How to Use LinkedIn Effectively to Skyrocket Your Career
Those who know how to use LinkedIn effectively have a huge advantage over those who do the bare minimum. Consequently, these LinkedIn do-gooders know the importance of digital presence and social branding.
On top of that, Linkedin can be an association job seeker’s best friend.
It can make the biggest difference, and being a LinkedIn pro doesn’t take talent or skills. It does however, take commitment and diligence.
You have to use LinkedIn effectively in order to boost your value on the association job market. LinkedIn has made it incredibly simple to manage your professional brand. There’s a lot of opportunity for you to make yourself stand out from other professionals in the association industry.
Plus, if you’re looking for association jobs, LinkedIn can make you a hot commodity on the job market.
Maximizing your profile on LinkedIn is important, however it merely scratches the surface of the social networking site’s potential.
Already have a polished up LinkedIn? Check out these association jobs.
How to Use LinkedIn Effectively Tip #1: Build an Unforgettable Profile
The rule of thumb when building your LinkedIn profile is to make it reflect who you are professionally with your personality sprinkled in.
What do you want people’s impression of you to be when they look at your profile? How do you want to be perceived?
Ask these questions before you start filling out the different pieces of your LinkedIn. Because guess what? You have total control over how people view you through LinkedIn and all social media for that matter.
There’s no one perfect cocktail for creating an excellent LinkedIn profile and it’s up to you to decide how you want brand yourself. The first step, which is often overlooked, is making sure people have a good image of you.
Your profile picture can make or break a first impression. Think of it this way – you want your profile picture to look like your face when you meet someone for the first time. Smile, look straight ahead and avoid unnecessary distractions in your profile picture.
In addition, you should be the only one in your profile picture. A clean shot of your face. Choose professional attire wisely and make sure you’re well groomed.
Add a picture that represents what you look like in real life. Furthermore, keep it updated every 2-3 years.
Write a Summary That Reflects Who You Are
Are you a detailed oriented person? Write a detailed, descriptive summary.
Are you a concise, straight-to-the-point minimalist? Write a powerful, short summary.
Are you the founder/owner/CEO of an organization? Write about your experience in the industry and your accomplishments at the organization.
The LinkedIn summary is a place to showcase what drives you, what your passions are and how you add value.
Tell the story of who you are and how you came to be where you are today. When people read your summary on LinkedIn, they should get a glimpse of your professional history along with your personal mission/vision.
An ideal summary follows the “Why, How, What” structure:
- Start with why you do what you do
- Explain how you do it
- Give meaningful examples as to what you have accomplished
If you want to learn more, here’s an in depth guide on how to write a killer summary.
Work experience is the perfect place to give a narrative of your career.
Under each position, you should include milestones, results and how you impacted the organization.
Also, give context to what you learned in each of your work experiences to portray how you acquired your current set of professional talents.
Be careful not to add any unnecessary fluff.
For example, don’t write: “Managed a team of 7 employees during my time at XYZ organization”
Try this instead: “During my time at XYZ, I scaled and lead a team of 7 marketing professionals through [insert projects] that resulted in X, Y and Z”
Education, Volunteer Experience, Accomplishments
The education, volunteer experience and accomplishments sections are where you should boast your professional development/leadership milestones.
Are you a CAE? Have you volunteered or taken courses/classes outside of work? Win any awards lately? If so, this is the place to let everyone know what you’ve accomplished outside of the office.
An often overlooked LinkedIn profile feature is the publications section. Adding published work to your LinkedIn increases your profile exposure on average by a factor of 7.
That’s 7 time more views from peers, recruiters, etc.
If you want to become an authoritative figure on LinkedIn, link your published work to your profile.
Want to get more noticed by recruiters?
Want to show off your writing and communication skills?
You see where I’m going with this.
Plus if you have a blog, adding your posts as publications on your profile will help drive more web traffic.
Pro-tip: If you went to college or university, leave out the year you attended/graduated on your profile to avoid age discrimination.
How to Use LinkedIn Effectively Tip #2: ABC. Always Be Connecting
Coffee is for connectors.
You should make LinkedIn connections on a regular basis – always keep an eye out and connect with other association professionals. You never know when a connection will come in handy.
Every single business card you receive at the ASAE Annual Conference and all other networking events should lead to an immediate LinkedIn connection.
The association industry tends to be a small world, especially in the circle of professionals dedicated to the industry.
Leveraging LinkedIn connections is an excellent way to find an association mentor and create professional relationships with successful peers and executives. If you’ve never met someone in person and want to connect with them for an association/business related reason, one of the best places to start is LinkedIn.
Define the Reason for Reaching Out
The first step in connecting with someone is simple:
Define the reason you want to connect them and find out what will convince them to accept your invitation. You need to add value at the point of first contact if it’s on LinkedIn.
A good place to start is to figure out if your sought after connection recently won awards, published any articles, or was mentioned in a publication or blog.
When you reach out, have a topic of discussion – ideally related to whoever you’re connecting with.
