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How to Make LinkedIn Work for You

If you are connected with me or follow me on LinkedIn then it should come as no surprise that I LOVE the platform. In short, LinkedIn a social networking platform like Facebook but without the selfies or cat pictures. It’s a professional networking site which should be used to build and maintain networking opportunities. Seriously, rarely does a day go by I don’t post anything on my LinkedIn, sharing anything from quotes, job openings, or new relevant articles with my connections. In addition, I more actively connect with people on LinkedIn. As of writing this piece, I have 8,000 connections across all different industries, companies, and locations. Having these connections has been a vital asset when looking for opportunities, building strong networks, or sharing and consuming content. LinkedIn is more than social media, it’s a platform to launch your career.

When talking to job seekers (usually college students), I passionately advocate for them to use LinkedIn. Despite its’ success for me, I’m shocked at the number of people who either don’t have or fully use LinkedIn. There are many reasons for this: some people don’t feel the need for a LinkedIn account, mistakenly believe that LinkedIn is for “professionals” (i.e. not for blue-collar work or students), or they assume LinkedIn is just a fancier version of Facebook. There is a whole movement dedicated to keeping LinkedIn from turning into Facebook. Yes, it's absurd. Overall, I wish to point out to job seekers that these misconceptions are just that, misconceptions.

LinkedIn is a tool and like most tools, it’s all about how you use it. These are some ways you can make LinkedIn work for you.

1. Understand What LinkedIn is For: LinkedIn is for EVERYONE! Not just white-collar professionals but blue-collar workers as well. During my time as a skilled-trades recruiter, I sourced plenty of candidates for roles ranging from electricians to machinists on the site. Remember, LinkedIn is a more formal version of Facebook allowing you to connect and build networking relationships with others.

2. Update Often: LinkedIn, like a resume, is a living document, which means it needs to be updated as you acquired new skills and experiences. LinkedIn is the perfect place to be in-depth regarding your career history. Then, you can direct your connections to review your profile to see your full professional profile.

3. Looking for Work? Say Something!: LinkedIn has a feature that acts as a beacon of sorts; it alerts recruiters you’re available for work. The site even tries to be discreet by hiding this from employers. Even better, you can turn on the notifications to get regular updates about new job openings.

4 Filter Out the Noise: Many complain that too many LinkedIn users are posting content that is more suitable for Facebook such as political and social commentary (which I don’t personally take issue with) or posting more personal pictures like nights out with friends. Depending on your preferences, you can filter out or disconnect with anyone who isn’t adding value to your network. You can and should curate your LinkedIn experience.

5. Become a L.I.O.N!: I’m not talking about the animal. L.I.O.N stands for “LinkedIn Open Networker” and this means you’re open to connecting with anyone. I love this concept and bringing it to life has expanded my network and given me access to tons of interesting content including opportunities that have helped me promote my website. Truthfully, I don’t understand why some are highly selective with their connections or keep their number of connections low. They are missing out. The more you’re connected, the better experience you’ll have on LinkedIn.

In addition to the advice above, if you are still unsure about LinkedIn, many employment agencies, schools, and even sites offer easy ways to learn the basics of LinkedIn. Most of these services are free or low-cost and can greatly benefit you. You can also connect with me! As I stated before, I share content on a daily basis and I am of course a L.I.O.N!

So, get out there and start connecting! You can start by connecting with me!

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