LinkedIn 101

By at home

linkedin logo_15_05_12If you haven’t got a LinkedIn account, you should. At its simplest, it’s an online CV, but the business networking site has over 100 million users, and, if used correctly, it can be an invaluable tool for boosting your career – from being headhunted to finding out about your dream job, to building your knowledge and gaining industry insight.

Package your profile

Speaking to Stylist magazine, entrepreneur Bryony Thomas, who attributes more than £200,000 of her marketing business, Clear Thought Consulting, to LinkedIn, says: ‘Your profile is an informal version of your CV. Ensure it gets picked up in searches by including key phrases relevant to your field, for example “marketing” and “HR expert”.’ And don’t be modest; list your achievements (work relevant of course), as well as any projects you have outside of the office – if you’ve revolutionised the school fund raising programme, run a successful website or have charity commitments, tell people about it. Also make sure your profile picture is up to date and high quality, as this makes it easier for people to identify you when doing any real-time networking.

Get your group on

‘LinkedIn groups are the best places to pick up advice and meet like-minded people,’ says Bryony. ‘Join at least 10 (just search the fields you’re interested in) to maximise your chances of getting paid work.’ Just joining a group is not enough though; you need to get involved by contributing to discussions, starting threads and really using these forums as the fantastic resource they are.

Guest list only

While social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter can feel like a popularity contest, LinkedIn connections demand a more discerning approach. Only add people you work with, have worked with in the past (and valued their work), or want to work with in the future. Adding a friend who isn’t in your industry is a waste of time and will only clog up your contacts list – banish them to the realm of Facebook. Also be aware that other users can view your contacts, and you want to keep your profile looking professional and focused. Like Google +, you can tag all your contacts, sorting them into different circles – so you can keep your clients, colleagues and potential clients separate, and make a note of which circles you need to work on.

Picture credit: Business Journal 

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