If you are working toward your professional development goals, LinkedIn is an invaluable tool that helps you stay up-to-date on industry news, enhance your professional reputation, and increase your visibility so that you can network effectively. This article will teach you how!

LinkedIn is one of the most powerful career boosting and professional development platforms. It has transformed the way we network online and has helped millions of people develop professionally and reach their career goals. If you are working toward your professional development goals, LinkedIn is an invaluable tool that helps you stay up-to-date on industry news, enhance your professional reputation, and increase your visibility so that you can network effectively. 

Here are some fundamental Dos and Don’ts of networking on LinkedIn: 

Make Your Profile Stand Out

Optimizing your profile will help you stand out and will inspire people to engage with you and your content. Some things to consider are:

  • Choose a friendly, approachable profile picture: opt for a professional photo in which you are dressed appropriately for your profession and are smiling. A clean background also helps to ensure that the focus is on you. 
  • Add a background image (or a “banner”/”cover” image) to your profile: choose something that reflects your personality and profession. 
  • Write a clear and concise bio that includes keywords related to your profession: the best bios also always include a summary of who you are, what you do, and your value.  
  • Fill in all fields: this means adding your current position, previous positions, education, accomplishments, skills and endorsements, and featuring your work. 

The trick with building a profile that will make you stand out is to optimize it completely using the tips above while also adding your own flavour to the mix. Be yourself. Authenticity is always key.

Connect With People You Know

This is what networking is all about—making connections. Start off easy by connecting with the people you know such as your past and present employers and coworkers. You can invite anyone to connect with you on LinkedIn (and vice versa) and an accepted connection becomes what is known as a “first-degree” connection. You should make a minimum of 50 first-degree connections on LinkedIn for best results. Another good way to set goals for connections is to multiply your age by 10 (for example, if you are 30, aim for 300 connections). 

A great strategy for networking with like-minded individuals is to go through your first-degree connection’s connections (known as “second-degree connections'' on LinkedIn) and start adding them to your network. This helps your connections number grow on LinkedIn, which helps you become more discoverable via searches on the platform. 

Connect With People You Don’t Know 

This is the nerve-wracking part about networking: reaching out to people you don’t know. If you’re nervous about talking to new people, especially those you admire or want to follow in their professional development footsteps, here are some strategies to take: 

  • Introduce yourself: do this before you send a connection request so that it gives the other person a chance to get to know you a bit. 
  • Be genuine: don’t act like someone you’re not or someone you are trying to be. People will see through that and feel less inclined to engage with you meaningfully (which is the point of networking, after all). You’re a human—be a human. 
  • Explain your intention: once you’ve made a genuine connection with someone, now’s the time to ask them questions or pick their brain about their specific industry, profession, etc. Before you do this though, state your intentions, current position, and career goals to demonstrate that you are truly passionate about your profession instead of just trying to find easy answers.
  • Be respectful of people’s time: we’re all busy people so it’s important to not overstep. Small asks that can be answered in a few minutes will work better and yield more results than asking for large favours. Remember that people on LinkedIn do not know you and will feel no obligation to help you. Interact with people respectfully and try to build a relationship above all else. 
Join Groups and Be Active

Being active in your groups shows that you care about that specific topic. It also gets your name out there, available for recruiters and employers to see. With that being said, be sure that you  add value to your group with every discussion post or resource link. Self-promotion is okay on your personal page, but it won’t be well received in LinkedIn groups. To start, try writing insightful comments that show you’re truly engaging with the content. 

Create LinkedIn Specific Content 

Every social media platform requires different types of content in order to engage the specific platform’s audience. In a nutshell: content you would post on Instagram isn’t LinkedIn friendly and should not be used on this platform. Stay active on your LinkedIn profile by creating content that will engage your LinkedIn audience. Content that performs well on LinkedIn will be useful, informative, and relevant to your connections. 

A great tip to follow is to do what you do best. This means if you have writing skills, write and post blog posts or articles. LinkedIn allows you to publish articles via its Publishing Platform, which makes your article appear on your profile but also have it potentially be shared by other users and appear in search engine results. Conversely, if you thrive on camera, work to that strength by filming informative videos. You can either upload a pre-recorded video to LinkedIn from your device or you can record one on LinkedIn. If you choose to record your video on LinkedIn, use the built-in filters and stickers to add some flair to your video. Plus, always remember to caption your videos for accessibility!

When it comes to LinkedIn, you get what you put in. If you follow these LinkedIn networking tips and tricks consistently, you’ll start to see the networking results you desire. 

When you’re ready to step up your professional development goals, my career coaching services are here for you.

Contact me today or visit my Services page to learn more about how I can help you tell your story and find your dream job!