How to make the most of LinkedIn

LinkedIn is most easily described as the Facebook of the professional world. For a long time, I didn’t really get it, but after using it for nearly 2 years now I’m finding it’s a really great way to network and find jobs. Even though I’m not on the job hunt right now, I’m always looking for my next move, and LinkedIn provides a peek at what’s out there.

My actual LinkedIn profile!

DO:

Post a photo. As is true of any profile on the internet, you get more views with a picture. A nice headshot is perfect. It doesn’t have to be professional, but when selecting a photo don’t choose one with anyone else in the photo or one where you are inappropriately dressed (ie. bikini-clad at the beach) or where you are engaged in questionable behavior (ie. keg stands).

Keep your profile updated and truthful. I do a huge private eyeroll when a I see a LinkedIn profile of someone I know listing an employer they no longer work for or exaggerating their role at a company. Remember that your LinkedIn profile is public, and you don’t want uncomfortable questions at a job interview after a prospective employer has Googled you.

Showcase your best. Did you flip burgers for McDonald’s in high school 10 years ago? No one cares, leave it off your LinkedIn profile. Like your real resume, your profile should showcase your most recent and relevant work experience, not every ¬†brush with employment you’ve ever had. Even though I put in years at restaurants, retail and childcare, I leave these items off my LinkedIn work history because they have nothing to do with where I want to take my career in the future.

DON’T:

Friend everyone you’ve ever met (or haven’t met). While I might call LinkedIn the Facebook of the professional world, it’s still not the actual Facebook so don’t go ahead adding everyone and their dog. I try to limit my connections to people I have actually worked or volunteered with. Consequently, I don’t have a lot of connections but the ones I do are reliable references whom I also endorse.

Update daily. If you’re chatty, keep it to your twitter/facebook/blog, not LinkedIn updates. I’m already annoyed that the site lets me know “these 20 friends have new connections”. Too much irrelevant detail!

Underestimate the opportunity. I’ve received 2 job offers via LinkedIn in the past year. Both of them I declined, but it’s nice knowing there’s other things out there. It’s probably not true that jobs will just fall into your lap if you make a nice LinkedIn profile, but hey, it’s not going to hurt you.

Do you use LinkedIn? What’s your experience?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Comments

  1. I use Linkedin, but not as much as I should. However, I do always make sure it is updated and current.

  2. I use it, but not as much as I should. Whenever I meet someone new (professionally) I try to connect with them within a few days. It can be a great tool, if used right.

  3. I use it as well, but like the others not as much as I should :D They recently changed the interface, I like it more now. As a company they’ve done well because their business model is more solid than Facebook and they don’t rely as heavily on advertising, Which is probably why Linkedin shares have been going up since their IPO :0) No talk yet of a dividend though.

  4. I use it, but like the others I often forget about it and don’t update it as often as I should, it’s hard to remember to use it when I’m comfy in my full time job.

    • Agreed! I don’t think I even added anything relevant to my LinkedIn profile until I was already employed full-time where I am. I still haven’t really filled in my job descriptions. At least now it will only need minor tweaking from here on out to keep it current!

  5. I use my linked in and keep it updated. However, I do much better networking face to face. Most of the people in my linked in I have met personally. Actually,99%. I don’t like accepting people I don’t know.

    • Agreed! The only exception is bloggers. ie. I’m connected to Andrea from Nuts & Bolts/So Over It because I hire her for a lot of help with the blog, but I’ve never met her offline. I’ve harassed her countless times on GChat though so I feel like that counts.

  6. It looks like you only have blogging stuff on this profile… Do you have separate profiles for your separate career tracks?? I basically have everything science-related on mine because I think of it as an enhanced online resume but I’m not sure where to fit blogging in since it’s unrelated to that career track. I guess I’m asking is the profile about ME or is it about presenting a tailored resume for possible employers?

    • I think my blogging experience just came up first because it’s the most recent, but you’ll see under “current” it actually lists 3 employers. On my actual profile if you scroll down you’ll see my full-time offline job + 2 past employers.

      I also keep blogging at the forefront because it’s online and LinkedIn is my online resume.. if people are searching for me online they’re probably looking for the blogging me and not the office me ;)

      Honestly for a very long time I didn’t list my blogging or writing at all. It wasn’t until I was making >$500 month as a freelance writer and blogger that I felt legitimate putting my blog on my profile. I know I shouldn’t be judgemental about my own niche but I just feel like blogging is a frivolous hobby for most people and putting it on your LinkedIn or resume when it’s not a legitimate income stream will probably hurt you more than it will help you.
      But like I said, I’m a bit judgy =\

  7. I need to get on this!! My stupid fear of online privacy has prevented me from it…

    • I’ve just accepted that I have an online identity and it’s better to be in control of it than otherwise =\

      I don’t like having everything out there but at this point I feel like I don’t have much of a choice. If I want to continue to get opportunities as a writer, I have to have a name and I have to be easy to find. I think using my real name is the only reason I’ve had opportunities like magazine interviews, etc.

      I am VERY easy to find on the internet and probably ultimately have little privacy, but if I control what’s public then I feel a lot better about it.

  8. I use it, but am firmly in the no pic camp. I’m pretty young for where I am professionally in my field, and it doesn’t help that I look younger than I am, too. So walking into a room of 50+ year old men and keeping up professionally looks more impressive the first time when they don’t have you pre-judged as a child.

  9. iheartbudgets says:

    This is super relavant, as I was just chatting with my carpool buddy about how I haven’t created a linked in, and haven’t update my resume in over a year. I think I’ve gotten TOO comfortable in my position, though I know I’m being 10-15K under market rate. Time to brush up. Also, I need a good headshot, because in most pictures, i’m making a weird face (on purpose), LoL.

  10. I do use LinkedIn and I have received a couple of job opportunities as a result of it so I guess it was worthwhile to set it up lol.

  11. I think it’s crazy when people don’t have Linkedin because honestly you know all employers these days google you! Good tips. I think I might change my title of “blogger” to “owner, author” for my blog on linkedin now. It just looks so nice on yours!

  12. I’m not on Linked In but the wife has one and yes it is the Facebook of the professionals. It’s a great networking tool she says as well to get great referrals for new jobs.

  13. I’ve never used linkedin too much, but now that I’m getting ready to start looking for other opportunities I thought I’d give it a shot. Hopefully it helps!

  14. Great profile photo. I totally agree about having a good photo and not some random bar pic.

  15. Thanks for the reminder to update my profile with my recent position change in my company! :)

  16. It’s funny that when linked in first started I thought it was going to tank and be a total waste of time, but I’ve actually gotten one job interview from it. I recently cleaned mine up. I think it’s a good idea to keep social media ties, like twitter off of linked.

  17. I don’t yet have my blog on my linkedin profile, but maybe next year.

  18. I don’t used LinkedIn nearly as much as Facebook, but I do find it useful for professional purposes. And I completely agree that Facebook/Twitter are the places for frequent and fun updates, NOT LinkedIn. Also, I am SO sick of getting random LinkedIn connection requests almost daily! It is terrible etiquette to send someone a request to connect on LinkedIn without at least a message attached explaining who you are and why you should connect (unless of course it is someone that you know 100% for sure that they know you and will want to connect based on just that).

  19. That’s a hot pic!

  20. Can more people Please take your point about not updating all the time to heart! I also wish there was a way to have less than weekly digests for groups. It’s only daily, weekly or never, so I end up deleting them all the time because they’re so frequent.

Leave a Reply