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The Art of the Digital Profile: Unleashing New Opportunities with LinkedIn

Posted by derek smith

November 21, 2012 at 6:00 AM

Just about every brand seems to be active on Facebook, but there are exceptions. Some people would rather direct their efforts to other social channels like Twitter and LinkedIn.

Twitter has established itself as a top-tier social network, but you might be wondering why some people put so much effort into LinkedIn. Well, because it’s the best place for personal branding and making connections with some of the more than 187 million members worldwide. And as your network scales, so do your potential opportunities.

Here are some great tactics for discovering new opportunities with LinkedIn.

Customize Your Profile

LinkedIn is full of customizable features that allow you to show your individuality and specific skill set. Use the “Add Sections” feature to customize your profile with sections like Courses, Languages and Patents that can help distinguish you from the herd.

Recruiters and numerous other companies are using LinkedIn more than ever to find high performers in every industry, so continue to customize your profile as you add more connections.

Visit Daily, Post Often

Start treating LinkedIn like you might already treat Facebook, logging in at least once daily. Think about getting more aggressive in sending out connection invites, and accept all invites from people you know.

It usually doesn’t take more than 10 minutes to send connection invites, tweak your profile or share an update such as a Slingshot blog post. It’s also easy to click the Twitter box to send it out as a Tweet, although you might not want to do that if it’s something you’ve already tweeted. In any case, think about your respective audiences: Is this a piece of content you want to share simultaneously with both Twitter and LinkedIn, or post separately?

Download the App

If you don’t feel you have time to visit the LinkedIn site daily, download the app for your mobile device. The iPhone app is easy to use and I typically spend time in the “People You May Know” tab under “Groups & More.” You can scroll down through the list of profiles and send connection invites with a single touch.

Follow Companies

LinkedIn allows you to follow companies like Slingshot SEO and learn more about their brand, job openings, products/services and more. Especially if you’re a job seeker, start following specific companies to stay updated on employment opportunities.

Don’t be Stingy with your Praise

You undoubtedly work with someone who routinely goes above and beyond, so reward them with a LinkedIn recommendation. It doesn’t take long to write one and they might even reciprocate. Regardless, it’s never a bad idea to spend time describing the awesome work done by those around you.

Now you also have a point and click option. LinkedIn recently added a feature where we can endorse the individual skills of our contacts. That way, when a recruiter visits a profile they can get an immediate sense of whether a person's colleagues are affirming their specific skills. (For example, if someone has been endorsed by 24 people for SEO, it’s a good bet they’re a thought leader.)

Emphasize Transferable Skills

New technologies will continue to create entire new industries, so it's important to not think solely of your current skills and experiences, but also the new skills you're developing and the types of problems you’re capable of solving. There's always going to be a market for people who can find creative ways to solve problems and more efficient ways of accomplishing tasks.

Upgrade Your Account?

LinkedIn offers premium features for job seekers, recruiters and others willing to upgrade their accounts.

One thing to be careful about if you’re in the job market is your Profile’s Contact Settings. If you’re currently employed, it might not sit well with your boss if you indicate you’re looking for new career options.

If you’re not proactively looking at new employment opportunities, you can set your contact opportunities to just “Reference Requests” and “Getting Back in Touch.”

Don't Oversell

Just like on a traditional paper resume, you don't want to oversell your skills. While you want to present yourself in the best possible light, it's unethical to fudge the dates you worked somewhere, add work skills you don't really have or otherwise present yourself in a false light.

So what LinkedIn tactics have worked for you? Leave us a comment below.

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