Achieve Ultimate Impact on LinkedIn - 6 Best Practices

February 23, 2015 Corey Bainerman, MASc

With 330 million members, LinkedIn is the largest social media platform for professionals. It is also the medium I used to land with Knightsbridge. LinkedIn has become much more than a place to post a profile. It can now be used for content sharing, thought leadership, and relationship management. LinkedIn is also an impressive tool for research, and has become the leading place to post and search for jobs.

My last blog shared best practices for setting up your profile. That was the first critical step to achieving your goals using LinkedIn.

This post is about taking the impact you make on LinkedIn to the Jedi level. I want to help you increase your visibility, garner attention from recruiters, and land your dream job faster. Here are 6 steps for success:  

Add Connections

You could have the single best profile on LinkedIn, but if you don’t have any connections, nobody will ever see it. It is crucial to build your network. Shoot for at least 300 1st degree connections. Former colleagues, friends, family, and contacts in your industry are excellent places to start.  If you are considering a career change, know that 80% of jobs today are found through networking – recommendations and referrals are key.

It is imperative, however, that you are connecting with people who can speak to your accomplishments. The etiquette on LinkedIn is such that you only connect with people that you have a relationship with. Grow your high-quality network by:

  • Visiting the “people you may know” page – LinkedIn knows who you email, call and text and will suggest that you add those people to your network.  Be selective.
  • Search for individuals by name – use the search bar to find and add specific people.
  • Import contacts from your email – LinkedIn will show you who, from your email contact list, has LinkedIn.  Choose those who would make excellent LinkedIn contacts. 

Note, when adding connections: Always visit a person’s profile page, click “connect” from there, and then customize your invitation message, letting the person know why you’d like to connect. This allows for a more personal approach, increasing the likelihood that they will accept your request.

Share content

Once you have set up your profile, sharing content is the single most important action to gain exposure.

Share and post any content that is in line with your Subject Matter Expertise and relevant to your network. Bring value, always. Inform your network about the latest and greatest trends in your industry. You can also share any file from your computer to demonstrate your skills (presentations, documents, videos, etc.). These shares will show up in your connections’ activity feeds.   

This is a fantastic way to keep yourself on top of your collective network’s mind. This way, they will think of you first when opportunities arise.  But remember: only your direct connections (1st degree) will see the content you share, so boost your network first!

Participate in LinkedIn groups

Groups are where professionals in the same industry or with similar interests can start meaningful discussions, ask for advice, post jobs, and make new connections. Recruiters have been known to peruse groups for members who establish themselves as group leaders or industry experts. Many users join groups but never engage in them. Don’t just join a group, participate in it. Start with one, and interact. Add your full value. Add new connections. And share content with your groups too!

Bonus: With the free Basic user account, you cannot send a message to a 2nd or 3rd degree connection (you would have to upgrade to a paid account to do so). However, if you are in the same group as a person, you can contact them directly through the group member list. This can be used to your advantage as a workaround to LinkedIn’s parameters on the Basic user account.

Use “Pulse” to receive customized content

Wondering where to find articles to share with your network?  Well, LinkedIn has got you covered. Tailor the content that shows up in your “Pulse” (your fully customizable newsfeed within LinkedIn) so that the material you receive is 100% relevant to your interests. The content is categorized into 3 categories:

  1. Influencers – industry thought leaders. Think Richard Branson, Arianna Huffington, and Bill Gates
  2. Channels (a.k.a. Industries) – examples include Leadership, Recruiting, Finance, Tech
  3. Publishers – well known organizations and industry magazines – Forbes, Business Insider, HBR, Time

Once you have set these parameters, information from only these sources will show up in your Pulse and Activity Feed on your homepage.

Maximize your visibility using keyword repetition

There’s more going on behind the scenes with LinkedIn than meets the eye. Sophisticated algorithms impact your visibility to others, as well as your chances of being short-listed for jobs you apply for via LinkedIn.

Two questions to consider:

i. Which keywords are repeatedly showing up in the job postings that you apply for?

ii. Which words, when searched by recruiters on LinkedIn, do you want to lead to your profile showing up in their search results? 

Recruiters do searches for keyword skills (e.g., marketing, coaching, sales) to source candidates. Commit to the keywords you want to be associated with – this is part of your personal brand – and use them throughout your profile in an authentic way.

Acquire and provide recommendations

Recommendations are testimonials written by a connection, and they are more impactful than an endorsement for a skill.  Visitors to your profile – especially recruiters – like seeing what others have to say about you.

Hiring managers and people searching for new customers prefer to work with someone who is recommended by a person they know and trust. With networking and recommendations, always give twice as much as you hope to receive.

“We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit”

-Aristotle

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