LinkedIn has become an incredibly useful, effective tool for professional networking, development and of course, for your job search. LinkedIn can be an incredibly powerful networking tool if approached and maintained properly. I had the opportunity to work with a LinkedIn strategist to assist me in creating a profile that worked for my job search at the time, but a page that would also be sustainable and useful once I was in a settled position. The very first sentence out of the strategist’s mouth was, “LinkedIn is purely for professional networking purposes, leave your social networking to Facebook, Twitter and other more appropriate sites.” I truly valued his message because it is important to view your LinkedIn page as an opportunity to grow and network professionally without having to mingle it with social, personal media. Another invaluable lesson I learned was to always include a simple message when inviting someone to connect to your network. The default option is to send a general request to connect to your network, but instead of falling back on the default option, you can include a specialized message to be sent with your request. It seems tedious, but I have found that a short simple message that is tailored to the other person such as, “I really enjoyed meeting you last week at the event, please accept my request to connect,” or, if it someone you may know from the past, I like to include a little personal message such as, “Congratulations on your incredible accomplishment, please accept my request to connect, I look forward to networking with you in the future.” This may seem unnecessary, but I cannot tell you how many people have commented on how much they appreciated my personalized request. Another great thing about LinkedIn is that it is a live 24/7 advertisement of “You” available to the entire corporate world via the internet, in that regard, make sure your profile is unique, robust and accurately captures the professional you are. Four big things to take away from this: (1) If you don’t already have a LinkedIn Profile, take the time to create one; (2) Consider LinkedIn to be your professional-only networking society, leave social media to the appropriate outlets; (3) When you start seeking out connections, take the time to personalize a message to let the other person know you are genuine; (4) Your LinkedIn profile is advertising you 24/7, set yourself apart with a unique, robust and eye-catching profile.
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