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10 Tips to Master LinkedIn in a Way You Never Imagined.

10 Tips to Master LinkedIn in a Way You Never Imagined.

LinkedIn is quickly becoming the new resume.

In fact, I believe that in the next 5 years, the humble resume will fade away into the dustbin of history, to join the iPod, Internet chat rooms and (hopefully) the Kardashians.

This means that LinkedIn will become your primary job search tool and mastering the platform should become one of your top priorities. Here are 10 ways you can get a head start on your competition.

1. Fill out your profile completely.

Sounds very basic, doesn’t it? Yet, you’d be surprised how many profiles I see which are missing critical sections.

Pay particular attention to your summary, title and employment history—they’re the first items which a potential employer will look at.

2. Highlight your expertise.

What differentiates you from everybody else on the job market? Who are your ideal customers / employees? Your summary is the perfect place for this information. Back up your claim with examples of concrete achievements.

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For example, “I’m a digital marketing manager for startups. I specialize in scaling $100K businesses into $1M territory” is an excellent, succinct way to define what you do and what you don’t.

3. Create a call to action.

Most people will contact you by either sending you an InMail or a connection request.

However, you can guide the right people to find out more about you by providing a link to your website, other social media assets and content you’ve created on 3rd party websites.

4. Include a photo.

It’s no longer the 1990s, when having a photo of yourself online was a reason to be worried about privacy.

As far as today’s employers are concerned, a photo on your LinkedIn profile is not a “nice to have” option—it’s a must. Don’t give recruiters and hiring managers the reason to think “Why is there no photo—does she have something to hide?”

5. Optimize your profile for search.

To improve your profile’s visibility in LinkedIn search results, ensure that your LinkedIn profile contains relevant keywords throughout.

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For example, if you’re interested in job opportunities as a corporate lawyer, then your job title is the obvious keyword to include in your main job description, summary, job titles and descriptions of your job history.

However, recruiters won’t always search for you purely by your role. That’s why you need to think outside the box when constructing your LinkedIn profile. For example, if you were the project manager above, you could include keywords such as:

  • litigation
  • financial services law
  • mergers & acquisitions
  • IPO
  • oil & gas industry

6. Post consistently.

LinkedIn is not Facebook, so your updates can’t be photos of your breakfast.

Think carefully before you post and make sure that everything you say is consistent with your personal brand.

I suggest you get into the habit of setting aside some time a few times per week to curate and read interesting content from the Internet. This will allow you to post interesting content as status updates.

Don’t forget to put your own spin on the topic. For example, if you post “check out the latest article about the financial sector New York Times,” you’ll sound just like everybody else.

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However, an update such as “The New York Times just predicted that finance industry is dying. What do you believe?” is likely to spark debate and create more exposure for your profile.

7. Create and participate in LinkedIn groups.

Which aspect of your career are you most passionate about? Chances are, there’s a lively discussion happening right now in one of LinkedIn’s groups on that topic.

The best thing is, being part of a group allows you to bypass LinkedIn’s standard requirement to be connected to someone in order to reach out to them. If you and another professional are part of the same group, you can communicate without limitations.

8. Be savvy about who you connect with.

It’s great to have 500+ connections; however, not all connections are created equal.

Engagement with your network is far more important than its size.

Requesting connections with people you don’t know and can’t find common ground with has little benefit—it only robs you of your most precious asset: time.

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9. Make your messages personal.

How many times a week do you receive the stock standard “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn” message?

Most influencers, heads of departments and business owners receive hundreds of such requests.

To rise above the noise you must personalize your connection requests.

Remember that LinkedIn is primarily a relationship-building platform. Not many great relationships start with sending a cold, pre-formatted template.

10. Dive deep with content trending tools.

It’s no secret that producing original content is one of the best ways to build your personal brand.

However, creating blog posts and videos is just half of the story. The trick to getting the most out of your content is to make it shareable.

How do you know which topics are shared often and which aren’t? LinkedIn’s new Content Marketing & Trending Tools allow you to do just that. There’s no more need to fly blind.

Simply research what content is popular amongst your audience right now, create it, then monitor its performance in real time.

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Last Updated on April 9, 2020

5 Types of Leadership Styles (And Which Is Best for You)

5 Types of Leadership Styles (And Which Is Best for You)

It takes great leadership skills to build great teams.

The best leaders have distinctive leadership styles and are not afraid to make the difficult decisions. They course-correct when mistakes happen, manage the egos of team members and set performance standards that are constantly being met and improved upon.

With a population of more than 327 million, there are literally scores of leadership styles in the world today. In this article, I will talk about the most common types of leadership and how you can determine which works best for you.

5 Types of Leadership Styles

I will focus on 5 common styles that I’ve encountered in my career: democratic, autocratic, transformational, transactional and laissez-faire leadership.

The Democratic Style

The democratic style seeks collaboration and consensus. Team members are a part of decision-making processes and communication flows up, down and across the organizational chart.

The democratic style is collaborative. Author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek is an example of a leader who appears to have a democratic leadership style.

    The Autocratic Style

    The autocratic style, on the other hand, centers the preferences, comfort and direction of the organization’s leader. In many instances, the leader makes decisions without soliciting agreement or input from their team.

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    The autocratic style is not appropriate in all situations at all times, but it can be especially useful in certain careers, such as military service, and in certain instances, such as times of crisis. Steve Jobs was said to have had an autocratic leadership style.

