5 Tips To Get Your Online Network Moving Using LinkedIn:
Do you sometimes dread that awkward entrance into a reception full of unknown professionals?
No doubt, the hob-knobbing at the local happy hour event is important for your career, but socially engaging online is equally important. So, on those nights when you are not partaking in martini-induced networking, use these tips to build career advancing relationships on LinkedIn.
1) Get searchable. LinkedIn is great for connecting with your professional network. There are many ways to allow for colleagues, potential employers, clients and potential clients to find you. The best thing you can do is to make sure your profile is filled with keywords appropriate for your areas of expertise. For example, make sure you have a strong headline, and detailed job descriptions with phrases and keywords that tell people quickly what you do. LinkedIn also has a “skills” keyword section, which can enhance how recruiters and people outside your direct network find you.
2) Hungry? More and more apps for LinkedIn are popping up. A new goodie, LunchMeet, allows you to manage a calendar and show spaces that you have available for meetings and then search others’ calendars to see who can meet you for lunch or coffee. Instead of sitting at your desk getting crumbs on your keyboard, you can take a breath of fresh air to clear your head and meet someone new and potentially beneficial to your career (and you to theirs…because that’s how it works right?) Other apps allow you to visually showcase your project portfolio on your profile, or let people know what events you are attending and more.
3) Clean it up once a week! More and more people are introducing people via LinkedIn. Example: The other day, my friend gave me an email intro and put a link to my profile in parenthesis after my name. What this means is — it is crucial that your profile is updated, accurate and interesting to new contacts and biz development/career prospects. You can change the format of the page so that your recommendations are before your experiences, or so your key skills are first, etc. Also, you may want to keep your LinkedIn profile more general and broad so that you can then elaborate and have the option of which relevant experiences to site in your resume or bio.
4) Get engaged. Having a profile does not help, unless you use it! Follow companies, join groups, add commentary, and provide status updates. Getting involved in conversations will help you grow your network, meet new people and also allow others to take notice of you. By providing regular updates (which you can also link to your twitter handle), you stay top of mind with friends, contacts and possible new opportunities. Do you want to showcase your expertise? Use LinkedIn Answers to give advice and answer other LinkedIn users’ questions.
5) Find your “in”. If you are looking for a new opportunity or want to partner with X company, use your network to see who works there. You can search through your connections to see who is affiliated with that organization and then contact them to help make an introduction. This is also a great way to get information about a potential job, partnership or opportunity.
As the saying goes, the more you give the more you get back. If you want to get the most out of networking online, you’ve got to jump in and participate. If you ask for recommendations, give recommendations! If you want people to connect with you and send you opportunities, make sure people can find you, and share opportunities with others. So, on your nights off from cocktails and face-to-face interactions, keep the networking going!