A LinkedIn primer for leaders

October 26, 2017

6 ways to network on LinkedIn

What’s the best way to get a job right now? Networking. That’s what 80% of human resources executives said, in response to a Challenger, Gray & Christmas survey.

To reap the benefits of your network, you’ll first want to make sure it’s as strongly woven as a trapeze net. Start by effectively deploying LinkedIn, the top online networking tool.

Susan Colantuono, CEO of Leading Women and author of No Ceiling, No Walls, says she uses LinkedIn in six ways to nurture her network:

  1. Open and read LinkedIn’s weekly updates. Has someone gotten a promotion? Are friends attending an interesting event? Take the opportunity to send a quick “Congrats!”  or “Sounds interesting!” note. That’s a network-nurturing move.
  2. Post an event. If you’re attending or hosting an event, let the world know. Invite people in your network, or set up a “meet.”
  3. Visit your home page. Colantuono says that, while looking at her home page recently, she saw a friend’s name and realized she’d been out of touch for a long time. It prompted her to reconnect.
  4. Respond to discussions. If you’ve joined a group, selectively engage in discussions to build your online professional presence.
  5. Spread the word about a job. “It’s a great way to help a colleague,” she says.
  6. Recommend a book. You sound smart, and it helps the people in your network learn and grow.

— Adapted from “Seven Ways to Use LinkedIn,” Susan Colantuono, PINK.


Do’s & don’ts


Obtain a professional-looking photo with either a work background or no background. Data from LinkedIn shows that users with photos are seven times more likely to be contacted about opportunities.

Post your complete work history. That doesn’t mean every single job, but a picture of your relevant experience.

Gather at least 50 connections. That brings second- and third-degree LinkedIn connections—those important “weak links” that studies show are most likely to pay off for jobs, referrals and new business.

Simplify your URL. Change your LinkedIn settings so that your profile’s web address is simple, like LinkedIn.com/in/YourName, instead of an enormous default URL. This way, you can add it to your email signature.

Lavish attention on your headline and summary. People see these in search results, so they are your best pitch.

Bonus tip: Model your profile on the bios you admire. You’ll find them on their organizations’ websites.


Don’t use the same boring words everybody uses: including creative, effective, innovative, dynamic, motivated and extensive experience.

Don’t be greedy. Or, as one career coach calls it, a “gimme-gimme networker” who asks for but never gives help. Swap industry info in a status update or help with a referral.

Don’t assume you’re famous. Putting “Founder, Wonder Widgets” in your headline presumes that everybody knows about Wonder Widgets. And cares.

Source: Investor’s Business Daily.


Polish your profile

Your LinkedIn profile establishes your professional reputation and is an outstanding way to showcase your credentials and expertise. Make sure you are creating the best impres­­sion of yourself by removing these words from your LinkedIn profile:

  • Various. Phrases such as “Worked on various projects” mean nothing. Specifically describe a few projects that showcase your industry or job expertise.
  • Accomplished professional. It can sound pompous. Instead, prove your success by providing specific metrics, data and other insight. For example, “In one year, I increased sales by 20 percent.”
  • Experienced. One person can use the word to describe a six-month stint at a particular job, while another uses it to describe 16 years in a particular field. It’s better to specify the number of years you have worked in a specific career.
  • Results-driven. Every organization wants to hire someone who can produce results. Rather than make that claim, detail how you have produced in the past. For example, “Promoted to manager within eight months of being hired at my previous company.”

— Adapted from “7 Phrases to Delete From Your LinkedIn Profile,” Laura Smith-Proulx, Careerealism, www.careerealism.com.


5 ways to lead with LinkedIn

Still slightly puzzled about how to turn LinkedIn to your advantage? Follow these tips and you’ll lead the pack:

  1. Have a clear purpose. Do you want to expand your network inside or outside your industry? Or would you rather work it? And why? Looking for mentors? Trade associations? The more you focus, the better luck you’ll have.
  2. Clean up your profile. Would you walk into a sales pitch and tell your prospect you’re job-hunting? Of course not. That would be like saying you have no confidence in your company or its products. Yet, that’s exactly the effect of a LinkedIn profile that sounds like a job application.
  3. Pick groups that matter. There are three good reasons to join a group:
  • Stay in touch.
  • Learn.
  • Keep up with an industry or interest.

Use 15-20 minutes a week to weed through your groups and 45 minutes to maintain connections.

  1. Use your network. Having 500+ connections doesn’t make you a networker. Every week, identify five connections and send them a brief invitation to catch up by phone. Look for ways you can help them professionally. And when you accept someone’s LinkedIn invitation, scan their profile and suggest a way you can help them. Keep it simple. If an idea doesn’t occur to you right away, move on.
  2. Be generous with your time. The Internet has made people distracted and cynical. Once you connect with somebody on LinkedIn, really connect. Be a giver.

Source: Kevin Daum, Inc.