If you implemented the two important steps from the last post, you are only three away from having your LinkedIn profile working for you. In this post I’ll let you know how to use your network, LinkedIn groups, and how to configure access to your profile.
NETWORK: Set a goal of 250 connections. For some this may seem daunting at first, but you will be surprised at how quickly you will get there. With a systematic approach of sending 5 invitations every day, you can reach you goal in a couple of months. You will go through stages of identifying and connecting with people on LinkedIn. For most of my clients it becomes a stream of consciousness…one person leads to another who reminds you of someone else and when you connect with them another person will pop up.
Start with your current database – it might be your Outlook or Yahoo or AOL email list but it is the best place to begin. Search by name to see who is already on LinkedIn and send them an invitation to connect. After you have exhausted this list, begin searching the companies you have worked for in the past as well as educational institutions you have attended. I guarantee you will find names of people you haven’t seen or talked to in years, but would enjoy reconnecting with you on LinkedIn. The third area to search is the connections of the people who you are now connected to. Take a few minutes every day and pick 1 or 2 people in your new virtual universe and see who their connections are. Chances are there will be a name you recognize and someone else to invite into your network.
GROUPS: The real secret to LinkedIn success lies in the Groups. You have the opportunity to join up to 50 groups (it took me 18 months to reach the maximum). The categories are: Alumni (look for all the schools you attended – whether you graduated or not); Corporate (join the groups of companies you have worked for or perhaps had business associations with in the past); Conference (many conferences today create their own groups to facilitate networking before and after the event); Networking (great for just common interests – mine is Starbucks Enthusiasts!); Non-Profit (great way to connect with other volunteers, fund-raisers, leaders, and members of non-profit organizations); Professional (more general groups to appeal to your profession – lawyers, doctors, CPA’s, etc.); and finally, if all else fails, there is a category for Other (covers any group that doesn’t fit into one of the other categories).
There are thousands of groups on LinkedIn and many have thousands of members. Once you are approved for membership in a group (sometimes automatic and sometimes requires approval by group manager), you can begin to dialogue with other members through the Discussion Forums. Be careful not to sell – be a valuable contributor.
ACCESS: Opening your Profile for everyone to see is the easiest thing to do and the very thing that most people do wrong! Once you have your profile ready to go, open the settings and set it to Full View. Remember, this is your online classified ad about you. What is the point if you don’t let people know about you? I am continually baffled by people who limit access to their profile. It makes total sense on a site like Facebook where you are sharing personal photos and information. But LinkedIn is your professional persona and there is no reason to hide the information.
Recruiters, hiring managers, potential clients, or new business associates will look to LinkedIn to check you out. If they can’t see the information you are slowing down the potential for new business. If you develop your profile the way you want yourself to be known, there is absolutely no reason not to make your profile public.
If you haven’t done so already, please send me an invitation to connect today.
Also, send Marc Ostrofsky, author of Get Rich Click an invitation as well.