One of the best things you can do to keep your career prospects strong this year is build and nurture your network, and implementing the LinkedIn tips below is one of the simplest and most effective ways of doing just that.
Your profile has to be strong and it must emphasize your strengths and aspirations to attract the people you want to work with as you grow professionally.
So if you haven’t updated it lately, this is a perfect time to do so. Here are 8 best practices to make sure your profile is ready to connect.
- Use your LinkedIn profile to reinforce your targeted positioning and your niche so when your best prospects land there, they say, “This is exactly who we need.” (See how Stephanie Helline does that here.)
- Make sure your title (or headline)—the #1 most important element of your profile — conveys clearly what you do and for whom. Feel free to use slashes and hyphens to make the most of that small space. (See how Wendy Wood does that here.)
- Use a photo or headshot that is professional and friendly. Illustrators, use that space to show off your work.
- In your summary section, speak directly to your best prospects, using “you” as much as possible, so they know that you understand their market and their needs. (See how Karen McElmoyle does that here.)
- Use “calls to action” to tell visitors what to do, like visit your web site or sign up for a free chat. Don’t assume they will know the best next step without being prompted. (See how Amy Posner does that here.)
- Litter your profile with keywords (a.k.a. your specialties) to take advantage of the fact that LinkedIn is essentially a professional search engine. (See how Rebecca Bauer Ritz does that here.)
- Give recommendations and endorsements to people you’ve worked with, especially your clients. You’ll be surprised how much easier it will be to get them when you give first. (More on that here.)
- Repost material from your blog to expand your content marketing, show what you know and position yourself as an expert in your field. (See how Laura Foley does that here.)
Time to Connect
Once your profile is spiffed up, you’re ready to reach out to your network. Did you know you can export and download the email addresses of your LinkedIn contacts?
This simple tool is available with any free LinkedIn account.
All you have to do is go to your “connections,” click on the gear in the upper right corner. Then, under “advanced settings” you’ll see an option to “export LinkedIn connections.” In a .csv file, you get the names and email address of everyone you’re connected to. It takes 2 seconds—literally!
Here’s a quick “explainer” video to show you how it works.
Think about it. This is probably your best networking tool: a list of everyone you know and who knows you; people you’ve worked with, as well as prospects who have accepted your invitation to connect, even if nothing has come of it—yet!
So boost your career by taking these 3 simple steps right now:
- Export your LinkedIn contacts.
- Choose the 10 (or 25 or 50) people on that contact list who you would like to work with before the end of the year.
- Reach out (via email and/or phone, if you dare) to say, “Greetings, I’m here to help if you need it.”
More Networking Resources: