I remember when LinkedIn first started. My general opinion was this would never gain enough legs to spring around the City. Needless to say I was wrong. There is not one person I know of a senior status who doesn’t have a LinkedIn profile, however, there are so many juniors early on their careers that don’t see the benefit of a LinkedIn profile or just view it as a mechanism for posting your on line CV. So what do our seasoned professionals realise that the next generation of talent doesn’t?
LinkedIn has slowly become the defacto place to fact find about professionals. So who uses it :-
- Recruitment agents
- People looking to enhance their social network
- People looking for expertise requests
- Past colleagues looking to reconnect
So what if you are not on LinkedIn.
Then you are missing a massive opportunity. Our advice would be to invest the time and join up. It is free and is as simple as just copying and pasting your CV. How are people going to find you if there is no mechanism to contact you and they have no way of knowing your success to date?
Once I am on it, what do I do?
Raise your profile. Copy your CV and connect with individuals you respect for their professional integrity. Remember, once you accept an invitation from LinkedIn you cannot then drop them at a later date – you are connected for lifetime of your profile – so think carefully about who you connect with. If you chose to ignore an invite the recipient receives no notification back that that is what you have done, so no harm done. There is no poking or writing on walls like there is in Facebook. Although its fairly well hidden, there is a way to remove accepted connections, see comment from one of our readers below.
Connect with your senior network. Think about your circle of association. If you are working with senior individuals within your firm, ask to connect with them.
The Do’s and Don’ts of LinkedIn
- Treat your LinkedIn connections like your front door – would you let someone in if you didn’t know them?
- Apply the same thinking to who you approach via LinkedIn. If they don’t know you, they are unlikely to connect with you – don’t be offended, people in the know protect their LinkedIn profile like they would their own professional reputation.
- If you meet someone at a forum or through work and you feel that connecting would be worthwhile, ask them if they would mind connecting with you via LinkedIn and then send them the invite the next day.
- Keep your profile fresh – update it periodically, more often that you would your CV. Try to aim for a 95% completion of your profile, a photo is always a good idea and make sure it’s a professional shot, not one where you are out with friends.
- Bang your own drum in your profile – a bit like your CV, this is your chance to publicise yourself and your past/current success.
- Sign up for updates – keep abreast of what your contacts are doing within their careers. If someone gets promoted or achieves something of significance, drop them a comment – keeping in touch is key – it’s not just about the connection, its keeping the connective alive.
- LinkedIn is fantastic for hearing about job opportunities as well, as people tend to advertise to their networks direct. If you are hiring, this is great way to avoid agency fees. Post your roles out to your network.
- Connect with your senior network. Think about your circle of association. If you are working with senior individuals within your firm, ask to connect with them. Remember, people who view your profile are very interested in who are connected with.
- Use the update feature to let your network know what you are doing. This feature is a little like twittering (and can be connected directly to your Twitter account if you have one). Whatever you post as an update will be distributed to your entire network as part of a weekly or daily bulletin should they have that option selected? Remember, always keep it professional. No one is interested if you are washing your hair or out drinking with friends!
- Join groups – if you are interested in certain forums or industry specific groups, search via groups and request to join. This will connect you to groups of other link minded individuals and enable to you take part in one line discussions and forums.
- Connect with your previous employers Alumni. Most firms have Alumni groups that allow past employees to keep in touch.
- Always create your unique web address. This is an option in LinkedIn and will help head hunters and recruiters find you. This also provides you with your own professional personalised website.
- Recommendations, Recommendations, Recommendations – there is power in the written word. Once you are connected to individuals, you can ask them to recommend you. The polite thing to do is to then recommend them back and LinkedIn provides you with a mechanism to do so. Recommendations speak volumes when people are trying to find out about you, so don’t be afraid to ask to be recommended. Recommendations have to be authorised by you before they are published on your profile. It you don’t like what’s been said – don’t publish it.
To add yourself to LinkedIn, visit www.linkedin.com
The WeAreTheCity LinkedIn group is also available for you to join here