LinkedIn can be a very effective tool for job searches, networking and business development. Some people are afraid of LinkedIn, feeling as though it’s a glimpse into their private lives, like Facebook. To me Facebook is personal - things I want to share with friends, but not really the world. LinkedIn on the other hand is a great way to show off your experience, skills and network to the world. It’s not just your online resume. It’s the business image you want to project.
Here are four tips on how to help get the exposure you want out of LinkedIn:
Use Key Words to be Found. LinkedIn is a great way for people to find what they are looking for in the business world. I need a good commercial lender, so I’ll search LinkedIn. If you add keywords to your profile you will be able to draw more attention to yourself, and show up in more search results. Someone in the commercial lending world can list their title, company, describe what they do, but then add key words like mortgage, commercial, loans, equity and appraisal. When someone looking for a commercial lender searches those words, that guy is the commercial lender who will show up in search results.
It’s all about the connections. To grow your business, or to obtain a new job, you need to network. Some people hate the networking aspect of business, but it’s necessary - and LinkedIn is the easiest way to do so. You can upload your address book to LinkedIn, and it will prompt you to connect with everyone you know in the business world. But in LinkedIn, your network isn’t just the people you know – it’s your second connections and third connections. If a friend of a friend is looking for a plumber, you are going to pop up as a second connection on the search. Your next business deal can come from a friend of a friend, so connect to everyone you know. Grow your connections, build you network, and you will build your business.
Join groups. LinkedIn groups are a great way to network with your peers, potential customers, and potential employers. I am a member of about 50 groups, which is the maximum you join, but I have the ability to get in front of a lot of people that way. When I have a new job that I’m working on for an Environmental Scientist I can post it in an Environmental-based group (under the “jobs” tab), and people looking for jobs in that field have a better chance of finding me. If you’re looking for a job, keep your eye out under “jobs” and “job discussions” in your groups.
Add your email address. In the world of oversharing that has led to a world of privacy, I know some of you may cringe at the notion – but make your e-mail address visible to everyone. It’s the easiest way to connect on LinkedIn. The whole idea is to grow your network; the best way to do that is for people to be able to add you as a connection. LinkedIn does not encourage you to connect with people you don’t know, and they sometimes require and e-mail address just to REQUEST that someone join your network. But what about that Commercial lender you needed before? If you find him, and he (or she) has his email address on their page, it makes it much easier for you to connect. Likewise, it makes it easier for people to connect with you. Believe it or not, you don’t get a ton of spam by adding your email address to LinkedIn. It’s a great way to add connections.
I use LinkedIn on a daily basis; I suggest you do so as well – especially if you are searching for a job.
The Job Blogger - Matt Bergin – is a local recruiter with Liberty Personnel.