02 Nov 2016 17:10 IST

How to use LinkedIn effectively

V Rajesh urges students to leverage the networking platform and use its untapped potential

Most of you would be aware of the professional networking site LinkedIn and may also have a presence on the website. In case you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, the very first thing you should do is to create one at the earliest. However, that is only a very basic start.

Most LinkedIn profiles and users do not leverage this powerful business networking platform, mainly because they are unaware of its potential.

The fundamental issue is that many users create a LinkedIn profile without giving it much thought and then either forget about it or randomly join groups, try to add connections, and so on.

Don’t mix the two

Increasingly, this networking site is becoming the professional face of a person that others look up on the Internet and one that is, obviously, often referred to by those in the recruitment function while searching for candidates.

To give a physical, real-world example, your Facebook profile may reflect how you would look on holiday or at home. Maybe in a pair of shorts or a lungi, T-shirt, wild hair and, basically, chilled out. LinkedIn must be how you look when you are going to meet an important client or a person for an interview. Never mix these two.

Let me share a few pointers on how you can leverage this business networking platform to your advantage and create a strong professional image online.

Your profile

Although using your resume as a starting point to build your profile is a good idea, the LinkedIn profile cannot become a duplicate resume. Take time and effort to make your profile interesting and relevant. Highlight key elements. There are various options to share highlights about yourself, like awards, recognitions, publications, skills, and so on.

Your profile should sell you and your capabilities. In that context, my earlier column “ Resumes that grab attention” might give you some ideas.

Try to complete all the sections without force-fitting any details. For example, just because there is an option to add articles published, one cannot include the article written for the college magazine. Similarly, think twice before adding the links to your blog, Twitter account etc. If any such platform is of a personal nature, it is better to let it remain so.

Publishing posts

Related to the profile is the option to publish posts. LinkedIn allows users to publish posts on any topic. Ideally, the posts should be aligned to your area of interest and specialisation. Invest some time and effort in researching any topic and writing a short piece which you can share as a LinkedIn post. Ideally, keep these short and in the range of 500-800 words. Make it interesting to read and most definitely include a personal point of view.

This personal point of view is important because it reflects your thinking as also your capability to gather information, assimilate and analyse it and form opinions about the same. One basic hygiene factor with regard to writing posts is to ensure that the details are accurate and have been verified.

Equally important is to spell-check and proof-read it before sharing it online. Next, is to popularise these posts. Share them with your friends and contacts, requesting them to comment and debate on the post.

There are many more points to share and I will be continuing on this topic next week.

(To be concluded)