In the world of business, there’s the old saying – it’s not what you know but whom you know. While it’s more likely a combination of the two, the basic concept still applies in the virtual business world. LinkedIn is a useful and strategic business networking tool that you can use to create and maintain contact with current and former colleagues, meet new ones, showcase samples of your work, keep informed about current happenings in your industry, get a new job – essentially, to keep in touch with those you know. However you use LinkedIn, there are a number of ways that you can make sure that your profile is visible to those you know, or want to know.
- Complete your profile following the rules we have outlined in our article “The 7 essentials of success with LinkedIn”
- Number of contacts: Remember the commercial “She told two friends, and they told two friends…”? That same principle applies to your LinkedIn profile. The more contacts you add, the more people who can see your profile. Don’t forget about former professors or instructors, managers, current and former colleagues, members of professional affiliations, classmates; branching out is important to creating or finding those hidden opportunities.
- There are several Open Networker sites where you may buy a very low cost annual subscription and receive hundreds of invitations per month. This will help you grow your network.
- Number of groups: In addition to the individuals who can see your profile, you can also increase the number of groups to which you belong (maximum 50). This is useful because you do not have to have a connection with the users in the group, only a shared interest, occupation, and the like. You may end up connecting with these users too.
- Group discussions, posts: In meetings, which people might you remember more than others? Those who speak up! Though you cannot actually speak in LinkedIn, you can make sure that you are “heard” by joining and posting in group discussions. Interesting or thought-provoking posts, or intelligent questions, will keep you as a focal point in that group, which can lead to more contacts, and therefore, greater visibility.
- Status messages: Using the Status feature, you can let all of your contacts know where you are or what you are currently doing. If your details pique the interest of your contacts, you will remain longer in their memory – and stay mentally visible. If your statuses mention projects or ideas that one of your contacts may need, you could be opening the door to yet another opportunity.
- Log form posts: Recently added, these allow you to write and post your own articles and have your network made aware of them.
- Details, details: Filling in fields and checking boxes is generally not a fun way to spend your time, but it can be very important to your success. In addition to the typical work experience and educational background, you can use LinkedIn to specify the languages you speak, patents you have received, certifications you have completed, publications in which you have been published – anything to make your accomplishments be seen to current contacts. Optimizing your LinkedIn profile this way also increases the number of times your name appears in search results for any non-contacts.
Being visible in LinkedIn is critical to your business success, if you are en entrepreneur and also to find your next position, if you are a professional in transition, so follow the tips above to help make sure your profile is noticed.