10 Tips for Succeeding with LinkedIn

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  1. Flesh out your profile
  2. Request recommendations from old colleagues
  3. Congratulate people on job changes
  4. Support people who are unemployed
  5. Reach out to old contacts every once in a while
  6. Pay attention to who views your profile
  7. Answer questions, Join groups, Run a poll
  8. Update your status with professional achievements
  9. Properly structure your employment history descriptions
  10. Do good work

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1.) Flesh out your profile

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  • Upload a well focused, professional (not holding a beer bottle) photo of your face and make sure you're smiling. Nobody wants to work with a smug, cynical, emo, asshole so look friendly.
  • Complete your employment history with title, date range, and description (more on description later).
  • Fill out your skills & expertise. This will prompt LinkedIn to ask your contacts to endorse you for those skillsets.

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2.) Request recommendations from old colleagues

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  • Don't ask for recommendations from people you are currently working with. If the person doesn't want to leave one or just doesn't get around to it soon it may make for an uncomfortable workplace. First and foremost you should focus on maintaining high quality professional relationships at any position you hold. Putting unnecessary pressure on your colleagues may leave them with a bad impression of you.
  • Once you're no longer colleagues, all bets are off... If you had a good working relationship with someone then there is no excuse NOT to ask for a recommendation. Feel free to use the default recommendation message unless you feel like being especially personal about it. I don't recommend personal messages for one reason. If you send the request again (see next bullet point), the message you used before will be copied and if it is no longer relevant, you'll have to spend time typing out a new one.
  • Re-send requests every three months. I find three months to be an appropriate amount of time to pass without coming across as pushy. That said, there are some people who have been on my "three month list" for years. I'm confident they'll eventually come around :)
  • Leave recommendations for the people you are requesting recommendations from FIRST. This is much more polite and clears you of any guilt associated with re-sending requests to them every three months.

3.) Congratulate people on job changes

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4.) Support people who are unemployed

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5.) Reach out to old contacts every once in a while

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6.) Pay attention to who views your profile

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7.) Answer questions, Join groups, Run a poll

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8.) Update your status with professional achievements

Tactful self promotion is a key to growing your network.

9.) Properly structure your employment history descriptions

Just like a resume, you don't want to make yours difficult to read. Avoid lengthy descriptions that include every buzzword in the book. If you want to use buzzwords, put them in a buzzwords specific section titled "technologies used" or something relevant to your industry. When it comes to descriptions, keep them as short as possible (especially if you have many positions in your history), and focus on the highlights. Don't bother with listing trivial responsibilities that would at any position take zero time to learn.

Companies want to be able to gauge what value they would get by hiring you so explain your responsibilities in that context.

Here are some tips on structuring your descriptions:

  • Add a link to something external. Don't waste the potential traffic by not linking to your blog. I have added my about.me profile and my blog is linked from there.
  • Your Summary description should start with a concise, one line intro. "I'm a _______ who likes ________." I have two additional small paragraphs focusing on Specialties and Fluencies. Fluencies may include software you have experience with, spoken languages, or programming languages.

10.) Do good work

Above all else you need to do good work first. Doing good work and working hard will give you all the ammunition to execute all the strategies I've outlined.

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