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Seven Strategies for a Better LinkedIn Experience

Grab Seven Strategies for LinkedIn as a PDF. You’re welcome!

1. Claim your URL

Instead of having a long complex URL for your LinkedIn profile ‘claim’ your personal space by clicking on the ‘gear’ symbol next to your present LinkedIn URL (see image below). This will take you to a settings page where you can edit this URL as well as set many other parameters.

settings
2. Settings (1 and 2)

Settings ‘1’ – reached by clicking on the gear symbol in the image above – is where you can set who can see certain sections of your LinkedIn profile as well as where you can create a LinkedIn profile ‘badge’ that you can use elsewhere online (say on your personal website). Settings ‘2’ – is where you can set what others see when YOU look at their profile as well as many other parameters. To reach this screen go to the ‘Privacy & Settings’ link under your photo in the top right hand corner of the screen (you will likely have to re-enter your password to get access to these settings).

3. Should you be afraid of LIONs?

LION is an acronym for LinkedIn Open Networker. Basically this is an individual who connects with everyone and anyone on LinkedIn whether they know the person or not. As this article from LinkedIn Pulse indicates, being a LION can pose a security risk and including people who are LIONs within your connections may lead people to view you in negative ways. If you have 500+ connections you probably don’t need to worry about having LIONs in your connections list as most people will probably not notice – however, if you are just getting started I would suggest that you not connect with LIONs.

4. Hook ’em with your headline

The ‘headline’ is the restricted area (120 characters) directly beneath your name on your profile (see below). You want this field to be catchy, expressive and keyword rich. It should capture your unique skills as well as give an indication of what kind of position you are looking for. A good way to come up with a compelling headline is to spend some time looking at the headline of those in your ‘dream job’ on LinkedIn.

headline
5. Absolutely perfect

Nothing says ‘careless’ as clearly as a LinkedIn profile with typographical, spelling or grammatical errors. Probably the best way to make sure that your profile is perfect is to use the Resume Builder feature on LinkedIn to create a Word document from your profile. You can then take this document into a word processing program to check it for spelling, typographical and grammatical errors.

6. Say Cheese

Please, please, please put in a photo of yourself – the grey sihouette is sure to turn off prospective connections even if your profile is amazing. It may be tempting to put up a photo that features you with a prize-winning fish from your latest angling adventure or a selfie with somebody famous but really the best approach is to have a simple, tasteful headshot. I don’t think it needs to be professionally done – why not get together with a friend who is also looking to complete their profile and spend a couple of hours photographing each other in a variety of settings (we’re spoiled for choice here in Victoria). I am sure that if you take a couple of dozen photos there will be at least two or three that with some cropping will be good enough. Remember to keep the colour of your clothing muted and avoid patterns/prints that can create odd visual effects and be distracting.

7. Become a ‘Groupie’

One of the best ways to get noticed, find new connections and build your reputation within LinkedIn is to strategically join and contribute to groups. As a guide to which groups are valuable have a look at those that people you respect in your field belong to. I would caution however about spending much time trying to participate in the very noisy ‘supergroups’ (my term). For example I belong to a group that has over 150,000 members and hundreds of posts per day. It is impossible to stay current on the activity in this group and I am honestly not sure why I remain in it. I would suggest that you look for smaller, ‘niche interest’ groups where you can stay on top of the discussion, make good contacts and contribute meaningfully. Another great thing about groups is that using the ‘Reply privately’ on comments you can connect with people otherwise inaccessible to you – I have used that effectively with some real leaders in fields I am interested in and as long as you keep it respectful and non-spammy it can be an excellent method of making important connections.

Bonus tips:

8. Grab that LinkedIn archive

I learned about this from a Viveka Von Rosen tweet (Viveka’s Twitter – @LinkedInExpert). This archive contains a wealth of information – for example the ‘connections’ file which contains the first name, last name, email address, current company and current position of all your connections. To retrieve this data log in to LinkedIn and then do the following:

  • Go up to the right-hand top corner and hover over your photo and select the ‘Privacy & Settings’ link (you may be prompted to re-enter your password as a precaution)
  • On the next screen click on the ‘Account’ tab and select the ‘Request an archive of your data’ link

archiveYou’ll probably get a message back saying that it may take up to 72 hours but mine was back in much less than that. The zipped folder will contain 20+ files (each of which I was able to open with LibreOffice software as spreadsheets) each full of interesting information that you can incorporate into your LinkedIn profile, summary and even your resume. Happy exploring!

9. The Power of Posts

This is where you can let your brilliance shine or simply express yourself on a particular topic. For example, is there a problem common to your industry/field that you have successfully solved in your present/previous job? Why not detail it with a post and then share it with the relevant group? Posts can also be placed on your personal website as well as on LinkedIn. There is even a LinkedIn Group (called Writing on LinkedIn) to help you learn how to write and format intriguing and effective posts.

Resources/References:

If you’d like to connect with me on LinkedIn please feel free to say that you are a ‘Friend’ and mention YYJWorks in the invitation to connect.


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