Craft Your Message
When you connect with someone, make the message personal.
It takes 2 minutes to write a thoughtful note, and it’s borderline offensive using the canned LinkedIn connect request.
2 minutes is worth a first impression.
“I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.”
If you want to connect to a mentor, industry leader, or high profile executive – would you ever say those 11 words to them in real life?
Craft a thoughtful message and you’ll open the door to a long term professional connection.
Say something like this:
“Noticed your work was recently showcased in [industry publication/blog] and your approach on creating office culture truly resonated with me. I have ideas similar to yours and want to implement them at my association. Can we connect and share ideas/thoughts on how to create better corporate culture?”
You have 300 characters in a LinkedIn connection request – these 300 characters could change your entire career. It’s worth it to put thought into something meaningful.
After making connections, it’s time to share, comment and increase all your activity on LinkedIn.
How to Use LinkedIn Effectively Tip #3: Update, Share and Post Regularly
Your profile and activity on LinkedIn is a living, breathing representation of your professional identity.
The more active you are, the more you will be seen as a thought leader and go-to person for recruiters and important connections.
On the job hunt? Check out these job search tips.
Keep Your Profile up to Date
Every time you update your LinkedIn profile, it notifies your connections and they gain insight into your career. The more often you update, the more noticeable you become. When a recruiter contacts you or you connect with an important contact on LinkedIn, you want them to see the most current version of your professional history.
Rule of thumb: when you reach a milestone, successfully execute a project, join a volunteer committee…Update it on your profile within a week of it happening.
Share and Post Regularly
Most websites and blogs have social sharing icons that make sharing posts with your connections simple. You should share articles/blog posts at least once a week. There is however, a right and wrong way to share blogs/articles on LinkedIn.
Wrong way to share: Simply clicking the LinkedIn share button and posting the article to your feed. Doing this gives your connections an impression you are sharing just to look like you share.
Right way to share: Read the article/blog and formulate ideas and opinions on the post. From here, share the post on LinkedIn along with your thoughts and comments. The deeper you go into your thoughts, the more likely your post will provoke others to comment on your ideas. These conversations on LinkedIn develop more personal connections with you and your network.
Most people don’t post articles on their thoughts and ideas in depth on LinkedIn. Doing so takes time and energy.
But did you know that some people have turned one LinkedIn blog post that went viral into an entire career?
Posting your thoughts on LinkedIn can lead to opportunities you probably never imagined. At very least, it makes you a better writer and adds written work to your career portfolio.
LinkedIn Article/Blog Post Ideas
- Think about what you do day-to-day or week-to-week that makes you successful. Do you have a killer morning routine that jump starts productivity? Or do you have any routine activities at work that have made you and your team more effective? Write about it.
- If you’re at the end of a project or reached a milestone in your career, think about what you accomplished, how you failed, and what lessons you learned from the experience.
- Write about how what you do outside of the office positively impacts your time in the office. Here are some examples: reading regularly, meditating, eating healthy, making the bed every single morning no matter what, etc.
Make it a goal to write a post 2-3 times a year. As a result of writing and posting, you’ll eventually impact your connections and create a portfolio of written work.
How to Use LinkedIn Effectively Tip #4: ALWAYS Respond to InMail, Especially from Recruiters
LinkedIn InMail is like email – the etiquette to respond is 24 hours.
If you’re not responsive on LinkedIn, it will make people and recruiters believe you are not responsive in person either. At very least, if you have no time to put thought and effort into a response, tell whoever LinkedIn messaged you that you’re tied up and will get back to them in the future.
Recruiters often use InMail as a way to promote association job opportunities to candidates that fit the position requirements. If you’ve taken action on the tips in the post, you 100% will have recruiters reach out to you.
Even if you’re not interested in a recruiter’s Linkedin message pitch, give them the decency of a response to their inquiry.
How To Respond
Say something like:
“Dear [recruiter name],
Thank you for considering me as a potential candidate for your job opening.
At the time, I’m content with my position at [your association] and am not actively pursuing opportunities.
Feel free to connect, I will be sure to let you know if anything on my end changes.”
If the position they are soliciting you for doesn’t match your interests, replace the second sentence with:
“The position you described doesn’t quite fit my professional pursuits. If you have a new position in [your expertise], please let me know and we can set up a conversation.”
Nurture your relationships with recruiters. They can be instrumental resources in times you choose to pursue new opportunities.
Plus, many associations use 3rd party staffing firms. You may end up being a potential candidate for your dream job at one of them. The opinion of one recruiter at a staffing firm can make or break your chance of landing a position.
Bottom Line: If Used Correctly, LinkedIn Can Effectively Impact Your Association Career
Keeping up with your LinkedIn doesn’t have to be a huge task. All it takes is an hour or two per week to write, update, share and message on the social media platform.
Make time to work on your social brand; it can make a big difference in your association career success.
Overall, here’s what you need to do: focus on fine tuning your profile, always be connecting, and maintain relationships by sharing and InMailing.