    While the democratic style seeks consensus, the autocratic style is less interested in consensus and more interested in adherence to orders. The latter advises what needs to be done and expects close adherence to orders.

      The Transformational Style

      Transformational leaders drive change. They are either brought into organizations to turn things around, restore profitability or improve the culture.

      Alternatively, transformational leaders may have a vision for what customers, stakeholders or constituents may need in the future and work to achieve those goals. They are change agents who are focused on the future.

      Examples of transformational leader are Oprah and Robert C. Smith, the billionaire hedge fund manager who has offered to pay off the student loan debt of the entire 2019 graduating class of Morehouse College.

        The Transactional Style

        Transactional leaders further the immediate agenda. They are concerned about accomplishing a task and doing what they’ve said they’d do. They are less interested in changing the status quo and more focused on ensuring that people do the specific task they have been hired to do.

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        The transactional leadership style is centered on short-term planning. This style can stifle creativity and keep employees stuck in their present roles.

        The Laissez-Faire Style

        The fifth common leadership style is laissez-faire, where team members are invited to help lead the organization.

        In companies with a laissez-faire leadership style, the management structure tends to be flat, meaning it lacks hierarchy. With laissez-faire leadership, team members might wonder who the final decision maker is or can complain about a lack of leadership, which can translate to lack of direction.

        Which Leadership Style do You Practice?

        You can learn a lot about your leadership style by observing your family of origin and your formative working experiences.

        Whether you realize it, from the time you were born up until the time you went to school, you were receiving information on how to lead yourself and others. From the way your parents and siblings interacted with one another, to unspoken and spoken communication norms, you were a sponge for learning what constitutes leadership.

        The same is true of our formative work experiences. When I started my communications career, I worked for a faith-based organization and then a labor union. The style of communication varied from one organization to the other. The leadership required to be successful in each organization was also miles apart. At Lutheran social services, we used language such as “supporting people in need.” At the labor union, we used language such as “supporting the leadership of workers” as they fought for what they needed.

        Many in the media were more than happy to accept my pitch calls when I worked for the faith-based organization, but the same was not true when I worked for a labor union. The quest for media attention that was fair and balanced became more difficult and my approach and style changed from being light-hearted to being more direct with the labor union.

        I didn’t realize the impact those experiences had on how I thought about my leadership until much later in my career.

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        In my early experience, it was not uncommon for team members to have direct, brash and tough conversations with one another as a matter of course. It was the norm, not the exception. I learned to challenge people, boldly state my desires and preferences, and give tough feedback, but I didn’t account for the actions of others fit for me, as a black woman. I didn’t account for gender biases and racial biases.

        What worked well for my white male bosses, did not work well for me as an African American woman. People experienced my directness as being rude and insensitive. While I needed to be more forceful in advancing the organization’s agenda when I worked for labor, that style did not bode well for faith-based social justice organizations who wanted to use the love of Christ to challenge injustice.

        Whereas I received feedback that I needed to develop more gravitas in the workplace when I worked for labor, when I worked for other organizations after the labor union, I was often told to dial it back. This taught me two important lessons about leadership:

        1. Context Matters

        Your leadership style must adjust to each workplace you are employed. The challenges and norms of an organization will shape your leadership style significantly.

        2. Not All Leadership Styles Are Appropriate for the Teams You’re Leading

        When I worked on political campaigns, we worked nonstop. We started at dawn and worked late into the evening. I couldn’t expect that level of round-the-clock work for people at the average nonprofit. Not only couldn’t I expect it, it was actually unhealthy. My habit of consistently waking up at 4 am to work was profoundly unhealthy for me and harmful for the teams I was leading.

        As life coach and spiritual healer Iyanla Vanzant has said,

        “We learn a lot from what is seen, sensed and shared.”

        The message I was sending to my team was ‘I will value you if you work the way that I work, and if you respond to my 4 am, 5 am and 6 am emails.’ I was essentially telling my employees that I expect you to follow my process and practice.

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        As I advanced in my career and began managing more people, I questioned everything I thought I knew about leadership. It was tough. What worked for me in one professional setting did not work in other settings. What worked at one phase of my life didn’t necessarily serve me at later stages.

        When I began managing millennials, I learned that while committed to the work, they had active interests and passions outside of the office. They were not willing to abandon their lives and happiness for the work, regardless of how fulfilling it might have been.

        The Way Forward

        To be an effective leader, you must know yourself incredibly well. You must be self-reflective and also receptive to feedback.

        As fellow Lifehack contributor Mike Bundrant wrote in the article 10 Essential Leadership Qualities That Make a Great Leader:

        “Those who lead must understand human nature, and they start by fully understanding themselves…They know their strengths, and are equally aware of their weaknesses and thus understand the need for team work and the sharing of responsibility.”

        The way to determine your leadership style is to get to know yourself and to be mindful of the feedback you receive from others. Think about the leadership lessons that were seen, sensed and shared in your family of origin. Then think about what feels right for you. Where do you gravitate and what do you tend to avoid in the context of leadership styles?

        If you are really stuck, think about using a personality assessment to shed light on your work patterns and preferences.

        Finally, the path for determining your leadership style is to think about not only what you need, or what your company values, but also what your team needs. They will give you cues on what works for them and you need to respond accordingly.

        Leadership requires flexibility and attentiveness. Contrary to unrealistic notions of leadership, being a leader is less about being served and more about being of service.

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        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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