LinkedIn has long been known as a social media hub for job hunters and recruiters, yet the platform is positioning itself as a marketing engine as well.
It's simple: People do business with people.
LinkedIn is a prime sphere for professionals to build their own personal brand. You can showcase your work experience and skills. You can connect with people you meet while networking at trade shows and other events. You can find and share timely professional development content that's important to you.
And guess what?
Those efforts need not be performed for the sole purpose of finding a new desk view.
LinkedIn is a great tool for helping your career, here and now and in the future—and even if you have plans to stare at the exact same oak tree or parking lot outside your office window for many years to come.
It's time to make the most of your LinkedIn profile.
Have a purpose for a profile.
You read an article (like this one) that told you to create a LinkedIn profile, huh? If that article told you to drive to the nearest hairstylist and get a mullet, would you do it?
Have a reason for being on LinkedIn.
Are you ready for the next step in your career? Do you want to help find more clients for your company? Do you want to find people in your industry to bounce ideas off of?
Fully develop your profile.
Your LinkedIn profile provides the opportunity to build your own professional brand. Consider it your online resume; it should have all of the same information, including your qualifications, experience and skills. Make sure your profile is complete and detailed, with an engaging summary and clear examples of your work and achievements.
We've been told our entire lives not to judge a book by its cover, but there's no denying that first impressions matter. Make sure you upload a good, clear photo of yourself. Headshots work best, since the images are so small. While the photo doesn't necessarily have to be professionally snapped, you do have to look professional.
Connect with purpose.
The goal of LinkedIn is to make the right connections—not the most connections. Tom, Dick and Harry might all be wonderful people, but that doesn't mean you need to connect with them on LinkedIn.
Every connection should be linked back to your purpose for being on the platform in the first place. Request or accept only the connections that serve your purpose. And from time to time, weed out those in your network who are no longer useful.
When you're requesting to connect with someone on LinkedIn, personalize your request. LinkedIn automatically sends a generic message to the individual, such as, "Hi Meghan Markle, I'd like to join your LinkedIn network." Personalize the message so Meghan Markle knows why you're interested in connecting with her.
Contribute to the conversations.
There are a lot of industry thoughts, tips and tools on LinkedIn. You can follow your favorite "influencers" so their articles, videos and other content of interest appear in your newsfeed alongside the content shared by your connections.
LinkedIn is a great place to join those conversations by liking or commenting on posts.
It's also a great platform for sharing your own content.
It's tempting to pitch sales content from your company, but the higher powers of LinkedIn have spoken: That's not content users are interested in. They are much more interested in content that answers questions, addresses pain points and helps them perform their jobs better.
LinkedIn isn't a job search site. It's an excellent platform to help build your connections and develop your career—no matter your next step.
Written by Cassie Westrate, staff writer for Groups Today.