You don’t have to use LinkedIn solely to post jobs, attract new employees, or apply for jobs.
LinkedIn is a wonderful tool that can help you grow a mutually-beneficial referral network or advance in your career as a team or business leader. The key is to use LinkedIn as more than an online resume.
When I help a client with his or her LinkedIn profile, I can’t stress enough the value of actually using LinkedIn as the networking platform that it is. The thought of networking can be intimidating, but LinkedIn makes it easier.
Before you start networking on LinkedIn, there are a few LinkedIn tips for managers that shouldn’t be overlooked. After all, you are a leader at work; you could be a leader on LinkedIn as well.
1 | Making Your Profile Too Private
If you’re one of the many people concerned with privacy on the Internet, this is one platform where you just need to get over it. You can set most of your profile details to “Private,” but you will miss out on networking opportunities.
Why? If you’re only using LinkedIn to stay connected to your co-workers then you’re not using LinkedIn for what it’s designed for: a networking platform. As a management professional, connecting with other leaders in your field will open up opportunities for you down the road. Making your profile photo, last name, and other details too private will deter LinkedIn users from networking with you.
2 | Settling For The Default Headline
Your Headline is your Name’s shadow on LinkedIn. This 120-character line will be seen wherever your name is seen on LinkedIn, so settling for the default “Position Title at Company Name” Headline is not helping you in search results or the news feed.
Instead, you should create a condensed Branding Statement that is keyword-optimized to improve your visibility in LinkedIn searches. A more creative Branding Statement that highlights your achievements or top skills will also encourage others to view your profile and even connect with you.
3 | Skipping The Summary Section
Your Summary section is where you can showcase your leadership skills and career goals, so why doesn’t your profile have one yet? You have 2,000 characters to work with, so use your Summary section to:
Introduce yourself and your leadership skills
Highlight your achievements
Describe your career goals, and
Encourage others to connect with you
4 | Listing Only Position Titles & Dates
I see this more often than not. You create your LinkedIn profile and fill in the bare minimum to get online as quickly as possible. Often this means only listing your work history with minimal to no detail. Why are you not highlighting your achievements as you would on your resume?
Your Experience section should describe a typical day or week for you managing people, programs, projects, systems, processes, operations, and budgets within each role you’ve held for the last 10-15 years. You can copy-and-paste a bullet list of achievements for each position you’ve held, too.
5 | Adding Dates To Their Education Section
This is an area where most managers fail to showcase their leadership strengths and draw more attention to their age. Your Education section shouldn’t list your attendance or graduation dates unless you received the degree in the last five years.
Instead, use the Description field for each degree that you list to list any coursework that boosts your credibility as a team or business leader. You can also list your honors or a superb GPA, but avoid details that age you in a negative way.
6 | Disappearing From The News Feed
Remember that LinkedIn was designed to be a networking platform, and networking begins in the news feed. If you are unable to set aside 15 minutes a few times a week to engage with your connections in the news feed by liking and commenting on posts, you shouldn’t have a LinkedIn profile.
Not sure how to contribute to the news feed? As a team or business leader, you likely search for management tips or industry-related information in your free time. Share these resources with your network and add your opinion to the post. You’ll even improve your visibility in search results on LinkedIn when you’re actively using LinkedIn.
7 | Not Returning Messages
Building a networking relationship in the news feed is difficult which is why most avid LinkedIn users will move the conversation to Messages. If you’re not checking and answering your Messages on LinkedIn, you’re hurting your reputation on LinkedIn. Yes, you will occasionally get promotional messages or SPAM; ignore these and focus on building professional networking relationships with your co-workers, colleagues, and industry leaders.
Simply responding to your LinkedIn Messages (like you would an email) will present opportunities that otherwise wouldn’t be available whether you’re looking to climb the corporate ladder or simply grow your referral network.
Use LinkedIn for the networking platform that it is starting with being more active in the news feed.