What do you use LinkedIn for? If you use it as a way to keep up with old colleagues or an online version of your resume, you're not using it to its full advantage - after all, that's what Facebook and email are for.
LinkedIn is great for connecting with new business contacts and letting prospective clients know what you do and what the goals of your business are.
Does your LinkedIn page bring you a steady stream of prospects? If not, it may be time for a refresher on how to use LinkedIn to maximize how it works for you. Using unique content and pictures to make your profile stand out from the crowd is an absolute must.
Here are four simple ways you can get more out of your profile and the time you spend on LinkedIn:
1. Don't Treat LinkedIn Like Just Another Resume
Resumes show what you've done in the past, but people want to know what you can do for them in the future.
Use LinkedIn to tell prospective employers where you're heading in your career, and what turns you on, career-wise. There's a neat section where you can list the type of pro bono work you'd be interested in, and what sectors catch your eye. Take advantage of those sections to share your passion.
2. Link To Your Blog And Post Good Content On A Regular Basis
Make your content stand out from the crowd. Post thoughtful, innovative, well-written content and people will want to follow your profile. Now, it's not necessarily easy to write good content, but if you come up with something that will improve people's lives and help their careers, you'll build a loyal following.
Stuck for ideas? Write about something controversial, take a stance on a hot-button issue, talk about the state of your industry and the challenges that face it. Talk about real-life situations at your workplace (without naming any names, of course) and give possible solutions and workarounds to problems. Be as specific as possible without giving away the inner workings of your company.
Be inspiring, fresh and real - people will be naturally drawn to the way you write.
3. Look At Your Contacts
Look at the list of people that you already know. These are likely people you know in real-life, before you went crazy adding everyone you came across in your industry. Chances are, some of them have pretty cool jobs, and it's more than likely that some already have connections that you can use.
The good thing about these contacts is that they're people who you've known for a while, and that can vouch for you and your work.
Maybe it's time to refresh your working relationships with some of these people?
4. Build A Community
Don't just ask what people can do for you - you should be more concerned with what you can offer your contacts and associates.
Write a blog, share valuable content, and repost job listings - and not just the jobs you don't want, either, but the good ones. Offer references, recommend people for jobs, and endorse others for their skills.
When you genuinely try to help people, you'll find that for the most part, people will go out of their way to reciprocate.
Remember that LinkedIn is not Facebook. Keep things professional, post content worth sharing, and keep your qualifications up to date. You never know who could be looking at your profile.