LinkedIn is one of those social networking platforms that many people underestimate. While numerous seasoned professionals have tapped in to the platform’s networking power and professional potential, many newbie “real world-ers” (those who really need it) just don’t understand how important their LinkedIn network can be to their professional success. It’s no new news that unemployment rates are high, jobs are scarce, and fresh college graduates are suffering. These facts are certainly apparent and endlessly disheartening. However, there are tools available that many recent grads and young professionals just aren’t considering thoroughly enough. With around 147 million registered users as of January 2012, LinkedIn has become the largest professional network online. Providing connections in major areas of industry including hi-tech business, finance, manufacturing, and academics, LinkedIn has the potential to become a major job resource for young professionals if they know how to use it wisely. Try out these three tips to better utilize LinkedIn for your professional efforts.
Know Your Keywords
As any blogger or internet junkie can tell you, being successful online is all about being successful within the major search engines. If you want your website or blog seen, you have to rank highly in all the relevant search engines. Many don’t consider when using LinkedIn as a professional networking tool that the site relies just as heavily on search engine results as a website does. You want your LinkedIn profile to be easily searchable within the LinkedIn platform for employers and other connections. LinkedIn’s internal search engines weight the keywords you use in your profile, making it imperative that you pay close attention to the terms you use to describe your experience, expertise, and education. Consider things like your actual professional headline, the title of your professional fields, your specialties, interests, education, and the recommendations that people write for you. These areas should utilize intelligent keywords so that your profile is better seen.
The recommendations section of your LinkedIn profile is extremely important. While LinkedIn suggests a minimum of three recommendations, it’s wise to get several more. Recommendations like these are a wonderful way for potential connections to see your worth. When retrieving recommendations from people within your professional background, keep in mind that not every comment has to come from an employer or boss. Coworkers, internships heads, professional acquaintances are all valid sources for recommendations on your profile. Try to get recommendations that are thorough and specific. Comments like “she’s really nice” or “he’s a hard worker”, while flattering, are not as useful in the business world. Send a bulleted list of things your recommender can touch on or send a sample recommendation for them to follow. Getting solid recommendations for the right types of people is key to really representing yourself well online.
Help Others Out
Another important part of making strong connections with LinkedIn and really getting your profile seen is working it both ways. If you want people to give you recommendations and help you find connections and jobs, then you have to help them out as well. Respond to questions that people ask you. Offer to help others find jobs and connections that may help them. While this may sound like a fairly simple concept, you’d be surprised to see how few people go both ways on LinkedIn. Offer your expertise and knowledge to individuals that you would like to connect with or who you think you can provide guidance to.