This one personality trait means that your LinkedIn account could be doing more harm than good for your career…
With 500 million professionals in more than 200 countries gathering in one place online, setting up a good LinkedIn profile should be the first thing on every businesswoman’s to-do list. However, while we all know that maintaining a LinkedIn presence is important, copying and pasting half-heartedly from your CV will only unlock a fraction of its potential.
And now, in an insightful new essay for Forbes, leadership strategist Adrian Dayton has revealed that we should all be asking ourselves one very important question before we even think about setting up an account: will I – indeed, can I – actually commit to maintaining it?
“A few years ago I was coaching a very successful young attorney about how to better use her LinkedIn account,” explains Dayton. “As she scanned her LinkedIn inbox, she noticed that a message from a New York Times reporter. This reporter was looking for a comment on a major story about international trade, her specialty.
“The problem? The message was months old, and she was just now seeing it. My advice to her was this: delete your account.”
On a daily basis, we should be tuning into LinkedIn to interact with our homepage feeds, in order to keep up to date on industry news and see what your contacts have been up to. On a weekly basis, we should be using it to update others on your professional achievements and interests, not to mention adding new contacts. Indeed, we should be posting statuses as we did in times of Facebook Old, focusing on sharing details about a promotion, a new project, or a new article we’ve written. Not only will this help us to blow our own trumpets (hey, nobody else is going to), but it will also keep our profiles feeling fresh, and show that we’re active and engaged.
On a monthly basis, we should be updating our profiles in earnest with any new job responsibilities or professional accomplishments. We should also be contributing to a couple of groups: joining some relevant LinkedIn Groups won’t just keep you in the loop about what’s going on in your field, including hearing about new jobs as they pop up, but, when you comment and make connections in that group, you’ll also get your name in front of the people you want to work for. It’s a win-win situation.
Most importantly of all? According to Katrina Najm, Senior Manager, External Communications at PwC, we should be cultivating a relationship-based approach with our LinkedIn connections.
As she tells Forbes: “Executives I’ve worked with have said they’ve seen success when they simply share an article with a client or prospective client saying ‘thought you’d enjoy this’. It’s worked wonders for relationship-building and has helped with their brand.”
Again, reaching out to contacts (both old and new) is something we should be aiming to do on a monthly basis.
If you’ve decided to commit to using your profile like a pro, LinkedIn’s Head of Global Consumer Communications Darain Faraz recommends that, before you do anything else, you take some time to personalise your headline and URL.
“These are the first things potential employers, recruiters and business connections will see on your profile,” he previously told Stylist.
“Your headline follows your name in search hit lists and sums up your professional brand, so make sure it’s eye-catching, includes industry buzzwords in your headline – and don’t forget accreditation initials specific to your field, which recruiters also search for.”
Faraz adds: “Don’t forget to customise the URL below your headline; this will increase your search results and make it easier to direct people to your profile (which can be particularly useful if you have a common name). A customised URL also looks great in email signatures and on business cards.”
For more tips on making your account work just as hard as you do, be sure to check out our advice on how to use your LinkedIn profile (and maximise its potential).