Imagine you're on your couch, on your cell phone, scrolling. Are you saving ideas for decorating your bathroom on a budget and recipes for a brunch you will probably never host? Are you liking baby announcements and stalking your ex-boyfriend's posts? Or are you checking out new professional opportunities, connecting with former colleagues, and commenting on a thought-provoking blog that will definitely win you points in your next chat with your boss?
Hopefully you've figured this out, but there's a social network out there that will help you step up your business game and be a more professional shawty: LinkedIn!
Think of LinkedIn as the world’s biggest office. But instead of being in cubicles, everyone’s behind their screen trying to boost their own (and their company’s) professional rep. You can use LinkedIn to look for jobs, connect with others in your field, see what all the coolest companies and organizations are up to, and highlight the accomplishments of your company, all in one platform.
Notice how we keep throwing around the word "professional?" At its very core, LinkedIn is a professional network full of, you guessed it, professionals. And it turns out over 400 million of these professionals use LinkedIn for their business needs. They’re:
- 44% women and 56% men,
- Older than Snapchatters, with 61% of users between 30 to 64 years old,
- As international as Carmen Sandiego, with 70% of users outside the US,
- Making it rain, with 44% of users reporting an income over $75,000, and
- Wheelers and dealers, with 49% of key decision-makers in companies using LinkedIn for business development.
Ready to jump on the professional bandwagon?
Button up, businesspeeps! We're starting with your personal profile. If you haven't done this already, make your account here. Follow the prompts and start filling out the sections with your work history. After that, start connecting with people you know by adding them and sending a short note.
Your profile page showcases you and your amazing professional accomplishments. It’s a way for you to say "Hey, I’m here, and I’m qualified." Think of it like your business portfolio, complete with your beaming headshot where people get to click through your résumé and see where you’ve worked and what you’ve accomplished. Some tips:
- Use keywords strategically. This is what helps you show up in search results and helps LinkedIn suggest connections, so make a list of the top 20 words that describe your professional interests and career history. Sprinkle those words liberally in your profile like cheese on a pizza, concentrating on your Intro and Summary.
- Make your profile unique. You can customize your profile and add content, like work samples, links, formatted text, and even new sectionsto make it more interactive and to really show you off. Take advantage so that you stand out from the crowd, especially if you're networking or job hunting, and don't forget that you can customize your profile URL too.
- Give recommendations, and ask for them. Recommendations are social proof; you know you're awesome, but if someone you did work for writes you a recommendation that explains why, that shows others your awesomeness without you having to say it. So don't be afraid to ask former colleagues, clients, managers, and employees to write up a little something for you, and write them something in return. Here's how.
- Share what you're up to! At the top of your feed, there's space for you to write your own updates and share links and images. Take advantage regularly! What are you working on? What's your company up to? Need any advice or want to start a discussion? And don't forget to keep your profile page updated regularly, too, since this is your digital résumé. Add new skills, certifications, trainings, or even writing samples from your company blog. Just make sure it's quality and reflects on you well.
- Regularly check your feed to keep up with your connections, updates from companies you've followed, and to leave comments or like posts. This isn't just because you care about others (although we know you do!); being in the know is helpful for you, too. Sending a former colleague congrats on their work anniversary could spark a conversation that could lead to your next big contract. Take it from us (because that actually happened). Get those good vibes out into the LinkedIn-verse and see what comes back.
- Remember that others can see when you're checking out their profiles, unless you change your settings. And your activity can be seen by others too. A key signifier that someone is job hunting is when they suddenly update their profile for the first time in months or years. If you don't want people knowing what you're up to, change your privacy settings.
- Here are more great tips straight from LinkedIn to help you take this to the next level, you boss. Next week, we'll get into Company Pages and what they can do for your business.
Just remember, when it comes to LinkedIn: