As a student coming to the end of a three year degree and having the petrifying realisation that it is time to re-join society as a fully-fledged, 9 till 5 working adult, how on earth do you even start to look for prospective jobs? That’s where LinkedIn comes in. When people talk about social media platforms, one I rarely consider is LinkedIn. Why? Because, ignorantly, I didn’t even think of LinkedIn as a social media. I have a profile which hasn’t been touched since it was created and I pushed it to one side . Guest Speaker, Greg Cooper, is a LinkedIn coach who preaches about the power and necessity of using LinkedIn to network and promote your business. Greg held a seminar at the Salisbury BBE yesterday explaining what LinkedIn can do for you. And with 22,000,00 users in the UK, I have now 100% reconsidered LinkedIn as an extremely powerful tool to reach people in your industry.
LinkedIn differs from other platforms like Twitter and Facebook, because its primary intention isn’t for users to sell, sell, sell. Rather, it’s used to build relationships and your reputation. Other users can send you invites and vice-versa; you can invite anyone to become a connection with you. The search feature allows you to find and build an audience of connections you can then work with. You are open to adding a whole host of personas – potential clients, customers, suppliers or influencers.
Your LinkedIn profile
Your profile is your shop window. Starting with the very first thing anybody viewing your page will see; the profile picture. It’s worth taking some head shots in a professional environment where you appear amenable and approachable. Mug shots or mid-sneeze photos won’t cut it! Below your picture is your strap-line – this needs to gain people’s attention. LinkedIn defaults this to your job title but you can change this to a bullet pointed skills. The largest piece of writing that’s going to really define you as a person is your summary. It should be straight to the point and honest, with a list of your skills and what you do. You can put your own twist on your summary by getting creative and witty to stand out from other people in the same industry. Another area that allows potential clients to see your skills is the recommendations section; encourage your friends or anyone you’ve worked with to add this to your page.
Once you have found and made connections with the relevant people you can engage with them online. Send them relevant articles or direct message them. You should build up and engage in contact slowly and then you can take it offline. This is where you sell your business as you have already formed the basis of a relationship online.
Another aspect of LinkedIn that I have struggled with is how to make your page look more enticing. LinkedIn allows you to post articles. This is a way of adding more media to your page and giving your audience an insight into your abilities. Make sure to include an eye-catching picture so your profile stands out. There are also group posts you can get involved with. The more you reach out to people, the more replies you will get and from that, potentially more connections.
In conclusion, the most important thing I’ve taken away from the seminar is that you can’t be shy. If there’s someone you want to make a connection with who’s going to benefit your business, bite the bullet and send them a message! You can create a strong audience full of important contacts on LinkedIn but they’re useless if you don’t use them. So, I’m now going to update my profile and commit to the daunting but necessary task of finding a post-grad career with my new and improved LinkedIn skills.