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This Is How You Should Be Using LinkedIn To Be More Successful

This Is How You Should Be Using LinkedIn To Be More Successful

“Eventually everything connects – people, ideas, objects. The quality of the connections is the key to quality per se.” – Charles Eames

In the world of business, making connections is key and most people understand the way to do this is through networking. If you are great at networking, it can grow your business fast. At the same time, there are a lot of ways to make good connections. You can go to different events, conferences, or create your own event and invite the relevant audience to your event. But these methods consume a lot of time, and connecting to each and every person in an event is just impossible. Fortunately, thanks to technology and platforms such as LinkedIn, you can now network in the comfort of your office chair.

Since it is possible to connect to people in just a few clicks it is important to make sure that you have the right strategy. Here are 5 ways for you to be more successful using LinkedIn:

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Identify Your Goal

LinkedIn is a professional networking site and with the millions of people that you can connect to in this site, you may get lost accepting and making unnecessary connections. This is the reason why you should be identifying your goal in using this. Do you want to build strong connections and get to know them better with the idea of developing a potential for collaboration down the road? Do you just want to see who the people in your network are working with? Are you looking for a new position? Whatever the goal that you have identified is, make sure to stick with it and always have it in mind when making and accepting connections.

Complete Your Profile

It is all about your profile. Since you are connecting to people via internet, they don’t know anything about you other than what they can see on your account, so make sure you have a complete profile. Start with a professional photo. Your photo should give the impression that you are a credible person and you can talk about business. Profiles with photos get 4x more views on LinkedIn. While you may enjoy taking selfies, this is not the platform to have that uploaded. Keep your selfies on Facebook and get a well taken professional headshot for your LinkedIn.

Make use of the summary section to write a good introduction about yourself, highlighting the milestones in your chosen industry and providing more information on your accomplishments. Write it in first person, as if you are talking to the reader. Don’t forget to put all of your experiences in your career and list all of the certifications you have acquired. Proof read and get someone else to proof read it for you. Ensure there are no grammatical errors. Nothing is a bigger turn off than a profile that is badly written.

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Join LinkedIn Groups

Once you are done with completing your profile, start searching for things and topics you are interested in and start joining the relevant groups. Try to join at least 50 groups. This will expand your network quickly and you can also share relevant content in the groups and make use of the groups to gain the right connections.

This is also important for expanding beyond your current network as being active in certain groups will raise your profile for that topic.

Solicit Positive and Credible Recommendations

The first people you will connect to on LinkedIn are, of course, people you have worked with. To back-up your experience, skills, professionalism, and your whole personality as a professional, you should solicit recommendations. Start by going to the people you have worked with and giving them recommendations. Generally, they will then write about you in return. This will serve as a good reference for your prospects.

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Never solicit recommendations from someone you don’t know. Also never recommend someone you don’t know. There are many people messaging strangers to for solicit positive recommendations promising a positive recommendation in return. This is fraud and should be avoided. Remember that your reputation is key so do not ruin it with such shady practices.

Connect to People with a Personal Touch

Connecting to people is often just a simple click for a request to connect. However, if you wish to be truly successful at creating great connections on LinkedIn, add a personal touch into it. Take a look at their profile and find out what commonalities you have. Send them a personal message mentioning the things you have in common and the person will be more likely to respond.

If you would really want to connect to a specific person and tried sending them a message but didn’t get a response, request for an introduction from a common connection. This normally helps to open doors easily.

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Alternatively, check the groups that the person is part of and join that group. If you have seen that person commenting into something or have posted something, connect with them by replying. This will get their attention and may want to look into your profile. Again, add a personal touch when connecting to them.

Post and Share

To increase the exposure of your profile and get more people into your network, always create and post something related to your business on LinkedIn then share it on your social media accounts. For your posts, always think of your prospects or the group of people that you want to target. Make your posts especially for them so that you can get their attention. Research on a topic if you need to and create a unique idea from it to get your target market more interested. Be sure to tag your posts accordingly so that they can be picked up and shown correctly on Pulse.

I’ve given you the 6 ways on how to be more successful in LinkedIn. Just follow these ways and you’ll see the difference. Lastly, after you have done everything that I’ve told you, look at your profile and ask yourself – If I am the prospect, would I want to connect with this person on this profile? If you answered YES for yourself then you are doing a good job. If otherwise, go back to identifying your goal.

Featured photo credit: Stokpic via stokpic.com

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Last Updated on April 17, 2019

10 Essential Soft Skills That Will Help Advance Your Career

10 Essential Soft Skills That Will Help Advance Your Career

What’s the secret of professional success? Some of it lies in the mastery of your discipline and all the technical skills you have to carry out your job; but a much bigger part lies in the soft skills list you possess.

