I’ve been on LinkedIn now for just over 10 years and have seen a lot of changes during that time. When I joined there were only 14million members worldwide, now I’m connected to more than that at third level connection. In 2012 I received a certificate stating I was in the top 1% most viewed profiles. At that stage there were 200 million members. That meant I was amongst the top 2M people but it still sounded impressive. I had that certificate laminated and show it when doing presentations on the use of LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is a great system to use for showcasing your abilities and background experience. Chances are when you Google your name, your LinkedIn profile shows up quite quickly. So use it to your best advantage. LinkedIn provided me the opportunity to travel to Niagara Falls, Canada (I live in Australia) in June 2009 to present on the use of LinkedIn at a VA Conference. I’d gained a new title ‘international speaker’ 🙂
Here are some tips to help you get the best out of your LinkedIn experience and I’m more than happy to answer questions and help guide you, either through comments below or by direct email.
- Use a photo. Ensure you have a professional, or near professional photo of you – not a drawing, not a selfie, not a photo of something else, not your logo, but you. LinkedIn is about people and you fit into that category!
- Fill it out completely. Update the URL for your profile so you’re not using a series of numbers. For example, my address is https://au.linkedin.com/in/kathiethomas. Create a summary that explains well who you are or what you do. Include any voluntary work you’ve done, awards you’ve received, positions you’ve held on committees or elsewhere. Look at other people’s profiles to see what they’ve done. A hint – Temporarily switch off ‘Notify your network’ to No. No-one needs to be constantly updated every time you make a change. You can switch it back later before publishing anything you do want your connections to know about.
- Connect with others. Don’t be shy or afraid to connect with other people. Don’t make it hard for them to connect with you either – be easily accessible. If someone sends you an invitation – check them out first before accepting and then send a personal thank you message. If sending an invitation to connect to someone – don’t just do it where LinkedIn suggests. Go view the profile of that person first, then click on Connect and from there you can personalise your invitation. This is far better to do. If you go to networking events and collect business cards of people you’ve met, look them up at LinkedIn and invite them to connect – start to build the relationship.
- Join LinkedIn Groups. A great way to meet more people online who may have a common interest or share something in the groups you join. You’ll get a number of invitations to connect but, likewise, you can also invite people to connect. This is a great way, also, to get in front of your target audience just by participating in discussions.
- Ask for recommendations. Not only that, but ask for them to comment on your top skills – determine what they are and get people to comment on these.
- Give recommendations but be stingy. Don’t give recommendations to people you don’t know well, or have no working experience with. It’s your reputation on the line so make sure you are comfortable giving recommendations to people who deserve it.
- Check your profile regularly and update it when needed. It’s good to have a fresh profile. Make sure you proof read over and over again.
- Build your numbers. The magic number is 501 so it shows 500+ connections but don’t stop there.
Kathie is the owner of VA Directory and is former past President of the Australian VA Association. She founded the Virtual Assistant industry in Australia in the mid 90s, having already been operating a home-based secretarial service. Today the VA industry covers a multitude of office-based services for clients worldwide.