You’re probably already aware that LinkedIn is a force to be reckoned with; the social business platform boasts 277 million users connecting from 200 countries, all speaking in 20 different languages. At first glance, LinkedIn appears simple enough–it has a user friendly interface, a resume section, and “skills” that colleagues can endorse. However, not all profiles are received equally. Some simple strategies can ensure your C.V. stands out from the sea of candidates. In this article, we’ll show you how to master your LinkedIn Profile and network like a pro.

 

Not a Numbers Game – Connecting with Peers

 

Career experts like to talk about investing time and energy in a few “quality” relationships instead of trying to collect “friends.” In the long run, this strategy is more effective than fostering lots of mediocre acquaintances. A successful LinkedIn approach follows this guideline. In reality, most employers on LinkedIn aren’t looking to hire. They are on the site to network, just like you.

 

So don’t lead with a job request. Reach out with the intention of simply connecting with someone you respect. Be open to discussion. Be bold in adding your opinions to the conversation, but don’t expect anything out of the relationship. It might seem counterintuitive, but it works. If you have already built a good rapport, they might consider you for a future position.

 

Add Value

 

It is very common for people to ask for favors before they’ve added any value. People are naturally wary of those who ask before they give. Being generous with your time, thoughts, and energy, and it will endear you to the potential collaborators and advocates.

 

A Professional Photo – A Key to Success

 
A well lit, flattering, professionally-shot photo is essential in making a great first impression. Having a photo makes your profile eleven times more likely to be viewed. However, not all photographs convey the same message. Opt for a profile picture that presents you as an approachable professional. Smile!

 

Utilize industry keywords and “Jargon”

 

Use key terms and industry vernacular in your profile! This will optimize search engines and will let your peers know you’re a knowledgeable candidate well versed in the cutting edge. You can pepper your headline, skills, and past experience with these phrases. However: a word of caution; try to avoid cliche buzzwords. This will ensure your profile is dynamic and enjoyable to peruse.

Organize Your Profile to Put Your Best Foot Forward

 

Lead with your strengths! If you have a great education and several accolades but a less-than-impressive list of previous employment, highlight that. If you just learned a new, specialized skill, make that stand out! Emphasize the areas that you excel and ensure those sections are eye grabbing.

 

Join the Club!

 

It’s a great idea to become a member of industry-related groups. Also, check and see if there are any alumni groups you can join. Then engage in the conversation!

 

Comment on posts and articles. Makes sure your interaction is positive and articulate. Next, consider following industry influencers and analyze their marketing strategies. Steal their techniques and mold them to fit your own image. (Don’t copy what they say, just the way they say it.) It may seem calculated, and in some respects, it is! However, you can still market yourself in a fashion that feels authentic. It’s all trial and error. The biggest step is just putting yourself out there.

 

Create Your Own Corner of LinkedIn

 

Create a company page and your own LinkedIn group. Post updates and articles you find useful. Studies suggest that the best time to share content is morning to midday. Make sure your followers are reading the insightful article you shared while they’re sipping their coffee and getting ready for the day.

 

Have a Cohesive Strategy

 

Sit down and make a list of what you want to do with your business. What kind of mark do you want to leave on the world? How would you like to be remembered or perceived? Jot all these ideas down and work backward. Taking big ideas and whittling them down into bite-sized, daily activities can make overwhelming tasks manageable. Stay “on brand” and keep your message consistent. Then, if you find yourself questioning a marketing decision, ask yourself, “Does this fit my vision, my personal mission statement?” If not, ditch it and opt for something else.
Now go out there and network!