LinkedIn is the free social media tool for professionals [similar to Facebook] for connecting with other professionals and clients.
LinkedIn is very useful in four ways:
- LinkedIn is very useful in four ways:
- Establishing a professional presence
- Establishing a corporate presence
- Defining your professional and corporate credentials
- Building a network of professional business connections
- Finding another job (if it comes to that)
NOTES BEFORE YOU START:
- When setting up your LinkedIn page do it with a desktop computer not a smaller smart phone or tablet. Only a limited number of LinkedIn options are shown on the smaller device screens, so you will not be aware of all the options that are visible on the larger screen.
- Select a professional name [if married perhaps you maiden name] that you will be known as from now on. If possible select a name that is truly unique as there may well be others with a very similar or same name. Chose a unique logon and password that you use only for LinkedIn. It is difficulty to change later.
- Only use a very professional picture as it represents you to those that don’t know you.
1. ESTABLISHING A PROFESSIONAL PRESENCE
Without a presence in the digital world, it is very difficult to be noticed. LinkedIn allows you to establish that presence that others can find easily. The tool is very easy to use, available on both Microsoft, Apple and other platforms and free.
2. DEFINING YOUR PROFESSIONAL CREDENTIALS
Having a digital professional presence, you can now define your qualifications in terms of education and experience. When starting this is usually your educational degrees, perhaps some internship experience and volunteer experience.
Later it may include awards, professional associations or papers that you have written that demonstrate experience in specific area.
With this tool you and not someone else has said who you are.
3. BUILDING A NETWORK OF PROFESSIONAL CONNECTIONS.
This digital presence now gives you a tool to begin “connecting” with other professionals that have a similar interest to yourself. Later these connections will become very nice to have when you are either looking for another place of employment or even to provide answers to questions in your field.
This network will in time include peers, past professional acquaintances including college professors or others in the field and potential future employers.
You grow you network by searching for others that may be on LinkedIn using the LinkedIn search feature. When you find one, simply ask them to connect.
Also, begin to grow your connections by using the LinkedIn feature called “groups”. Groups are formed by an individual that has a specific interest and then make the membership in the group open to attract those with a specific interest.
This might be a group of individuals that attended a specific college, lived in a specific area or has as professional interest in a specific area. Some employers/companies set up LinkedIn pages to both attract others that may have an interest in their product or service.
You apply for membership and the group administration will then “accept” you into the group. The other group members will be visible to you. Typically they will be corresponding, using the LinkedIn platform, with each other on a specific subject, usually asking a question looking for answers. This is your opportunity to do both: ask a question or providing an answer if you have expertise in that area. Eventually, you will be making “connections” with others of your professional interest.
4. FINDING ANOTHER JOB
We all change jobs from time to time. LinkedIn is a very good way to expedite that process as you have already established a network of connections in your field.
LinkedIn has a lot more possibilities for use than the initial ones described here, so look online for training (lots of YouTube tutorials) on how to use other functions to advance your professional life.
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