25 Jul 2015 15:06 IST

Leverage LinkedIn to land that next gig

Continuing from the previous column, these are some other tips to use the portal effectively

Most LinkedIn profiles and users do use this effective business and networking platform well, mainly because they are still unaware of its potential. In the previous article, I spoke about tailoring your profile page as a good resume and posting posts in alignment with your areas of interest. The next step is to seek recommendations.

References

Request those part of or related to your professional work to write a short recommendation about you. These recommendations add credibility to your profile and validate whatever you mention about yourself. As such, any such recommendation should be written by someone who has worked with you or supervised you in a professional capacity. Requesting a relative in a senior position in some unrelated organization to write a glowing recommendation might not help and might end up harming your credibility.

Group Memberships

Be selective about the groups that you join on this site. You could select groups which are either aligned to your professional interests or line of work. One common mistake that people commit is to join various groups indiscriminately and even worse, post in these groups at random.

Unfortunately, the majority of posts in the groups nowadays tend to be of little value addition. However, there are some topics of discussions which are very useful and in such cases it is always advisable to share your comments as also follow the comments posted by others. Engaging in such public discussions in an objective manner helps to make your profile visible as others in the discussion would look up your profile if your comments bring in a new perspective and adds to the discussion. The downside is when a person posts a comment just to be visible and then it ends up doing more damage as the resultant imagery of such a person is not very good.

Cross linking with other social media

If you are present in other online forums which are aligned to your professional image, it is always advisable to cross link and promote yourself in all these forums. For example, if you write a blog, sharing that on LinkedIn would help. As mentioned before linking Twitter to your LinkedIn profile also adds value. However, your tweets should be professional in nature. If you use Twitter to post personal things and share recreational content, it is better to keep it separate and not link it.

Building a good network

The primary purpose of getting onto to a platform like LinkedIn is to build a professional network of contacts. Therefore, this should be the primary focus of your activity on this site. However, the network becomes worthless if you try and connect with random people just to increase your connections. The cardinal rule for connecting with someone is about having a common interest. This could be in terms of people in the same organisation or institute, people in the functional area of your interest such as marketing or finance or people from your industry like others from banking or retail or FMCG, etc. Avoid any random connections as much as possible.

The most important aspect with regard to building this network is sending invitations to connect. The majority of people commit a huge mistake by sending the standard template message of two lines which the site offers as default. Even worse is to send it to senior professionals who you don’t know personally.

Imagine if you were to walk around thrusting your visiting cards at someone and demanding them to give you their contact details in a physical scenario. Sending the default invitation request is exactly like that.

Always personalise your invitation request and include a specific request as to why you want to connect with that person.

Keep in mind that the message should not be long but personal enough to make the recipient interested enough to accept your invitation to connect.