LinkedIn is a networker’s dream: an easy way to learn about, and reach out to, millions of businesspeople and thousands of employers. Yet many LinkedIn users don’t take advantage of the site’s features even though the vast majority are free.
Here are my top 25 recommendations for getting past “Well, I’ve got a login” and making the site really work for you, whether you’re job hunting, hiring, growing your entrepreneurial business, or just seeing and being seen in the online branding arena.
You’ll start by creating your LinkedIn profile and adding connections. Then you’ll use LinkedIn’s fancier features to do such things as reach out to friends of friends, join a Group or a LinkedIn Answers conversation, or enhance your profile with apps.
Our first 13 LinkedIn tips focus on your profile:
Name: Use your “business” name. My given name is Elizabeth but no one calls me that, so I use Liz in my profile and on my business card. Don’t add extraneous information in the Name field (like “5,000+ connections”) unless you want to brand the size of your Rolodex rather than yourself.
Headline: Your LinkedIn headline, just below your name, is a huge branding opportunity. When another user searches the LinkedIn user database, your name and headline are the only things they’ll see before deciding whether to click on your full profile. Make your headline count. “Marketing Manager” isn’t much of a branding statement, but “Marketer Specializing in Social/Content Marketing for Hospitals” separates you from the pack.