With 500 million users and 10 million job postings, LinkedIn is widely recognized as the social networking destination for job seekers, recruiters, and business-to-business companies. But if you’re struggling to attract career-related opportunities or make meaningful business connections, you may want to consider if you’re using the platform all wrong.(Image: iStock/Minerva Studio)
Here are three ways to get the most out of LinkedIn:
Develop Mutually Beneficial Relationships
First, let’s make sure we’re on the same page with the definition of networking. During an interview with The Wharton University of Pennsylvania, the billionaire founder of LinkedIn Reid Hoffman said, “The key thing in networking is to make sure that you look at it as a mutual alliance. You’re building a set of allies, kind of a virtual company around you, and you help each other.” Keeping this in mind, you should approach LinkedIn with the simple goal of getting to know your contacts beyond their job description. Don’t be afraid to vet your invitations. Here’s a helpful list of do’s and don’ts.
Add Value to Your Relationships Weekly
When it comes to any social networking site: Content + Conversation = Currency
One of the best ways to add value to your relationships is to create relatable and actionable content. From sharing your perspective on trends in your industry to using the power of storytelling to connect and build trust with an audience, make it a weekly habit to update your status and publish content directly to the platform.
Approach LinkedIn as if you’re having a conversation with someone. Bring your personality, passion, and purpose to the platform. Tell people about your aha moments, an event you’re attending, sharing a motivating or thought-provoking quote, asking questions, or telling a quick story about productivity, job search experience, etc.
You can also update your status with video and link videos in the summary, experience, and education sections of your LinkedIn profile.
Evaluate Your LinkedIn Relationships Quarterly
Make a list of at least five people you want to know more about. Consider connections that are at your career level as well as 2-3 steps above your job level. Engage them in conversation. Read, like, comment, and share their articles. After a period of time (e.g., 2-3 months) send them an email officially introducing yourself and sharing something resourceful, like an interesting article, mutual connection, or upcoming event.