Getting the Best Out of LinkedIn

LinkedIn has transformed how professionals interact with each other. From students to CEO’s of FTSE 100 companies, LinkedIn is growing as a necessity in the changing 21st Century economy. Therefore we must be willing to accept and adapt to new digital platforms, to professionally project ourselves and our institutions, to a wider Internet audience.

With LinkedIn, you can build your online resume and network with other professionals. In addition, you can read up on industry trends, through articles, industry groups and by following LinkedIn Influencers, who provide personalised insights and knowledge. LinkedIn also allows you to promote your organisation and yourself as a personal brand, which is an essential attribute required for entrepreneurs. An added bonus is that it is free to register for a basic account.

The points below will help you get started with getting the most out of LinkedIn. These are not exhaustive, but they will provide you with a foundation to build your profile.

What you should do.

• List your roles, accomplishments and achievements.
• Network and connect with other like-minded professionals.
• Contribute and share content through discussion, articles or a personal blog (like this one).
• Join groups relevant to your industry.
• Be patient and persevere with LinkedIn, when using it for the first time.
• Have an appropriate profile picture.

What you must be aware of.

• Avoid expressing inappropriate language and controversial opinions.
• Don’t have an anonymous profile, as this is disliked by many users.
• LinkedIn is a professional networking site, it is not Facebook!
• Be truthful, as your LinkedIn presence must reflect you in reality.
• LinkedIn is not a replacement for face-to-face networking!
• Don’t be an online creep by repeatedly browsing the same profiles!

I enjoy using LinkedIn for various reasons. These include, allowing me to build my online presence, network and share content and experiences with others, and to keep abreast of new IT developments. It has also enabled me to learn about other industries, through connections, discussions and published articles. To summarise, LinkedIn has been an invaluable tool that has benefitted me immensely as a professional and as a person.

Others will not want to use LinkedIn for understandable reasons. Such reasons can range from work and personal commitments to valid concerns about online privacy. Nevertheless technology is driving changes to our everyday lives, including how we work and market ourselves, and LinkedIn is part of these changing times.

To conclude, I recommend signing up to LinkedIn. As we progress in our respective professions, I believe LinkedIn profiles will become as vital a recruiting tool, as a traditional CV.

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