LinkedIn can be an invaluable networking resource, and I urge my resume clients to use it. It’s becoming as important as the resume. But it won't be able to help you automatically simply by signing up and creating a profile. I see a lot of people who understand that but don’t quite know what to do.
So I thought I’d put together a quick list to encourage and guide your LinkedIn activity and help you in unlocking LinkedIn guidelines. Avoid these pitfalls to make sure that you're getting the absolute most out of the endeavor. I don’t get a dime from LinkedIn. I just think it’s valuable.
LinkedIn Guidelines -
• Don't use LinkedIn only when you find yourself out of work. While LinkedIn is a terrific resource for the job hunter, the best way to take advantage of any networking tool is to lay the foundation for potential contacts long before the time comes when you need to use them. Take the time now to reach out and make those connections in your field of expertise so that when you truly need to reach out to someone, you'll have a potential lifeline already in place.
• Don’t ignore LinkedIn. Just as you might not have any advance notice that you're going to need to start a job search, you also never know when somebody might be on the prowl for some fresh blood. If your contact details, LinkedIn Profile information and latest achievements are not up to date, you may end up missing out on an exciting new opportunity. Find out more about optimising your LinkedIn Profile now.
• Don’t hesitate to participate in LinkedIn's community. The more status updates you can provide and the more groups and conversations you take part in, the more connected you will be. The easiest way to build a LinkedIn network is to be present on the site and communicate with others who are in your field. Sitting on the sidelines and lurking doesn't accomplish anything.
• Don’t ignore others. If you see someone else reaching out for help and you can assist in any way, do so. After all, you'd want someone to give you a hand if you were truly in need. Why wouldn't you do the same for someone else? Not only is it good for your karma, but the very person you help might end up being the one who can help you out when the tables are turned.
• Don’t wait for others to find you on LinkedIn. Using LinkedIn works best when you can expand your network outwards, but there's no reason you should start from a catch-up position by not adding into your LinkedIn circle those connections you already have in place. Use the People Search function. You certainly want to avoid blindly reaching out to strangers in the hopes of padding your connection totals, however, by seeing who the friends of your friends are you may be able to earn an introduction that causes the invite to stick. Network more effectively and use a career s
• Don’t ignore all of the tools at your disposal. LinkedIn has news and top headlines to explore, events to attend, both virtually and in-person. Using the site to keep abreast of the latest trends and topics of interest in your field and by turning online correspondence into face-to-face meetings can only serve to better your chances at success in your industry. Check out “LinkedIn Today” at the top of your Home Page and “Top Headlines” to stay informed.
• Don’t forget the obvious. By thanking people who have reached out to you publically, you not only put yourself in a more positive light, but you also shine that spotlight on the person who helped you.
Hunting for a job is never easy, and networking sites like LinkedIn can be an invaluable tool to assist in the process as part of your Job Search Strategy. However, by being proactive instead of reactive, you may be able to avoid the need to go through the stress of long-term unemployment in the first place.
LinkedIn is more than just a place you turn to when you need help. It's a place you can go so that you won't need nearly as much help in the first place.
Use LinkedIn well and it works!