I was asked the other day by a friend if they should have a LinkedIn profile; even if they weren’t looking for a job. I have found great value in LinkedIn over the years, and it has nothing to do with looking for a job, it is about Intentional connecting and streamlined networking. As I worked up a quick outline to help my friend I thought it might be worth sharing.
Top three lessons I have learned about LinkedIn.
- It is not all about You: Well… it is about you, but when I took the time to notice other people’s work, engage in conversations and even recommend a colleague that has completed an excellent project the relationships expanded.
- Engage with others: One of the biggest things that I’ve noticed with digital media and online tools WE do of talking and less listening. Myself included! Find those people in your network that are putting out good information and engage with them in conversation learn from their experience.
- It is never finished: For years I thought to create a LinkedIn profile was something you did one time and it only needed to be updated when you received a promotion or a new job. I have learned that your digital profile is a continual iterative process. You should always be updating and tweaking your online presence. My goal is to be the same person online that I am when I walk up and shake someone’s hand. In that case, we grow every day and therefore our digital footprint needs to keep up.
The three features I utilize most are:
- Connecting with people before or after meetings to streamline contact management. When I know I’m going to meet someone or asked about an individual in a professional setting one of the first places I go to learn about them is LinkedIn. This to speeds the up conversation and in many cases gives context to their background.
- Articles in my Industry. LinkedIn does an excellent job of curating articles and showing which of my contacts engaged with an opinion as it relates to agriculture and technology.
- Connections in the news. With the recent integration of News, LinkedIn is a perfect place to catch up with people my professional network that is quoted in news stories.
Priorities when setting up your profile
Picture: pictures are worth a thousand words, a lot of time a picture says as much as what we write.
Basic Resume: skills and enough background to show your career at macro-level.
Skills: The skills section has come a long way in the last couple years. The interesting part about skills is how now we’re moving into more of a trust economy… colleagues and contacts can recommend you for certain skills. Great way to validate what you think you’re good at and what those around you rank you.
Groups: Groups are helpful from the standpoint of alumni from colleges or associations that we are involved.
Follow companies: I put this last because I don’t use this feature, and I haven’t found a need or use case that warrants spending too much time on it.
ProTips: (extra credit)
Add to your Hootsuite Account: I don’t go to the LinkedIn website that often. I have a process that does each morning in which I review all feeds at one time, and it takes about 15 minutes. I have LinkedIn set up as a stream within HootSuite, which is where I can scan updates quickly.
Set up integration to FullContact: Well it’s not as seamless automated sink mechanism anymore you can still export your contacts and drop them into FullContact every so often. I do this once or twice a year, but it is nice to be able to update contacts in your personal address book directly from LinkedIn.
Would enjoy your comments and ideas as well! Also, if we have worked on a project and we haven’t connected on LinkedIn, let’s connect!