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LinkedIn: All you need to know about the world largest professional network

LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network with more than 830 million members in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide, has become an indispensable platform for professionals all over the world. It has consistently fulfilled its goal of creating economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce and connecting  professionals all across the world in other to make them more productive and successful.

If you are curious to know more about this platform and how to get the best out of it, then, read this article to the end.

What is LinkedIn?

LinkedIn according to Wikipedia is an American business and employment-oriented online service that operates via websites and mobile apps. It was launched on May 5, 2003.

It can be used  to find the right job or internship opportunities, connect and strengthen professional relationships, and learn the skills you need to succeed in your chosen career.

Who should  join LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is a platform for anyone who is looking to advance their career. It’s a platform  for individuals from various professional backgrounds, small business owners, students, job seekers, and so on.

How can  you get started on LinkedIn?

Here are a few steps to get started on LinkedIn:

  1. Create your profile: Signing up and creating your profile is the way to begin on LinkedIn. A complete LinkedIn profile should be a summary of your professional experiences, your connections, current and future employers, and recruiters. Through your profile, you can showcase your professional life, milestones, skills and interests.
  2. Build your network: Your network plays a crucial part in unlocking the power of LinkedIn. It’ll help you understand what is happening in your industry and professional circle. You can begin by adding your family, friends, past or current classmates, and coworkers to your network.
  3. Find a job: If you’re looking for a job opportunity, you can get started on your job search on LinkedIn. You can use LinkedIn to research companies and reach out to the hiring community. You can also apply directly for roles, save job searches, and notify your connections and recruiters that you’re open for job opportunities.
  4. Participate in conversations: Participating in conversations can allow you to share your perspective on relevant issues and topics with others. You can like and comment on posts and articles on LinkedIn.
  5. Create or join LinkedIn groups: You can create or join LinkedIn Groups to connect and grow with members who share your interests, experiences, or aspirations.
  6. Post content: Millions of members come to LinkedIn every day to connect, learn, and share. You can empower and educate your professional circle with the content you post on LinkedIn.

Steps to making  the most out of your LinkedIn profile

According to Jane Deehan, senior content marketing manager at LinkedIn,  here are steps to making  the most out of your LinkedIn or having a better LinkedIn profile

  1. Choose the right profile picture for LinkedIn.

Your profile picture is your calling card on LinkedIn – it’s how people are introduced to you and (visual beings that we are) it governs their impressions from the start.

Below are some quick tips in choosing the right profile picture:

  • Make sure the picture is recent and looks like your present self
  • Ensure your face takes up around 60% of the picture
  • Put on an official wear or what you would like to wear to work
  • Smile
  1. Add a background photo.

Your background photo is the second visual element at the top of your profile page. It grabs people’s attention, sets the context and shows a little more about what matters to you. More than anything, the right background photo helps your page stand out, engage attention and stay memorable.

  1. Make your headline more than just a job title.

There’s no rule that says the description at the top of your profile page has to be just a job title. Use the headline field to say a bit more about how you see your role, why you do what you do, and what makes you the best at what you do.

  1. Turn your summary into your story

The first thing to say about your LinkedIn summary is – make sure you have one! It’s amazing how many people still leave this field blank when creating their LinkedIn profile.

Your summary is your chance to tell your own story – so don’t just use it to list your skills or the job titles you’ve had.

Try to bring to life why those skills matter – and the difference they can make to the people you work with. Don’t be afraid to invest some time, try a few drafts, and run your summary past people you know. This is your most personal piece of content marketing – and it’s worth the effort.

  1. Declare war on buzzwords

Buzzwords are adjectives that are used so often in LinkedIn headlines and summaries that they become almost completely meaningless. Our regular rankings of the most over-used buzzwords include terms like ‘specialized’, ‘leadership’, ‘focused’, ‘strategic’, ‘experienced’, ‘passionate’, ‘expert’, ‘creative’, ‘innovative’ and ‘certified’.

Not that  you can’t describe yourself as these things – or that they don’t matter. However, just using these words won’t convince people that you have these qualities. You need to demonstrate them as well – both in the way you describe yourself, and in the way you use LinkedIn profile features to show what you’re about.

  1. Grow your network

One of the easiest and yet most relevant ways to grow your LinkedIn network is to synch your profile with your email address book. This enables LinkedIn to suggest people you could connect with. It’s amazing how effective this can be at surfacing relevant people for you to reach out to – and no connection requests are sent without your permission, so you can vet all of the potential connections. Beyond this, you can also get into the habit of following up meetings and conversations with LinkedIn connection requests – it’s a great way of keeping your network vibrant and up to date.

  1. List your relevant skills

It’s one of the quickest of quick wins on LinkedIn – scroll through the list of skills and identify those that are relevant to you. Doing so helps to substantiate the description in your Headline and Summary, and provides a platform for others to endorse you. However, the key here is staying relevant. A long list of skills that aren’t really core to who you are and what you do, can start to make your profile become clumsy. So,  take your time to update  your skills list every now and then.

