So the other night I was chatting with my brilliant scientist/entrepreneur friend Dr. Laura Hales (not to be confused with Dr. Laura) about how I really want to start doing more networking but was having trouble finding the time.
She mentioned how helpful LinkedIn had been for her own business, The Isis Group, a scientific writing and editing firm. As I listened with rapt attention, I started thinking, hey, this should be a blog post to go along with our beginner tips from Lewis Howes. Laura agreed to write it — and here it is.
OK, so you posted your profile on LinkedIn, connected with some colleagues, got a few recommendations … now what?
Advanced Tip 1: It’s your profile; here’s how to make it feel that way.
Here’s how to make it happen in five easy steps:
- Upload a good headshot. Crop out the background so that your face survives the shrinkage in quality and size required by LinkedIn.
- Accurately define yourself in your professional headline — along with your headshot, this shows up in LinkedIn whenever you do.
- Update your status frequently with a tweet, a new blog post, an interesting article you read or a seminar you’re thinking of attending. This will keep you appearing in the digest of network activity that is sent to your connections every week.
- Fill your “Specialties” section with industry-related keywords so that people can find you in a targeted search.
- Customize your profile’s URL. This makes it easy for people to find you quickly (hit the “Edit” button next to “Public Profile” on your homepage and choose your own URL. Mine is: http://www.linkedin.com/in/lauramhales). Add it to your email signature.
Advanced Tip 2: You can join up to 50 groups. Max yourself out!
Use keywords to search for groups to join that can help you accomplish your goals, whether that’s finding a job or your next client.
To avoid looking like a LinkedIn Groups “Junkie” (or to keep that job search under wraps), you can choose to hide a group on your profile. You can either do this when you join the group (by unclicking “Display the Group Logo on My Profile”) or at a later date (go to your Edit Profile page, hit “Change Visibility” next to the group’s name). If you stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night, you could even start your own group! Spam all your connections and see who joins.
Advanced Tip 3: Now that you’ve joined these groups, participate.
There are so many ways to do this. Here are a few I’ve tried that really work:
- Start a new discussion asking for thoughts on a current trend in your field.
- Post interesting articles and include your opinion, or a thought-provoking question to the group about the article.
- Publish a link to your latest blog post, including an attention-grabbing headline about it. (Use bit.ly to shorten the blog post’s URL, and go back to bit.ly later to get analytics and see how many people clicked on your link.)
A related tip: To share a network update such as a blog post or article with multiple groups at once, hit the “Share” button after the update appears on your profile, then check the “Post to Groups” box. This allows you to enter in multiple group names to post your update. Subscribe to a digest of the activity in your groups and post comments on others’ discussions. This is a great way to gain exposure in your field and showcase your knowledge about various topics.
Advanced Tip #4: Add applications to your profile (found under the “More” tab on your profile page).
LinkedIn users can incorporate a multitude of add-ons into their profile, with more being added all the time. These applications include:
- Reading List by Amazon: Not so much for the book you’re reading about potty training your two-year-old, but more about books relevant to your field or profession. Include your opinion about the book in a few sentences.
- WordPress/BlogLink: This automatically posts the title and the first few sentences of your latest blog entries.
- Tweets: Get on Twitter!
- Events: Let your network know what seminars, conferences and other events you’re planning to attend.
- Box.net/SlideShare: This application lets you share files such as your résumé or a recent presentation you gave.
Advanced Tip #5: Use LinkedIn Answers (also under the “More” tab).
Subscribe to an RSS feed of the discussion groups you want to follow. Post answers to questions in your field of expertise, and if the asker of the question indicates your answer is the “best,” you’re on your way to gaining “expert” status in the community.
LinkedIn boasts that a new member joins every second of every day, making it a powerful networking tool. Good luck using these tips to help advance your career using LinkedIn.
About Dr. Laura Hales
Dr. Hales says she is founder and president of The Isis Group, but really, she’s just a geeky scientist in disguise. Check out her scientific writing and editing blog at http://isis-editing.com/blog/.