.
For example, O’Brien proactively searches for information on workplace motivation, leadership insights, and regularly shares updates.
“Being an active CPA, it is also a good way to highlight upcoming events to my network,” she says.
You can also follow “Influencers” and companies and participate in groups.
“The activity I find most satisfying with LinkedIn is to making comments about what is going on in our business or my own professional world,” Healy says.
This article is from the October 2014 issue of INTHEBLACK.