LinkedIn is, of course, useful in a job search, but do you know how to really leverage it to help you in your current job? Don't forget about your LinkedIn profile once you land the job. Use these tips to leverage your profile for your current business goals, whether B2B, B2C or nonprofit in nature. Picture Success - No one wants to do business with a faceless mystery man or woman. Include a picture in which you look professional(no beer cans or babies, please) and make it publicly visible. This will also make it easier for new people you meet while networking to find your profile.
Make it Public - Adjust your profile settings so that everything is publicly visible. Your contact information will only be available to your connections anyway. Some people are uncomfortable with others having access to their professional history - if this is you, then remember you CAN treat LinkedIn like a resume in that you can include only the positions that are relevant to your current career.
Complete Your Profile - This seems like a no-brainer, but a lot of people never fully complete their LinkedIn profile. This is a shame, because a complete profile sends the message that you have your act together. An incomplete profile, on the other hand, send the clear message that you don't finish what you start. Talk about bad advertising. Plus, how are you going to tell people what they need to know about you if you never actually fill in all the blanks?
Work those Connections - This is the most important aspect of LinkedIn success. It is a social network, after all. Start by connecting all of the active email addresses you use to your profile so anyone you've ever had contact with will be able to find your profile by email. Also, make sure you go through the process of sending invitations to all the people in your various contact lists who already have LinkedIn profiles.
Lastly, as you network and do business on a day to day basis, add all the people you interact with at least weekly. This is the part a lot of people miss. By sending invitations to connect to new people you interact with on a daily basis, you are creating another line of connection to them and reinforcing that business relationship. Plus, you can watch your network grow like crazy.
Update Everyday - On your LinkedIn home page, there is a box at the top of the page where you can post an update. Do it. Everyday. Or at least twice a week. Whatever you post here will show up in the news feed of your connections. Don't know what to post? We suggest business-related highlights of your day (but nothing proprietary, of course). What was the most important thing you did that day? Make sure and share it with your network so they don't forget what you do.
Groups are Great - The more groups you are in the better. Why? Because the more groups you are in, the more people you have access to. Plus, LinkedIn's search function will rank you higher in the search results displayed to those you are in groups with, meaning when someone is searching for a financial adviser or a lawyer or an event planner, your profile is more likely to be found. Do yourself a favor and join 50 groups, the limit that LinkedIn allows.
Okay. Now you know the basics of how to really get your profile working for you.