Being able to use Linkedin effectively for networking and building your brand is a critical skill to further your career in today’s market. Of the most widely recognized social media platforms, LinkedIn is arguably the most utilitarian. Most of the people who use Linkedin have a primarily business purpose behind their presence within the platform, and updates about what they had for dinner are noticeably absent.
Akin to a “digital Rolodex,” the demographics skew differently, and the “universe” of those online is more narrowly defined. That said, there are amazing things you can do by understanding how to leverage your time on LinkedIn. Below are five basic tips on how you can use Linkedin effectively to do research, network, and build your reputation
1. Researching a company: If Hoover’s has built a reputation for delivering a cross-section of any given company’s history and overall health, then LinkedIn can give you a drilled-down perspective of the people who work there, the gist of their company culture and the overall trends for which it holds influence—in real time. This is because most companies now require their employees (especially C suite or management) to maintain a social media profile on LinkedIn. Therefore Linkedin is a great place for you to do research about a company you may want to work for or interview with. You may even be surprised to find that someone you know (one of your Linkedin connection) works there and therefore can reach out to her to get the inside scoop on the company
2. Staying abreast of industry news and developments. Linkedin is an amazing resource for many reasons. Instead of a monthly or quarterly trade journal, through LinkedIn you have instantaneous, 24/7/365 information accessible to you. This gives you an opportunity to see who’s making news and why. Having access to these trendsetters is as easy as clicking through to their profile. By seeing if you have any common “links,” you can either introduce yourself or ask to be connected.
3. Finding a job or changing careers. If you are ready to move on from your current position, having the ability to reach out via LinkedIn to former colleagues, classmates, and friends is priceless. Depending on how well you know your network, you can send out emails requesting information, referrals, or even recommendations for positions that may suit your needs and preferences. It’s like a Rolodex on steroids. Don’t send mass emails. To get the best result, send individual, tailored communications to ask for advice or help. Also expect some to not respond. Don’t take this personally. People are busy. Just like baseball where a 0.333 batting average is awesome, if you even get response to 1/3 of your request, you are doing pretty well. So spread your net wide and be as specific as possible about what you want help on when you reach out to each contact to get the best result.
4. Network through Linkedin groups and Q&A. Groups are an invaluable way to grow your sphere of influence, based on a common interest or shared experience (e.g. college affiliations or memberships). By contributing to discussions in groups and asking or answering questions on Linkedin, you can expand your network effectively based on common interests as well as build your reputation in your area of expertise. Career success depends much on who you know in addition to what you know.
5. Publicize your expertise. According to this Forbes article – How to Power Your Professional Networking Through LinkedIn, traditional “jobs” won’t exist in about eight years. Instead, each of us will become a highly specialized “brand centric” individual who maximizes his or her impact via the community or network (s)he builds. By building, nurturing and developing a name and reputation as an expert or trusted solution provider, you will be able to enhance your career and income potential. One of the easiest ways of promoting your LinkedIn profile is to include a link to your page within your email signature.
By learning these five basic tips on how to use LinkedIn to network effectively, you will expand your area of influence, add to your base of connections and ultimately have a greater chance of boosting your career prospects.
Your Comments: What are some other ways you have used Linkedin effectively for your career? Pls share your comments and questions below.
Guest Author: Mandy Fricke works in community relations for Earn MBA Degree, which helps you explore MBA degrees.
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