LinkedIn.com is the most used online social networking website by professionals to expand their contacts and reach people from their domain interests. It is different than other social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter in its intent, because it is designed specifically for professional networking – like finding a job, connecting with experts of your domain interests rather than simply making friends or sharing media like personal photos, videos and music.
One of the most important components of LinkedIn is LinkedIn profile. A LinkedIn profile is a collection of information about a person. It includes a variety of information about them, which is used in the professional world to identify people through their talents, achievements and interests. LinkedIn profile can be used as a means to know more about professional life of a person, where he/she worked in the past, what are their educational qualifications, etc. It is used to connect with people and grow network in the professional world. In addition, a LinkedIn profile can increase one’s visibility online and can help build a professional brand for them. This is why a LinkedIn profile should be as complete and accurate as possible, and should always be in sync with your resume.
How to use LinkedIn profile?
A resume is a short description of what we are, and our achievements in the past. A resume has to be short and concise otherwise, most of the times it would get neglected from potential recruiters or customers. A LinkedIn profile however can be used to convey everything in an effective manner, without taking up too much time of viewers. We can add photos of certifications, logos of companies we worked for, quick links to access our work online, etc. that makes viewing a profile more interactive and less tiresome by reducing the amount of reading to be done (Foote, 2014). We can showcase everything through our LinkedIn profile which does not fit on our resume. It also gives us an opportunity to show our innovation capabilities by organizing the profile the way we want it to be.
How to market ourselves using LinkedIn profile?
Many people don’t realize how powerful LinkedIn really is. It is a great marketing tool for any company or individual. It can help us find valuable connections and career opportunities that are generally very hard to find. How much we benefit from these connections or listings of opportunities depend on how we market/publicize ourselves. There are certain ways through which we can market ourselves effectively (Oyedotun, 2012):
- To be careful while communicating with our LinkedIn connections. These communications become the harbinger of our image and reputation within our network and keep us in their minds and plans.
- Search and join relevant LinkedIn groups that can help us to reach our target audience.
- Participate regularly and consistently in these groups so as to be deemed active and popular among people in these groups
- Update LinkedIn Profile when appropriate and take advantage of the network update feature.
- By importing our blog’s RSS feeds, we can increase the reach of the contents of our blogs and let our network know more about us professionally. This way we can showcase our expertise to the relevant audience in an impressive manner.
- Request for professional recommendations from colleagues, co-workers and customers to demonstrate our capabilities that are acknowledged by others as well.
How to network using LinkedIn profiles?
Networking does not mean reaching out cold to strangers. We should build our network by uploading our online address book (from the email account) and connecting to people we know and trust. As we build our connections, we should customize each request with a friendly note and, if necessary, a reminder of where we met, who we met through, or what organization we have in common. LinkedIn Groups can help us form new connections. We can start with school groups and reach out to alumni. We should support our online networking with a human touch. We can set up calls, attend live events, and send snail mail notes to people we interact with on LinkedIn to maintain a more friendly connection rather than a strict professional one.
Foote, A. (2014, May 22). 5 Clever Ways To Market Yourself Visually On LinkedIn | linkedinsights. Retrieved October 18, 2014, from http://www.linkedinsights.com/5-clever-ways-to-market-yourself-visually-on-linkedin/
Oyedotun, A. (2012, June 11). Perfectly Adapt LinkedIn as Your Business Marketing Powerhouse. Retrieved October 18, 2014, from http://www.business2community.com/linkedin/perfectly-adapt-linkedin-as-your-business-marketing-powerhouse-0190515