LinkedIn 101 for Professionals

With over 300 million users and 2 new users added each second, LinkedIn is one of the largest, fastest-growing social media networking website out there, and has the unique honor of being the only social network for professionals, job-seekers, head-hunters, as well as company-heads and CEO’s.

Safe to say, anyone reading this should have a LinkedIn profile. We’ve spoken in great depth and detail about the importance of LinkedIn for professionals and job-seekers.

However, just being on LinkedIn isn’t enough – in order to maximise the power of any tool and harness its full and true potential, you need to be able to use it properly.

Here are a few solid tips that you can consider to optimize your LinkedIn profile and use this amazing tool to it’s full potential:

1. Properly set-up your profile

According to statistics, only half (or 50.5%) of all LinkedIn users have completed profiles – which means one out of every two LinkedIn users haven’t even set up their profiles properly. What this means is that this half isn’t even close to getting the kind of results that they would like because their profiles are void of vital information. One of the most basic, easiest and essential things that you can do it properly fill everything out and set-up your profile, so recruiters, for instance, can find you and get in touch with you.

2. Put up a good photo

First impressions count. And people on LinkedIn will look at your photo before they even read a word on your profile – which means they’ve no matter how qualified or experienced you might be, they’ve already formed an opinion about you. It’s make or break, so make sure that you put up a proper, high-quality and a professional-looking photo of yourself.

3. Make connections

According to the stats mentioned above, two members become a part of LinkedIn every second. And with its userbase of over 300 million – more than half of those active users – the opportunities to connect with like-minded professionals from all over the world are endless! Find people from your industry or niche (or outside it, for that matter). Connect with them, start conversations, and find opportunities to network with them.

4. Join professional groups

LinkedIn groups are pretty amazing. They put like-minded people – such as those from the same industry, niche or geographic location, or even those sharing the same interests and skills – in a single place. With so many people sharing ideas, thoughts, opinions, views, news and stuff in a single place, these professional groups can be of immense benefit. Groups also make it easy to voice your own opinions or views, seek help, discuss and talk or make conversation with people who share your interests or are from the same industry.

For example, designers might want to join the Freelance Graphic Design Group and talk about topics like custom logo design or just to see what design job opportunities are available.

5. Have people endorse you and write you recommendations

On LinkedIn, people in your network can endorse you for particular skills that you may have. These endorsements allow LinkedIn to determine how to rank certain individuals in it’s search results – for instance people with a lot of endorsements for a particular skillset will rank higher when someone searches for those keywords. In addition, your current and ex-colleagues can also leave you recommendations on your profile.

6. Network, network, network!

Using LinkedIn merely as a tool to ‘look for a job’ is a big mistake. Instead focus on networking and connecting with other professionals. There are millions of people you can connect, network and build connections with. So can and should be doing this even before you need to look for a job.

Look for thought-leaders, entrepreneurs, and like-minded people within your industry. Tap into second- and third-level connections. Good planning dictates that you build your network first and leverage it to look for job opportunities once you have a strong network.