5 Tips for Building Trusted Industry Connections on LinkedIn
I’m happy to announce that James Adams has returned with yet another great guest post for the CIK Marketing Blog! Past posts from James have included How to Market Really Boring Products and 10 Lessons to Learn from Print Newspaper Ads.
Social networking sites are great ways to keep in touch with friends and acquaintances. But sometimes the usual ones can seem a bit childish and silly, more of an entertainment site than an actual professional networking site. LinkedIn is the social networking site for those who are looking to establish professional contacts and stay in touch with peers, clients, and potential employers or financiers. It offers the networking aspect of other sites, only without the juvenile aspects of other sites. But since it is a location for professionals to network, it is vital that individuals treat their presence on LinkedIn seriously. LinkedIn is not simply a place to put your resume online. It is a reflection of yourself and your professional career. Here are five tips to make you more attractive and to stand out in this networking jungle.
1. Brand Yourself
In the professional world, everyone is competing for something. Whether it’s for a particular job, for scare financing of a venture, for an influential position, or simply for the opportunity to improve skills, it is vital that you are able to stand out in the crowd. You must sell yourself to others, and like any other product, creating a positive brand is very important. What do you want others to think about when they see you? What aspects of your life and career are you trying to highlight?
The initial information that someone will see when they visit your profile page is your summary. The summary should be treated like a resume and cover letter. Whether you’re currently searching for a job or not, it is essential that your summary be well written, accurate, and interesting. Highlight core skills and experiences in a concise manner.
2. Stress Your Previous Experience
While many people view LinkedIn as a glorified resume, it is and should be much more than that. It is true that much of the information on a resume will be found on LinkedIn, but the website allows for much greater interaction and explanation. While a traditional resume physically limits how much can be said, LinkedIn allows for nearly unlimited space to expound upon previous jobs or other experiences. You can give an in-depth description about your role at your previous jobs, familiarity with certain systems, skills that were gained or utilized, and important accomplishments that were achieved.
3. Develop Your Network
At its core, LinkedIn is meant to facilitate a network of contacts. In order to take full advantage of this, you must grow your network and maintain your connections with others. The easiest way to get started is to import contacts from your current e-mail account or by connecting with current or previous coworkers or even classmates. Focus especially on those with whom you’ve had extensive personal contact. Contacts who remember you, have worked with you, and have a good impression of you are far more valuable than those who don’t even know you. Continue adding to your LinkedIn network as you meet and interact with new people in your professional or even personal life.
It is also extremely important that you maintain your network by interacting with them. Be sure to answer any messages or invitations quickly. Not only is it courteous, but it also helps build professional relationships by being responsive to any requests, questions, or other conversations.
4. Be Active
It is easy for anyone to fill out a LinkedIn profile. In order to set yourself apart, it is necessary to be active. Joining relevant professional groups will put you into contact with people who share your interests. You can message other members of the group or get involved in conversations within the group. By establishing yourself as an active member of the group you show others that you are enthusiastic and knowledgeable and are much more likely to differentiate yourself from the crowd.
You can also create a group and invite others to join it. By being the creator of the group you establish yourself as a leader in the eyes of others. You can create a group based on your industry, own private business, or an issue or topic that you are interested in discussing.
5. Connect With Your Other Online Profiles
Most people are involved with other online ventures. Other social network sites, such as Facebook or Twitter, can easily be linked to from your LinkedIn profile and can supplement the information already on your LinkedIn site. Blogs or other relevant websites should also be listed. Your online identity may be spread out over a wide variety of places. The trick is to make all these pieces of the puzzle fit together to give a complete picture. Be sure that any linked profiles or websites are consistent with the brand that you are trying to establish and advance.
By applying these five tips, you can utilize LinkedIn to its fullest extent to distinguish yourself and to assemble many influential contacts that may be of great service to you in the future.