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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 March 25, 2020

How to Set Ambitious Career Goals (With Examples)

How to Set Ambitious Career Goals (With Examples)

Taking your work to the next level means setting and keeping career goals. A career goal is a targeted objective that explains what you want your ultimate profession to be.

Defining career goals is a critical step to achieving success. You need to know where you’re going in order to get there. Knowing what your career goals are isn’t just important for you–it’s important for potential employers too. The relationship between an employer and an employee works best when your goals for the future and their goals align. Saying, “Oh, I don’t know. I’ll do anything,” makes you seem indecisive, and opens you up to taking on ill-fitting tasks that won’t lead you to your dream life.

Career goal templates’ one-size-fits-all approach won’t consider your unique goals and experiences. They won’t help you stand out, and they may not reflect your full potential.

In this article, I’ll help you to define your career goals with SMART goal framework, and will provide you with a list of examples goals for work and career.

How to Define Your Career Goal with SMART

Instead of relying on a generalized framework to explain your vision, use a tried-and-true goal-setting model. SMART is an acronym for “Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic with Timelines.”[1] The SMART framework demystifies goals by breaking them into smaller steps.

Helpful hints when setting SMART career goals:

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  • Start with short-term goals first. Work on your short-term goals, and then progress the long-term interests.[2] Short-term goals are those things which take 1-3 years to complete. Long-term goals take 3-5 years to do. As you succeed in your short-term goals, that success should feed into accomplishing your long-term goals.
  • Be specific, but don’t overdo it. You need to define your career goals, but if you make them too specific, then they become unattainable. Instead of saying, “I want to be the next CEO of Apple, where I’ll create a billion-dollar product,” try something like, “My goal is to be the CEO of a successful company.”
  • Get clear on how you’re going to reach your goals. You should be able to explain the actions you’ll take to advance your career. If you can’t explain the steps, then you need to break your goal down into more manageable chunks.
  • Don’t be self-centered. Your work should not only help you advance, but it should also support the goals of your employer. If your goals differ too much, then it might be a sign that the job you’ve taken isn’t a good fit.

If you want to learn more about setting SMART Goals, watch the video below to learn how you can set SMART career goals.

After you’re clear on how to set SMART goals, you can use this framework to tackle other aspects of your work. For instance, you might set SMART goals to improve your performance review, look for a new job, or shift your focus to a different career.

We’ll cover examples of ways to use SMART goals to meet short-term career goals in the next section.

Why You Need an Individual Development Plan

Setting goals is one part of the larger formula for success. You may know what you want to do, but you also have to figure out what skills you have, what you lack, and where your greatest strengths and weaknesses are.

One of the best ways to understand your capabilities is by using the Science Careers Individual Development Plan skills assessment. It’s free, and all you need to do is register an account and take a few assessments.

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These assessments will help you determine if your career goals are realistic. You’ll come away with a better understanding of your unique talents and skill-sets. You may decide to change some of your career goals or alter your timeline based on what you learn.

40 Examples of Goals for Work & Career

All this talk of goal-setting and self-assessment may sound great in theory, but perhaps you need some inspiration to figure out what your goals should be.

For Changing a Job

  1. Attend more networking events and make new contacts.
  2. Achieve a promotion to __________ position.
  3. Get a raise.
  4. Plan and take a vacation this year.
  5. Agree to take on new responsibilities.
  6. Develop meaningful relationships with your coworkers and clients.
  7. Ask for feedback on a regular basis.
  8. Learn how to say, “No,” when you are asked to take on too much.
  9. Delegate tasks that you no longer need to be responsible for.
  10. Strive to be in a leadership role in __ number of years.

For Switching Career Path

  1. Pick up and learn a new skill.
  2. Find a mentor.
  3. Become a volunteer in the field that interests you.
  4. Commit to getting training or going back to school.
  5. Read the most recent books related to your field.
  6. Decide whether you are happy with your work-life balance and make changes if necessary. [3]
  7. Plan what steps you need to take to change careers.[4]
  8. Compile a list of people who could be character references or submit recommendations.
  9. Commit to making __ number of new contacts in the field this year.
  10. Create a financial plan.

