My Linkedin is dust free. Now what?

It’s encouraging to see that after my last blog post about Linkedin, I received 6 new connection requests and saw many people updating their profiles!

So…now what?

Well, when you first start out, Linkedin isn’t like the other social networking tools. There aren’t normally continuous updates and “things” you can do on it. A lot of it is updating it when necessary, looking for new people to connect with, and keeping an eye on what your connections are up to. Here are some things you can do to increase your visibility and usage of Linkedin:

  • Join some professional groups. Whether you’re an engineer, scientist, in marketing or in customer service, there is most likely a group out there that you can join. This is a great way of networking with professionals in similar fields and with similar interests. It is also a good way to find new people to network and connect with. You may reach out to someone you don’t know at all, but because you are part of the same group, you can send an invitation to connect with them.
  • Follow companies. In the search bar on the top right, the default drop down is probably “People”. Select it and choose “Companies”. Search for the company you’re interested in and on their company profile page are able to “follow” it. This enables you to see any updates the company makes such as news and job postings.
  • Post interesting articles you find about your field of work or field of interest. If person A (whom you are connected with) likes or comments on the article, all of person A’s connections may see it, even if they aren’t directly connected with you.
  • Comment on or “like” an article or update that someone else posts on. The updates feed on Linkedin shows who commented on/liked certain things and basically refreshes your name on someone’s updates feed. If you commented on person A’s profile, all of person A’s connections could see your name and that you commented on something.

Some tips to note:

  • Connecting with people you don’t know can be risky. If you connect with someone who doesn’t know you, or may not remember you, they can choose to click on “I don’t know” or “spam” response.  If that happens to you too many times, your profile may become restricted or suspended. A good way to avoid this is to either not request a connection from someone you don’t know, or, to have a good reason for connecting with them. Let’s face it, connecting with people you don’t personally know is very useful in networking. In the “Include a personal note” field, include a personal note! Don’t use the generic default text because that isn’t the best way to get someone’s attention. Speaking from personal experience, someone who I don’t know, who has taken the time to connect with me and tell me why will get more attention than someone who just used the generic text.
  • On the right side of the toolbar, there is a box labeled “Who’s viewed your profile?”. This is a neat way to see who has been looking at your profile. On the same token, if you have been stalking other peoples’ profiles, it’s likely that they can see you’ve looked at them. If you’d like to research people and look at profiles under the radar, go to your settings and change what people will see when you’ve viewed their profiles. NOTE: This will disable the ability for you to see who has viewed your profile.

There are many more things that can be done on Linkedin. Hopefully this will give you some good tools to get yourself out there and networking!

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Dust off that LinkedIn Profile

I finished my job a little over a week ago, and since then have been filling my time with errands and packing. It’s amazing how much stuff we accumulate in such short periods of time. I have also been doing some job hunting in the UK. I didn’t think I’d be looking for a new job so soon, and definitely not in another country. Looking internationally definitely has its challenges. First of all, they use CVs there, not resumes. CVs are normally longer than 1 page (which is how long most resumes should be…exceptions – subject matter experts, people who are published and senior level execs). They normally have information such as: marital status, gender, birthday and visa status – all the types of things you should not put on a resume in the US.

One tool I have continually used in my job hunts is LinkedIn. If you don’t have one, start one. If you don’t keep yours up-to-date, do it. Whether you’re in college, a new graduate or advanced in your professional career, it can be a very useful tool. It may not seem like it at first, because you’re just adding your friends from school or church, but over time, as you gain more work experience and connect with people at work, you can build a strong network for yourself.

On LinkedIn, you can see the profiles of people who are 3 degrees away from you. For example, if you and I are connected on LinkedIn, you would be able to see all of my connections, and all of my connections’ connections. How is this useful? Well, if you’re interested in a job in the high-tech industry you may be connected to someone in the high-tech industry. If you search your connections, you could potentially have someone who can refer you to a certain company. If you’re still figuring out the type of career you want, search for people in that career and see what their work experience is like, and which companies they worked at to gain their experience. If you find someone who you think could give you good insights, message them and ask for an informational interview.

Aside from being a great networking tool, recruiters use LinkedIn to look for candidates for their jobs. People who apply to job postings get their applications looked at. But a lot of the time, the best candidates are the ones who aren’t actively looking. Recruiters can, and will, use LinkedIn (in addition to other tools) to network and look for candidates.

“Networking is key in 2011,” said Evren Esen, manager, survey research center at SHRM. “HR professionals recommend recent graduates and those soon to graduate utilize their university career center programs and official graduate recruiting channels. In addition, joining a membership association in the field graduates want to enter can help in the form of networking and mentoring opportunities.” (World at Work)

I’m hoping that my own professional network pulls through in the UK…but regardless, get out there and start networking!