Soft skills are your people or relationship skills—how well you get along with others and your ability to communicate and collaborate—as well as the personal characteristics you bring to the job, such as optimism, a can-do attitude and the motivation to work hard. These skills are not always easy to point out, but their absence can cause serious problems and negatively affect the whole work atmosphere.

They say that hard skills will help you get the job, but soft skills will help you get along—and get ahead. With that in mind, here’s the top-10 essential soft skills list to help you advance your career.

1. Communication Skills

Communication skills are hands-down the most sought-after soft skill that bosses want, and this one ability covers a lot of ground.

To communicate well, you have to listen carefully, interpret the context of the conversation, express yourself clearly, persuade others of your point of view, check your body language and use an engaging presentation style that won’t intimidate or bore your audience. That’s a big ask!

Your personality traits can influence the way you communicate with others. For instance, some people get straight to the point and center their arguments around facts and logic; others are cooperative and sensitive to how others feel. Both these approaches are equally valuable but there can be misunderstandings if you don’t understand where the other person is coming from.

Taking a comprehensive personality test can help you understand why you communicate the way you do and where your blind spots are. It can also help you understand other communication styles is so you can tailor your communication to the person you’re dealing with.

After all, connecting with your conversation partner is the hallmark of good communication.

2. Flexibility

Change is an essential part of any business. Companies need employees who are flexible enough to work with new initiatives, open to new ideas, and generally are able to tough it out when things don’t go as planned.

Research has found a link between job performance and flexibility over the long term because there will be times when you have to step outside your routine and rise to fresh challenges that didn’t exist before.

Being flexible doesn’t mean you have to hop into a new task or job role like an expert. Rather, it’s about showing you’re willing to accept new responsibility and learn different things.

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Bosses look for people who are prepared to step outside their comfort zones and are open to alternative solutions when their first idea doesn’t work.

3. Being a Team Player

Working on a team can be challenging but learning to do it well can definitely help you get ahead in your career. Employers look for people who can negotiate, cooperate and manage conflicts with other people to achieve a common goal. That includes the ability to build lasting relationships with customers and clients.

What makes a good team player? Essentially, it’s someone who knows the goal and knows her role. Employers look for evidence that you know your strengths, your responsibilities and how you can best contribute to the team, then put those skills into action by sharing ideas and communicating in a respectful manner. That’s the definition of being a good team player.

This is another area where taking a personality test can help you get ahead. When teams work together, each member brings a unique set of skills and qualities to the group. Research has shown that different combinations of personalities affect how teams collaborate and how productive they are.

Knowing who you are, and how you work on a team, can drive new insights and open the door to better teamwork.

4. Positive Mental Attitude

There are plenty of things you can’t change at work, like the people you work with or the fact that the printer is broken again. The one thing you can change is how much you let these things bother you.

Bosses like people who are calm, rational and upbeat—those who diffuse tensions in the workplace, not get all grouchy and go around slamming doors.

Studies show that people who maintain a sunny disposition have better relationships at work, are happier in their jobs and make better decisions than those who whine and complain. Some suggest that a positive mental attitude can also make you live longer—which means it’s beneficial for every area of your life![1]

It’s not always easy to keep a “glass half full” mentality when work is stressful and the deadlines are piling up. But there are some things you can do to help maintain a positive attitude. Laughing at your unfortunate circumstances keeps the work environment positive, and taking “sanity” breaks can help you keep your cool in high-pressure situations.

Managers look for positive mental attitude in a team member that is ready for a promotion, so it really does pay to keep your cool in challenging situations.

5. A Strong Work Ethic

People with a strong work ethic are committed to the role, persevere when things get tough and are inspired by challenge. These people are ambassadors for the organization, and will always be seen as top talent and ideal candidates.

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If you can exhibit this skill, then expect to be seen as a great candidate, eligible for new opportunities and positions throughout your career.

Since a strong work ethic can mean different things to different people, it helps to show specific examples of your exceptional work ethic during a performance appraisal or interview. For instance, you might talk about:

  • A time when you persisted in the face of challenges and did not shy away from hard work.
  • How you volunteered to help with projects even though these tasks did not form part of your job description.
  • The networking, workplace learning and skills betterment you’ve undertaken, which shows ambition and drive (people with a strong work ethic have those qualities in spades).
  • How you own your mistakes and never, ever point the finger of blame at others.

