Tuesday, April 23, 2013

7 Tips for New (and Inactive) LinkedIn Users

Wondering whether you should be investing time and energy in LinkedIn? Consider this statement made in a February article in the Financial Post: “LinkedIn Corp., the business-oriented service for recruiters, job seekers and corporate networking, is showing investors the sort of promise from a social networking stock that many had hoped to find in rival Facebook Inc.”
And success on the profit side means that LinkedIn is doing something right and, according to this article and others, the growth is far from over.
As mentioned last week in LinkedIn: 5 Important and Often Neglected Profile Areas, “LinkedIn is one of the most important social networks for new business owners looking to build their reputation, brand awareness, influence and network of contacts, particularly for business-to-business companies and those whose clientele tend to be white-collar.”
Last week’s article provided five important and often neglected tips to setting up your LinkedIn profile:
  1. Create ‘Your public profile URL’
  2. Use a Professional Photo
  3. Customize the Professional Headline that shows below your name
  4. Add three ‘websites’ and Twitter to your profile
  5. Write a Background overview/summary role that is interesting, informative, concise and typo-free
Now that you’ve got the bare bones of your profile set up, here a few other areas to pay attention to as you develop your LinkedIn profile and online reputation.
(Asking for) Recommendations
When people don’t know us they rely on what others say about us. Recommendations are an important part of building our reputation online.
We can say anything we like about ourselves but when other people speak highly of us and are willing to put their recommendations in their own words this, obviously, has much more impact.
LinkedIn recommendations added to your profile must come from the person making the recommendation. They can’t be added by you in any other way and this adds even more weight to them.
While some suggest ‘waiting’ for others to send you their recommendation, a more proactive approach is often needed. Under ‘Profile’ in the LinkedIn navigation bar, click on ‘Recommendations’. This will take you to the area where you can request a recommendation. You will also manage and approve your recommendations through this area.
You then choose the role you’d like to be recommended for, the name of the connection you would like a recommendation from along with a place to create your request. LinkedIn provides a template that is best customized, both the subject and the content. (see below)
The Personal Touch
While LinkedIn provides a pre-completed template for you to use to request recommendations, it is better to personalize these. It will (my guess) increase the likelihood of a positive response to your recommendation request and may even increase the quality of the recommendation.
The personal touch is best in almost all cases when you ask someone to connect with you, endorse you or recommend you.
List your Experience & Accomplishments
The more information you provide, the more people will find reasons to connect with you. Think broadly about all your experience and training and think of your audience and what they might want to know as you’re completing these areas.
Add Your Skills & Expertise
Click on the ‘More’ button in the top navigation bar to find the ‘Skills & Expertise’ link where you can add these to your profile. Or, click on ‘Profile’, then ‘Edit Profile’, scroll down to the ‘Skills & Expertise’ area and click on the pencil icon.
Enter your skill or expertise in the box provided and click enter each time one so that each will show up as an individual item. LinkedIn will prompt you with standard terms and these are best used, unless they don’t fit. In some cases, you may need to create your own.
This article by Nicky Kriel goes into more detail on how to Sharpen your Skill Sets on LinkedIn.
As your connections are now able to add their endorsement to your skills and expertise, essentially agreeing you possess the skills you say you do, this area is important. That said, there is concern that the new endorsements feature may be undermining the value of the Skills & Expertise area. That’s a whole other topic! For now this area is still important as it helps people get an overall sense of your abilities.

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