  1. Spotlight the services you offer

Services is a new LinkedIn feature that helps consultants, freelancers and those working for smaller businesses to showcase the range of services that they offer. Filling out the Services section of your profile can boost your visibility in search results.

  1. Spread the endorsement love

Endorsements from other members substantiate your skills and increase your credibility.

How do you get endorsed on LinkedIn?

For starters, go through your network and identify connections who you feel genuinely deserve an endorsement from you – that’s often the trigger for people to return the favour.

  • Don’t be afraid to reach out with a polite message asking for endorsement for a few key skills as well.
  • Reach out to people whose endorsement you’d really value.
  1. Manage your endorsements more proactively

Once endorsements start to come in, you might find that they shift the emphasis of your LinkedIn profile in ways that don’t reflect who you are. It could be that your core area of expertise is content marketing for example, but the people who’ve worked with you on events are more enthusiastic endorsers.

Be proactive in managing your endorsements list using the edit features in the Skills section of your profile – you can choose which to show, and which to hide.

  1. Take a skills assessment

A skills assessment is an online test that enables you to demonstrate the level of your skills, and display a Verified Skills badge on your profile. Data shows that candidates with verified skills are around 30% more likely to be hired for the roles they apply for – and displaying proves your abilities and strengthens your personal brand more. Displaying the results of your skills assessments is entirely voluntary, and you can retake the tests as often as you like before showing that you’ve passed.

  1. Request recommendations

Endorsements give people viewing your profile a quick, visual sense of what you’re valued for while Recommendations take things a step further.

They are personal testimonials written to illustrate the experience of working with you. There’s a handy drop-down menu in the Recommendations section of your profile that makes it easy to reach out to specific contacts and request recommendations. Take the time to think about who you would most value a recommendation from – and personalise your request. It’s worth the extra effort.

  1. Showcase your passion for learning

When you complete a course on LinkedIn Learning, you’ll have the opportunity to add a course certificate to your LinkedIn profile. You do this from within the Learning History section of your LinkedIn Learning account – where you can also send updates about your learning to your network if you choose.

  1. Share media and marketing collateral

The marketing collateral that you produce for your business can add an extra dimension to your own profile as well. Sharing case studies, white papers and other brand content helps to show what the business you work for is all about – and helps people understand what makes you tick. It demonstrates passion and commitment as well.

  1. Get credit for your thought-leadership with publications

The Publications section is one of the most under-used elements in LinkedIn profiles – and that means that you can really stand out from the crowd when you use this feature to draw attention to existing thought-leadership content. Have you helped to write an eBook or a White Paper? Or written a post on your company’s blog? The Publications section links your profile to these assets.

  1. Share relevant content from your LinkedIn feed.

It’s one thing to have a network of connections on LinkedIn but it’s far better to have an active role in that network appearing in your connections’ LinkedIn feeds in a way that adds value for them.

Sharing relevant content with your network is one of the most accessible ways of doing this. You can make a start by keeping a close eye on your LinkedIn feed, and sharing content that you find genuinely interesting – and that aligns with your point of view.

  1. Add comments

Sharing is great – but it’s just the starting point. When you add comments to your shares, you give yourself greater prominence within the feed and start to express why you think a particular piece of content matters.

Well-expressed comments also enable you to share a broader range of content. It might be that you don’t agree with a point of view but still find it interesting. For example, a comment that can express that viewpoint starts to establish your opinion and thought-leadership. It’s also more likely to draw additional comments, which then raise your profile across LinkedIn. Bear this mind when you’re writing your comment – and make sure you’re saying something you’re happy for people to associate with you.

  1. Follow relevant influencers for your industry.

Following relevant influencers on LinkedIn helps to put a range of interesting content in your feed, which you can then share with others when you think it adds value. It also helps to give context to your LinkedIn profile, demonstrating your passion for what you do.

  1. Become an employee advocate

LinkedIn Elevate is our platform for helping businesses to launch and manage employee advocacy programs – and it generates some fascinating insights on the impact that employee sharing has for those doing the sharing. In fact, 86% of employee advocates say that sharing content for their business has had a positive effect on their own careers.

If your business is using Elevate, then it’s a great way to take a more active role in getting your brand content out there. If it’s not, then it’s still worth reaching out to colleagues and asking who’s producing content that would be worth sharing on LinkedIn.

  1. Publish long-form content – and use it to start conversations

The more you share and comment on content, the more you establish your expertise and thought-leadership credentials on LinkedIn. Publishing long-form posts is the natural next step to take. A great starting point is to monitor the response that you get to your comments and shares. Are there particular subjects and points of view that seem to resonate with your network? Are there comments that you have shared which you feel you could expand on in a post? Evolving your thought-leadership in this way keeps it real – and keeps you plugged into the issues your connections are talking about. Be ready for your long-form posts to start new conversations too. Keep an eye on the comments and be ready to respond.

When the purpose of a thing is not known, abuse they say is inevitable. To get the most out of LinkedIn then you must use it for the purpose for which it’s meant for and not for entertainment purposes like we do on other social media platforms.

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