Everybody’s talking about LinkedIn these days. And a lot of them are asking questions.
How many people does it take in your Network to start paying off?
What’s it really good for?
Did anyone ever get anything out of it?
Who do you connect with?
Who do you avoid?
Most of all, how can I make LinkedIn work for me?
I will get to all of these questions, but first, let’s avoid a few pitfalls. Larry Braman from Global Career Consulting gave me a lot of great advice about getting started with LinkedIn that I would love to pass along!
- Get your LinkedIn Profile up to 100% completeness. Your Profile will take a lot of tweaking, you’re not finished yet, but don’t let it sit there looking unfinished. The very first people who find you should be able to get an idea of who you are.
- Turn off your Activity Broadcasts (temporarily). While you are doing that tweaking we talked about, you don’t want your connections to see every time you put in a comma. When you think you’re finished, turn Activity Broadcasts back on, since then it will show when you land a new job, volunteer at a new organization or get a new endorsement!
- Enter your Experience manually. If you let LinkedIn enter the information for you, it will not look the way you want. Take the time to do this yourself.
- When LinkedIn asks if you would like to send invitations to all of your Contacts, say NO. First of all, you don’t want to send the same generic invitation to everyone. Second of all, you don’t even want to connect with everyone in your email Contacts (we will get to this later, too). Third of all, and most important, you can’t ask everyone again later, when you figure out how to do this, without looking like an idiot.
LinkedIn is great for finding people you already know, but you don’t know what they do: other parents from school might work at one of your target companies; people who attend church with you might be looking to hire, you never know.
Most of all, though, LinkedIn, like your resume, is telling your story. What you do, your job responsibilities, your achievements, your education, what is important to you. It is a place for people to find things they have in common and ways to help each other.
Next time: What do I do now?
Wendy Stackhouse, for Artisan Creative