I’ve often said that my use of LinkedIn can be classified as extreme, almost bordering on a sickness. No lie; I’m on LinkedIn every day of the year for at least half an hour a day. There are other people like me, maybe worse.
You might be wondering why I use LinkedIn as often as I do. First, I teach hundreds of LinkedIn workshops and individual sessions a year. Second, it’s great advertisement for my side hustle, LinkedIn profiles and training. Third, I enjoy using LinkedIn.
If you think this article is about using LinkedIn as often as I and others do, don’t fret. In fact, I’m going to suggest that you don’t follow my lead. As I tell me clients, “Don’t be like me.”
So let’s talk about you. You are unemployed, underemployed, trying to leave your current job for a better one, or running a business. You don’t see using LinkedIn as often as Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. LinkedIn’s not your priority. You’re busy.
However, you realize that you have to use LinkedIn to accomplish your goals.
This article is for you busy people. I’m going to make LinkedIn doable for you by offering five tips.
- How much time to dedicate to LinkedIn.
- How you should create your profile.
- How to connect with other LinkedIn members.
- How to engage with your network.
- What to do after your land your job or have established your business.
But first, why you should use LinkedIn
Perhaps you’ve been told by do-gooders that if you use LinkedIn alone, you will land a job easily and quickly or business will pick up in a snap. That’s bunk. LinkedIn is part of your networking campaign; you’ll also have to network face-to-face. Consider LinkedIn a supplement to your face-to-face networking.
Here are three strong reasons why you should be on LinkedIn. One, anywhere between a 78%-95% of recruiters use LinkedIn to find talent. Two, LinkedIn is a great research tool, which will allow you to locate and follow or connect with pretty much anyone you want to. Three, LinkedIn can be a great professional community.
1. How much time to dedicate to LinkedIn
I’d like to say, “Whatever makes you comfortable,” but some of you might follow the average LinkedIn user who is on LinkedIn a mere 17 minutes a month, according to various sources. You might consider me judgemental when I say those people should leave LinkedIn immediately.
If you fall under the 17-minutes-a-month category, heed what I write next or close your account.
I suggest you use LinkedIn two days a week, 10 minutes a day, at a bare minimum. Better would be four days a week, 15 minutes a day. You’ll make more progress. But I know you’re busy, so do what you can.
2. How you should create your profile
Do yourself a favor by having a professional who won’t break the bank write your profile. This is if you have the resources. Most people don’t have the resources, so I’ll make this short and sweet. Copy your résumé to your profile for the time being.
Some of you LinkedIn profile pundits are groaning, even cursing me for saying this; but I’m not finished. After this—when you have time—revise your profile.
If you are struggling with verbiage, look at other profiles that reflect what you do, but do not plagiarize.
3. How to connect with other LinkedIn members
Here’s the thing: despite what you’ve been told and what you’ve seen written, connecting with others and networking online strategically, is more important than creating a kick-ass profile. More groans from the pundits in the wing.
Here’s my challenge for you: send connection invites to 10 people a week. This might seem like a lot, but my goal is to get you to 250 LinkedIn connections as quickly as possible. The question now is who to connect with? Connect with the following people:
- Your former colleagues, if you haven’t done this already;
- like-minded people who do the same type of work you do and are in similar industries;
- people at your desired companies, and;
- your alumni.
At this point, you’re wondering how you find said people, how you properly invite them to your network, and what you do after you’ve connected with them. To answer how you find them, let me simply say, “Make All Filters your best friend.” Read this now, or come back to it. But do read it.
The key to properly inviting LinkedIn members to your network is by the personalized messages you send. You might want to create templates that fit most connection-types, strictly to save time. The proper way to write invites is to tailor them to each position.
I’ve included some examples at the end of this article of the messages you can send.
The last part of the “invite process” is where most people fall down. Don’t be this person. Of course I’m talking about following up with the people you’ve invited to your network. I believe that the people who fail to do this are afraid of rejection or insulting their new connections.
4. How to engage with your network
You’re busy, so this component will also trumps a kick-ass profile, for now. You’ll have time to create a profile worthy of greatness, one that demonstrates your value through compelling narrative and knock-em-dead accomplishments.
The goal is to be noticed. To be top of mind with your network, you have to be present on LinkedIn. The old saying, “Out of sight, out of mind” is so true when it comes to LinkedIn. People in your network will see in their timeline your photo and Headline.
However, the Notifications feature will alert you to when:
- you react to or comment on a post your connections have written,
- your connections have commented or reacted to a post you’ve written,
- they’ve tagged you in a post or article,
- they’ve shared something you’ve written,
- basically anything your network has done concerning you.
You’re busy. I get that. So I’m going to ask you to take a few actions at first. See the little buggers below? When you read a post or article, hit one of them in the response to a post from one of your connections. Gasp from the LinkedIn pundits.
Next you will be writing a comment on something you’ve read or a video you’ve watched. Nothing huge, because you’re busy, but something that shows you’ve read or viewed the content. Contrary to what you might think, you do have the right to write your own content.
Total time to do this, 15 minutes. You can break it up into chunks throughout the day.
Read this article on how to engage on LinkedIn. You can simply react to it or write an insightful comment.
5. What to do after your land your job or have established your business
I know you don’t think I’m going to say, “Put LinkedIn to bed.” To the contrary; use LinkedIn as much as I’ve told you. This especially goes for you business owners but also applies for you former job seekers.
I wrote a post that has had more than 40,000 views about 8 reasons why you should still use LinkedIn after you land. It’s called I HAVE A JOB. WHY DO I NEED TO USE LINKEDIN. Read it to better understand why using LinkedIn is important after you’ve landed your next job.
Three invite examples
The cold invite
We met at the Boston Networking event. You delivered an excellent presentation. The way you talked about interviewing resonated with me. As promised, I’m inviting you to my LinkedIn network.
The reference invite
You and I are both connected with Sharon Beane. She and I work for MassHire Lowell Career Center as workshop facilitators. She strongly encouraged me to connect with you and would be willing to talk with you about me. I believe we can be of mutual assistance.
The introduction invite (probably best sent via email)
I see that you’re connected with Mark L. Brown, the director of finance at ABC Company. I’m currently in transition and am very interested in a senior financial analyst role.
Although there is no advertised position at ABC, I’d like to speak with Mark about the responsibilities of a senior financial analyst role in ABC’s finance department. It is early on in the process, so I’m also scoping out the companies on my bucket list.
I’ve attached my resume for you to distribute to Mark and anyone you know who is looking for a senior financial analyst.
PS – It was great seeing our girls duke it out in last weekend’s soccer match. I hope the two teams meet in the finals.