Still MORE awesome LinkedIn tips

So many profiles, so little time.

So many profiles, so little time.

The final in our three-part series on LinkedIn

When I started researching for this blog series on LinkedIn, I wasn’t expecting to uncover quite so much useful stuff… but here we are on blog post three! (This is also the final one in the series.) I have a lot to share today, and since the Blogging Gods command that we keep posts relatively short, let’s get started without further ado. Enjoy these tidbits to get the most out of your LinkedIn experience…

Resist the urge to sell, sell, sell. Seriously. LinkedIn is a sharing, connective kind of place. But since it’s business, it’s hard for some (you know who you are) to resist the compulsion to start peddling. Once in a great while—few and far between—it’s OK to make a pitch. But FAR more often, you should share great info and links your colleagues can use and connect with people that make sense. There’s a certain unsaid ethical standard that’s built up around LinkedIn. Honor it.

Don’t be a default connector. There are a few ways to connect with people on LinkedIn. You’ve probably used them all. But most people find a person’s profile, then hit the connect button. A menu pops up with this default message:

I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn

Remember what we said 10 seconds ago about it being a connective site?!? Whenever you can, make your message personal. It sets the right tone, right off the bat. Compare the computer-driven “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn” to…

Hello, Mike. It was great meeting you and your team at the tradeshow on Monday.
Care to join my LinkedIn network?

A recent development from LinkedIn is a photo grid page, where you see a slew of first and second connections to possibly link with. The trouble is, if you send them an invitation from that page, LinkedIn generates an automatic default message you can’t control. Again, not very personable.

Instead, jot down the name, find their profile, and send a personal message to connect with them. (A slightly scary footnote… if you send out too many invitations that are ignored by recipients, LinkedIn has the right to suspend your account.)

Take a profile picture, please. A profile without a photo just doesn’t look complete… and comes across as a half-hearted effort. People like seeing a face with a profile and background. Also, there are potentially a lot of people who share the same name with you on LinkedIn (there are 200 million of us after all). If someone met you and wants to connect, your profile picture assures them they found the right person. A lot of folks are getting professional shots done, which can be a nice touch, but it isn’t completely necessary. A good clear shot will do the trick just fine.

Try the advanced search sometime… it’s pretty powerful. When searching in LinkedIn, most of us just use the search bar at the top of the page. But next to it is “advanced search,” which lets you drill down by a number of criteria…

LinkedIn3

I’ve been using this more and more, and it’s incredibly helpful at times.

The site’s free analytics can tell you a lot. On the right side of page, there’s a ton of information—much of which I ignored for a fair amount of my LinkedIn life. Now, I look there all the time. Besides seeing who has viewed your profile, you can also check out how many people have viewed your posts, how many are in your network, and more. It’s an interesting snapshot of how hard your profile is working for you.

Be ruthless in choosing groups to join. I belong to a number of groups, and I get email notifications on the discussions happening in them. Some groups are just a lot of gossip, chatter, or industry drivel. But others offer some marvelous resources and insight. The moral: Don’t join just to join, make sure it’s fruitful, and participate!

LinkedIn is trying to be rich media. It really is. As of today, the site allows you to add SlideShare shows, images, and video to your profile. But it’s a little clunky to use and doesn’t give you a lot of control, so it might be best to wait for a later version. However, it’s worth keeping an eye on… it could potentially make profiles very dynamic.

You can edit your endorsements, you know. LinkedIn added this feature a year or so ago, I think. With the click of a button, it gives people the chance to “endorse” you for a skill. There’s been some controversy over this feature—sometimes people get endorsed for skills they don’t have or care about. But, you’re in control! When you edit your profile page, scroll down to “Skills and Expertise,” and hit the edit button on the right. From there, you can add or remove skills and even manage your endorsements (including removing specific endorsers). Although it’s nice to be endorsed by someone, a page chock full of meaningless endorsements won’t impress anyone. Be judicious with it.

As with any great site, LinkedIn has a lot to explore and use. I’ve only shared the proverbial tip of the networking iceberg, even across three blog posts. Be sure to investigate for yourself, and let me know if you find anything cool. Investing even a little time could pay dividends for your career.

– Andy Badalamenti is the creative director for CI-Group

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