Much has been written about LinkedIn, how to use it, what is and what is not important, how much information to put up there and probably the most common question is “Do I have to put a picture up there?” and the answer to that question is “It depends”.
I was recently asked the question “How do I make LinkedIn work for ME?” and the answer to this fall into a number of categories but the first question you have to answer is “What do I want to get from it?”
For the majority of people using LinkedIn falls into 2 main categories, employed and maintaining a network or unemployed, building a network and focused on finding that next great opportunity. Although there are other categories these 2 probably represent the majority of the LinkedIn constituents.
In either case remember that nothing usually happens overnight and success is based on participation, sitting back and waiting for people to come to you is not the pathway best taken. In my experience the best way of getting your name out and gaining recognition is accomplished by joining and participating in Groups together with answering questions. Here are some basic tips:
- Offer help, guidance and assistance, point someone to an acknowledged expert in a field or a resource that you think will be helpful.
- Share job leads and any other relevant information that could help others. LinkedIn groups have “Job” sections where leads can be posted.
- Join Groups, when you first look for groups they are normally displayed in order of largest membership, a group of 10 people (unless you share an enormous passion) is unlikely to be as helpful as one with larger numbers.
- Introduce yourself, after reading the group rules and watching the etiquette then introduce yourself and start to add your point of view. Ask questions and post discussions.
In summary, joining and participation are the keys to success in LinkedIn. Building a reputation through building relationships will, over time generate success and giving as much, if not more as you receive is definitely the way to go.
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