Tips For Using Linked in as a Key Career Strategy

Social media keeners have done a great job of hyping the marketing revolution that’s unfolding around us but the unanswered question haunting many water coolers these days seems to be: “What’s the point?” If you haven’t yet jumped in to the elegant career management possibilities available through social media, it might be worth investigating. But of all the networking websites popular today, my personal favorite is Linked In. It’s an effective way to:

• boost your credibility;
• stay in touch with clients and colleagues and
• keep up with trends in your field.

Here’s what you need to know about how Linked In can help you:

1. Establish Credibility:
Your LinkedIn profile is an opportunity to give prospective customers or employers information about your professional capabilities. People are looking for reasons to trust you in business and this type of validation can be developed through your profile. Most employers are checking out online references prior to hiring now – if you’re not on Linked In, you are denying them an opportunity to see how you could add value to their organization.

Remember to:
• complete all profile information and write it as a marketing document, not a factual download – you want to explain the benefits of your experience, not just the features of it;
• seek recommendations from colleagues or clients to highlight what you do well;
• join LinkedIn groups that are relevant to your client base or peer group and contribute to (or start) discussions to establish your expertise.

2. Stay in Touch:
No-one stays at one job forever anymore and it makes good business sense to stay in touch with peers and colleagues for reasons of potential mutual benefit. Make sure you connect with people you’ve met or worked with in a professional context so you receive their profile updates. It takes seconds to review these updates – they’re sent directly to your email inbox – and very little time to send a congratulatory note for job promotions or comment on upcoming projects.

Remember to:
• keep your own profile up to date;
• send inmail comments as appropriate;
• keep adding connections.

Follow Industry Trends:
LinkedIn lets you join groups related to your professional interests and you can monitor discussions in those groups so you know what’s happening in your field. Some groups have admission criteria but if you have a legitimate reason for joining you are unlikely to be turned down. Other contributors may post interesting articles or links to pertinent websites – group activity updates are sent to your email inbox and it takes seconds to scan for items of interest.

Remember to:
• join groups that align with your interests (and those of your customers or clients)
• contribute to discussions
• explore the websites of group members to learn about their areas of expertise

Attract Attention:
Your blog, Twitter and Facebook links can all feed directly into your Linked In profile page so viewers of your profile can easily get news of events you host, causes you support or concerns you have about issues of professional interest. You can also promote events to your connections or fellow discussion group members.

Remember to:
• decide first if your Twitter feed actually belongs on Linked In, ditto with Facebook if it's a personal, rather than a business, Page. Linked In is strictly a business platform and you don't want to mar your credibility by posting items of a more personal nature or voice in that venue.
• be courteous and professional in all communications
• add value to your audience wherever possible

There’s so much more Linked In can do for you but the bottom line is that a LinkedIn profile is a practical way to show yourself in your best light.

About Susan Crossman: Susan Crossman is a career writer who promotes excellence in communication through writing with clarity. Her freelance writing services include web content,newsletters,reports,speeches and other custom documentation. For more details, please visit her website at http://www.crossmancommunications.com

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