I got a chance to take my Dad for a drive in a new mustang once – his comment on owning an original 1960’s Mustang and being in the current version was… “sure the original was great, but it was bare-bones. With today’s improvements this is an outright better car” I was expecting nostalgia.
Like the updated Mustang, it’s an outright better platform today. My personal tips last year are totally out of date. As we end 2013, here are my personal tips to help you get in shape for the new year ahead!
1. Titles are so last century. Who are you really? Are you going to work one job for your whole career? Then why are you using goofy HR language to define yourself? Sure there’s the whole SEO argument but I truly feel you need a more realistic, holistic description. Same thing goes for a photo if you use one. Do NOT crop a wedding, graduation or group shot. Lastly, customizing your URL. It’s the secret handshake between fellow users, take 30 seconds to customize yours.
2. Your summary is NOT a cold blob one big bio. It needs to reflect the story of your past, present and future career told yes, in your own voice. Make it engaging, it’s not a novel it’s a 20 second ‘digital greeting’ especially in a world where your next client or employer WILL read it before meeting you.
3. Consider using the amazing new rich media portfolio and slideshare options to give your profile personality and colour. A picture tells 1000 words, your summary should be short, here’s how to say more with less.
4. Introductions. Never, and I mean NEVER use the standard “I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn” – customize EVERY single invitation. Start with people you worked with, mentors and expand outward. Slowly! If you wouldn’t invite them to your office, don’t let them in your network. Lastly, most LinkedIn users have some sort of post-secondary education. Never have I seen so many people invest so much money in a network they don’t use. LinkedIn has a powerful new alumni search function to help you reconnect with that nerd roomate turned tech-billionaire buddy from back in the day.
5. Managing your contacts. This is NOT a numbers game. You are CEO of You Inc. and this is your org-chart. Who is on your personal board, who are your generals, lieutenants and new recruits. Don’t forget to keep that tree trimmed, dump deadwood at least once a year. Most of all, use LinkedIn’s new contact features - they are outrageously awesome. It now reminds you about your last conversation and when to contact them again! You have a CRM at work, this is your career-relationship-management system!
6. Endorsements Vs. Recommendations. As I write this, I have 1,619 endorsements. They make me feel nice but they don’t really indicate expertise, rather how my network regards me ( thanks network!). More important are recommendations, they have become as important as that list you give HR when you’re applying for a job. You really need to focus on getting a few from previous employers and mentors in your sector. 3 to 5 are the minimum, over 20 is too much if you’re on the job hunt.
7. Time management. The number one thing people ask me about social media for business is “Paul how do you make the time?!”. My answer? As in all things, be strategic. Schedule a few minutes, I mean like 15 minutes a month to start. 15 a week to scale up and 5 mins a day if you plan on being a power-user. But first, go to settings and turn off ALL notifications, you drive the car, the car doesn’t drive you..it will bother you less, believe me. What do you do when you’re on? Just 1 ‘status update’ with an industry article per month, or week but max, one a day. Be active in groups, start and comment on discussions of just one or two, even if you’re a member of many.Consider using schedulers like Hootsuite to save you the time with updates ( it’s my Twitter secret ).
8. LinkedIn’s Company pages are no longer a ‘nice to have’. If you are a business owner, or PR/HR for a company or social-profit charity you NEED to have and maintain a company page. You can upload free marketing and product information and even have company updates. There is even new free analytics to help you keep track of activity. The ability to target your updates is just one of the many awesome business benefits of this feature. Working in philanthropy this is one of my reminders to charities, you are incorporated so make sure you have a page!! If only that when you create one, LinkedIn automatically links ALL current and former employee pages to your site. Here is a quick awesome video link.
9. Use Content! When I speak about social media for business audiences always ask “how do you get such amazing Twitter content from our sector?” Again, strategy says, if your own network and LinkedIn’s own amazing ‘Influencer’ network is producing SO much great content why not use it? Cross-functional use of schedulers like HootSuite allow you to take great content (from your ‘home’ page) and re-use it ( and engaging your LinkedIn network on Twitter with promotion of their services thrown in ) on other platforms like Twitter, or Pinterest etc…
10. Master mobile… these days I spend less time networking in coffee shops and more time on the go ( after all, sitting is the new smoking right Nilofer? ). I’m not saying I don’t use LinkedIn on a desktop but learning how to use your tablet to read content and your mobile phone to ‘look up’ someone before a meeting means you’ll be a better networking ninja on the go. As Mitch Joel says, we’re approaching the ‘one screen’ integrated world, be ready.
If you haven’t seen LinkedIn’s videos they are fantastic. And I often introduce myself at events by saying “hi, my name is Paul, networking is my oxygen and LinkedIn is my lungs” because the platform has done so much for me personally and the world of business networking these past ten years.
LinkedIn, it’s your personal career engine. I’ve given over 100 talks on using LinkedIn for business. If I can help your charity, your company or with your own profile, please reach out. Hope this post was of value, share your tips in the comments below! Thanks for reading,