How to Maximize the Potential of LinkedIn

Our LinkedIn profiles can easily be overlooked when we’re in a job, then become vitally important when we’re looking for one. Don’t leave things until the last minute; it’s most effective to spend a little time constantly maintaining and maximizing your profile for its full potential on LinkedIn.

Here are some tips to maximize the potential of your LinkedIn profile:

Tell the story of you

Make your summary section sparkle by trying to tell the story of you instead of just listing facts and accomplishments. Bring them together by explaining how you got where you are and what has happened along the way. Bring your profile to life and share how your experience matters to you and why it should matter to a prospective employer or customer. This is where you should really put in the time. Make it personal and get input from people you know.

Kill the buzzwords

Language is constantly evolving and new words get created to attempt to better describe ideas or processes, but this can also lead to over use, rendering some words almost meaningless. It’s a fine line; using certain terminology can signal that you are knowledgeable and understand an industry, but too much jargon can look lazy and impersonal.

LinkedIn publishes an article on the most overused words every year, so it can help you navigate the minefield. There are some words on this year’s list that we’re not familiar with and find a bit odd. Like martech (marketing technology), smarketing (smart marketing) and brandividual (branded individual). Apparently it takes more than being used a lot to get new terminology adopted. And don’t get us started on how many people are choosing to label themselves a guru…

Grow your network

It’s really hard to stay on top of this because it does take some thought and time. One easier way to do it is to sync your profile with your email address book. This will lead LinkedIn to offer possible contacts as suggestions, but doesn’t send requests without your permission. It’s also good to get in the habit of following up meetings, introductions and conversations with connection requests.

Don’t just let your endorsements passively accumulate

Most people don’t realise you need to put work into managing you’re endorsements. When you start to build them up you can find that they skew your profile in directions that aren’t how you want to present yourself. You may get a lot of endorsements for one of your skills that you don’t use a lot of. LinkedIn gives you the option under the edit function in the skills section to choose which endorsements you want to show and which you’d like to hide.

Decide what you want your account to be

There are two ways you can view your LinkedIn account; as a static online resume of sorts or an interactive relationship building and personal branding tool. Both positions offer benefits, it’s just that the interactive model takes a lot more work.

Some industries tend to lend themselves more to the interactive, personal branding model. If this is what you’re trying to achieve you’ll need to utilize your feed, commenting and publishing regularly and consistently. Start with sharing relevant content from your newsfeed, always focusing on the goal that the content you share will add value. Make sure it is interesting, relates to your chosen experience and reinforces your point of view.

After sharing, begin engaging with others’ content in the form of comments. This can involve commenting on content, others’ comments or interacting and thanking with comments on your posts. Be friendly and engage.

Lastly, when you’re ready to push your LinkedIn presence further and establish yourself as a thought leader, start creating long-form content and publishing it on LinkedIn. Look into your previous engagements to see if your network has questions or comments on topics that you feel you can contribute to. And when you publish make sure you engage with the comments and start more conversations.

We covered a lot, but don’t let yourself be overwhelmed. Just putting in 10 minutes a day can make a big impact. And it’s good to remember to keep it going even when you’re not actively looking for a job. You’ll be able to leverage your LinkedIn profile much more effectively if you’ve been putting in the time.

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