Posted by: brandextenders | January 22, 2013

You Too Can Connect with Albert Einstein on LinkedIn

If you were on LinkedIn last April 1 you may have seen some odd names in the “People you may know” section. Among them were

You can connect with Grouch & Albert

You can connect with Grouch & Albert

Robin Hood (Activist/Chief Fundraiser at Nottingham), Albert Einstein (E=mc2) and Groucho Marx (Comedian) thus showing this professional networking site does have a sense of humor.

LinkedIn recently hit the 200 million member mark and while those numbers pale in comparison to Facebook; the numbers belie the power of this professional resource. If you aren’t yet on LinkedIn you are missing out on a powerful resource that can be used in a myriad of ways. Here are just three of the many groups that are using LinkedIn on a daily basis:

  • Job Seekers: While sites like Monster and CareerBuilder certainly have a place in looking for work, LinkedIn should be a key component in your search. It gives you the ability to look for jobs, research those companies, see if anyone in your network is connected to employees in those companies and look up those who will be interviewing you. A key for job seekers is to make sure your profile is professional and up-to-date (see below for tips) because as you seek details on others, it’s guaranteed others are also seeking information on you, especially the people who will be interviewing you.
  • Human Resources: Which leads us to HR professionals and others now using LinkedIn as a key component in their search for employees. Many companies post job openings exclusively on LinkedIn because they know the quality of candidates is likely to be much higher than other sites. Additionally, savvy employers use their own networks to search for candidates, asking current employees to put the word out to their networks and using keyword searches to seek out the best-of-the-best.
  • Sales: LinkedIn has become a valuable resource to aid sales professionals in their research. While cold-calling may still be a part of the sales process, LinkedIn can make cold-calls much, much warmer. The site gives you the ability to research companies, find out more about those who hold the key positions in the companies you’re targeting and see who in your network may be connected to those prospects. If you upgrade to a paid membership you can use the filters to find industries, search key positions, set up alerts and use InMail to reach out to those you’d like to meet. This article has six good tips for using LinkedIn to assist in your sales and marketing efforts.

Below are five tips to get the most out of your own LinkedIn profile and while there are many others, these five are key:

  1. Don’t use THAT picture: When I go to someone’s profile on LinkedIn and see the default silhouette picture I know either they aren’t active or don’t know any better. For job seekers it is not an option, but imperative you add a picture. Recruiters won’t take you seriously without one and will make many assumptions, none of which are flattering. Don’t use the picture of you holding a beer and looking less than sober (you’d be surprised), but a good quality picture showing you dressed professionally and smiling.
  2. Keep your profile up-to-date & complete: Would you send out a resume that you hadn’t updated for several years? Of course not and the same should be true for your LinkedIn profile. The first things people see who view your profile are your picture, your current job and a summary of your experience. Make sure all of these are current and use keywords in your summary that are relevant to your career. If you’re going to put yourself out there you might as well make your profile as complete as possible.
  3. Ask for Recommendations: Some people feel intimidated to ask for recommendations, but they can enhance your profile and give you an advantage. Make sure though to only ask those people who truly know you and your work to make sure the recommendation is relevant. Will not having recommendations hurt you? Probably not since most people take them with a grain of salt, but they can serve as online references and a point of differentiation.
  4. Connect: LinkedIn is not a popularity contest and it’s not Facebook so don’t feel compelled to ask everyone you know to join your network. Remember, this is a professional platform so use it to advance your business and career with contacts and connections that move your forward. You can also follow companies, be they employers you are targeting or competitors you want to keep track of.
  5. Join LinkedIn Groups: Find groups that are in your field or those you can learn from and contribute to. Don’t be a stalker in these groups and don’t join just so you can list them in your profile. The right groups can help you advance your career and be a place to give back to those younger or less experienced than you.

Like any other social network tool, you’ll get out of LinkedIn as much as you’re willing to put into it. And while Groucho Marx may not be active much anymore, many people are that can help make your career and professional a much richer experience.

Steve Woodburn is Director of Inside Sales for Pinnacle Promotions, a promotional products agency in Atlanta, GA. You can reach him at: steve.woodburn@pinnaclepromotions.com

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Responses

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