For Getting a Promotion

  1. Reduce business expenses by a certain percentage.
  2. Stop micromanaging your team members.
  3. Become a mentor.
  4. Brainstorm ways that you could improve your productivity and efficiency at work
  5. Seek a new training opportunity to address a weakness.[5]
  6. Find a way to organize your work space.[6]
  7. Seek feedback from a boss or trusted coworker every week/ month/ quarter.
  8. Become a better communicator.
  9. Find new ways to be a team player.
  10. Learn how to reduce work hours without compromising productivity.

For Acing a Job Interview

  1. Identify personal boundaries at work and know what you should do to make your day more productive and manageable.
  2. Identify steps to create a professional image for yourself.
  3. Go after the career of your dreams to find work that does not feel like a job.
  4. Look for a place to pursue your interest and apply your knowledge and skills.
  5. Find a new way to collaborate with experts in your field.
  6. Identify opportunities to observe others working in the career you want.
  7. Become more creative and break out of your comfort zone.
  8. Ask to be trained more relevant skills for your work.
  9. Ask for opportunities to explore the field and widen your horizon
  10. Set your eye on a specific award at work and go for it.

Career Goal Setting FAQs

I’m sure you still have some questions about setting your own career goals, so here I’m listing out the most commonly asked questions about career goals.

1. What if I’m not sure what I want my career to be?

If you’re uncertain, be honest about it. Let the employer know as much as you know about what you want to do. Express your willingness to use your strengths to contribute to the company. When you take this approach, back up your claim with some examples.

If you’re not even sure where to begin with your career, check out this guide:

How to Find Your Ideal Career Path Without Wasting Time on Jobs Not Suitable for You

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2. Is it okay to lie about my career goals?

Lying to potential employers is bound to end in disaster. In the interview, a lie can make you look foolish because you won’t know how to answer follow up questions.

Even if you think your career goal may not precisely align with the employer’s expectations for a long-term hire, be open and honest. There’s probably more common ground than they realize, and it’s up to you to bridge any gaps in expectations.

Being honest and explaining these connections shows your employer that you’ve put a lot of thought into this application. You aren’t just telling them what they want to hear.

3. Is it better to have an ambitious goal, or should I play it safe?

You should have a goal that challenges you, but SMART goals are always reasonable. If you put forth a goal that is way beyond your capabilities, you will seem naive. Making your goals too easy shows a lack of motivation.

Employers want new hires who are able to self-reflect and are willing to take on challenges.

4. Can I have several career goals?

It’s best to have one clearly-defined career goal and stick with it. (Of course, you can still have goals in other areas of your life.) Having a single career goal shows that you’re capable of focusing, and it shows that you like to accomplish what you set out to do.

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On the other hand, you might have multiple related career goals. This could mean that you have short-term goals that dovetail into your ultimate long-term career goal. You might also have several smaller goals that feed into a single purpose.

For example, if you want to become a lawyer, you might become a paralegal and attend law school at the same time. If you want to be a school administrator, you might have initial goals of being a classroom teacher and studying education policy. In both cases, these temporary jobs and the extra education help you reach your ultimate goal.

Summary

You’ll have to devote some time to setting career goals, but you’ll be so much more successful with some direction. Remember to:

  • Set SMART goals. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, and Realistic with Timelines. When you set goals with these things in mind, you are likely to achieve the outcomes you want.
  • Have short-term and long-term goals. Short-term career goals can be completed in 1-3 years, while long-term goals will take 3-5 years to finish. Your short-term goals should set you up to accomplish your long-term goals.
  • Assess your capabilities by coming up with an Individual Development Plan. Knowing how to set goals won’t help you if you don’t know yourself. Understand what your strengths and weaknesses are by taking some self-assessments.
  • Choose goals that are appropriate to your ultimate aims. Your career goals should be relevant to one another. If they aren’t, then you may need to narrow your focus. Your goals should match the type of job that you want and the quality of life that you want to lead.
  • Be clear about your goals with potential employers. Always be honest with potential employers about what you want to do with your life. If your goals differ from the company’s objectives, find a way bridge the gap between what you want for yourself and what your employer expects.

By doing goal-setting work now, you’ll be able to make conscious choices on your career path. You can always adjust your plan if things change for you, but the key is to give yourself a road map for success.

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Featured photo credit: Tyler Franta via unsplash.com

Reference

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