Whether you’re a business owner trying to ramp up your startup’s connections or a recent graduate looking to secure post-grad opportunities, your LinkedIn account is crucial to landing new-found opportunities. LinkedIn is an excellent online networking tool that can assist you in building vital professional relationships.Â Here, BlackEnterprise.com’s social media contributor S. Lynn Cooper highlights what you should do to complete
Finish what you’ve started
First impressions are everything. Think of your LinkedIn profile as your one shot. Thus, your LinkedIn profile should list your current position and at least two previous roles, academic institutions attended and contact information which will then make your profile 100% complete, according to LinkedIn’s standards.Â Take the time to fill out the descriptions, listing your duties and inject keywords relevant to your industry. Â Ask yourself, what would others type in the search box to find someone with my skill set?
Put your best foot face forward
Browsing through most social media sites, you’ll notice a majority of the profile photos are not professional. These laid-back photos are acceptable for personal profiles, but, since LinkedIn is a professional’s playground, promoting yourself or your brand without having professional photographs can drastically alter the way you and/or your business is viewed.
Studies show that LinkedIn profiles with appropriate photographs are much more likely to get clicked on than those without. Â So, even if you don’t have a professional photo, taking one with a high-resolution camera in conjunction with appropriate lighting, clothing and background is better than having no photo at all.
Perform a series of searches to locate people you know by name via the search box. Once you’ve identified these contacts, click the connect button to add them to your network.Â Send a custom message to the person within the invitation, especially if you’re not in constant communication with the individual. Once you’ve made a significant amount of connections, you should view the “People You May Knowâ€ page to review colleagues you may have missed.
Request meaningful recommendations
Take the time to reach out to your supervisors and closest colleagues to obtain quality recommendations prior to sending a request on LinkedIn, and explain the importance of their recommendation.Â Once they have completed your request, take a moment and thank them and consider returning the favor by recommending them.
Get those apps
Third-party applications approved by LinkedIn allow you to customize your profile and showcase your work products. You may have crafted a white paper or presentation that can be of value to your industry; consider sharing it with your network via SlideShare which you can connect to your LinkedIn account. Perhaps you’ve penned a blog article, add the WordPress app so you can share you’re expertise.
Take time to explore the infinite amount of tools and features that LinkedIn offers. It’s like a gold mine for those who want to take advantage of connecting with other professionals, establishing thought leadership and creating new opportunities.
Have LinkedIn tips? Share your best practices in the comments section below.
S. Lynn Cooper is a Washington, DC-based digital strategist and communications expert. Cooper is the founder and director ofÂ Socially Ahead, a strategic communications agency that specializes in the creation of social and digital strategies and campaignÂ management. Follow her on Twitter atÂ @sociallyahead.