For help with building a strong work ethic, check out these tips: How to Build a Reliable Work Ethic

6. Public Speaking

Who’s terrified of public speaking? Pretty much everyone, since public speaking is America’s number one fear, ahead of death at number five and loneliness at number seven.

Yet, according to Warren Buffett, mastering this one skill you could increase your personal value by 50 percent.[2] That’s huge!

If you’re not natural at public speaking, you’re in good company. Buffett had to work hard to overcome his stage fright and once dropped out of a public-speaking course before it started—because he was afraid of public speaking! He eventually realized that he needed to build up his confidence by just doing it; over and over in front of small groups.

For a more structured approach, Toastmasters International teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a variety of pathways. Membership of this non-profit looks good on your resume but the real payoff will come when you can put your newfound skills to use on the job or in the interview room.

Or, you can check out this advice: The Ultimate Public Speaking Tips to Hook and Impress Any Audience

7. Integrity

From a manager’s point of view, the two integrity skills that will set you apart are:

  • Always doing what you say you will do
  • Owning an error instead of minimizing or hiding it

…even when no one is around to check up on you.

There are lots of people who have climbed the ladder without scruples, but they are not the people who others trust, respect and support when promotion time comes around.

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Behaving with integrity is a safe and consistent way to enhance your reputation and achieve your professional goals.

8. Managing Your Time

Phone calls, texts, Slack pings, meetings, huddles, side projects, multitasking—we are busier today than any generation before us. There’s no denying the workplace is an incredibly distracting place to be.

A lot of us have traded effectiveness for busyness which we wear as a badge of honor, both as a proxy for productivity and to show our value to the company. But what bosses want, what they really, really want, is someone who actually gets stuff done on time.

Time management is not merely the art of being on time, but of managing your time so you focus on the projects that really matter and add value to the business. This means prioritizing well, sticking to schedules, delegating, and not getting distracted by tasks that are easier to perform or less important. It means planning ahead and learning when it’s appropriate to say no.

Time management can be a tough skill to maintain, but not a difficult one to pick up. Monitor your actions for a few days—how long do your tasks take to finish? What’s interrupting you? What causes you to lose focus? Once you have the answers to these questions, you can set a schedule for yourself to make sure you’re spending your time wisely and this valuable asset is never wasted.

These 20 Quick Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity are also great to try.

9. Assertiveness

In any workplace, you typically will find people with the following conflict styles:

  • Passive: Those who go out of their way to avoid conflict.
  • Passive-aggressive: Those who express their negative feelings through actions rather than words.
  • Aggressive: Those who respond to conflict in a hostile and rude manner. These people get their opinion heard but they won’t make any friends in the process.
  • Assertive: People who stick up for their rights while still respecting the rights of others.

Managers look for assertiveness above all other styles because it allows decisions to be made without conflict or alienating people.

How do you use this information for yourself?

It starts with understanding your personality so you can anticipate how you will react when conflict arises and address your own shortcomings. Then, you can start influencing the team for top results, and securing your own career advancement in the process.

Learn how to be assertive and gain respect:

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How to Be Assertive and Stand up for Yourself the Smart Way

10. Creative Thinking

LinkedIn recently analyzed over 50,000 skills that employers search for when looking for candidates to find out what skills are currently in demand.[3] Taking the number-one slot on the 2019 soft skills list was creativity: the ability to solve problems and think outside the box.

Creativity is about bringing fresh, and sometimes unorthodox, ideas to the table. This helps companies to innovate, and companies that do not innovate will not survive very long.

How do you showcase your creative thinking skills? The golden rule is to participate.

Be brave and share your ideas during group brainstorming sessions. Volunteer to run a society, networking event or recruitment drive. Ask “what if” questions: “What if we add this information to the client welcome pack?” “What if we eliminate step 3 from the process?”

These activities demonstrate that you’re prepared to go beyond “business as usual” towards creative problem solving—an ability that will serve you every day, all throughout your career.

You can learn to unleash your creativity power:

What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

Final Thoughts

The good news? Every item on this soft skills list can be learned. Although you may feel lacking in certain areas, taking an inventory of your strengths and weaknesses will allow you to focus in on the areas that you’ll benefit from developing.

So take an inventory of your personality, skills, and talents. This will give you a baseline for your communication style, attitude to change, conscientiousness and more. You can then identify your weak areas and develop strategies for improving your team-building, assertiveness and conflict skills.

The better news? The effort is worth it. Developing your soft skills opens the door to a new job or a promotion, and helps you succeed once you get there.

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Featured photo credit: Rachael Gorjestani via unsplash.com

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