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10 Ways To Become A LinkedIn All-Star

10 Ways To Become A LinkedIn All-Star

I’ve been using LinkedIn for six years now and am the type to always keep my profile up to date. I actually became so obsessed with it that at one point in my university career, I was delivering talks on how to best make use of the world’s largest online professional network. Here’s a list of 10 surefire ways to help you leverage LinkedIn and take your professional profile, job search efforts and personal brand to another level.

1. Spice up your profile and Summary

Your LinkedIn profile will tell a lot about you as a professional. To make the most of it, devote some to keeping it updated and ensuring you have all the relevant sections of your profile completed. Adding courses you’ve taken or organizations you’re a part of is great, but the real meat and potatoes of your profile lies within the positions you’ve held and your profile summary.

When listing each of your roles on your profile, ensure that the dates are correct and your job title is accurately displayed and aligned to your resume. Considering you have quite a bit more room to describe your positions, work on including a few sentences about what each of your roles entailed and your major job responsibilities, followed by a few bullet points (no more than five) on some of your key achievements in the role.

The key to successfully writing out your bullet statements is to make them achievement-oriented. Follow the formula “Achieved %/$ increase in X by doing X”. An example of this might be: “Helped the business unit realize an additional $25,000 in cost savings by performing a cost-benefit analysis of various accounting softwares and implementing XYZ.”

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Your profile’s Summary is an opportunity for you to add some personality to your LinkedIn page and grab your reader’s attention. Rather than simply providing an endless list of what you’ve accomplished throughout your career, think of your Summary a a personalized elevator pitch. Here are some things to consider when writing your Summary:

  • Who: Briefly mention a sentence or two about yourself; what your career has entailed and some of the positions you’ve held. If you’ve worked for large organizations, this is your opportunity to put them on display.
  • What: What makes you special; what are you known for and what are some of your most noticeable career accomplishments?
  • Something personal: Towards the end of your summary, mention some of your interests and what you like to do outside of your 9-5 – no one wants to hire a robot.
  • Use key/buzzwords: Your summary is an opportunity for you to attract recruiters by infusing buzzwords associated with your particular position, skill set and industry.

Here’s an additional resource to help you craft the perfect profile Summary.

2. Harness the power of Advanced Search

LinkedIn_Advanced_Search_Operators_Example_Search_1

    LinkedIn’s Advanced Search is the ultimate professional creeping tool. Within seconds, you have the ability to find specific members (say, recruiters, managers, etc.), companies, groups and a host of other options to help you build your network and refine your job search prospects. When it comes to job searching in particular, you have the ability to search by Company, Date Posted, Job Function, Industry and Experience Level. This is how I’ve typically reach out to recruiters for jobs I was interested in applying to and did it ever make a difference! One of the best advanced job search features is the ability to narrow your results based on your desired salary range. Although this feature requires you to upgrade to a LinkedIn Premium account, I would suggest using one of LinkedIn’s periodic 30-day free trial offers to explore the full range of features available and see if you’d like to continue with the account after the trial period expires.

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    3. Reach out to recruiters

    Reaching out to recruiters and hiring managers is a key method to helping you personalize your cover letter (e.g. “Dear John Smith” vs. “Dear Hiring Manager”) and distinguish yourself from hundred’s of potential competitors for a particular position. Often, when you pull up a position from LinkedIn’s Job Board, a thumbnail with the posting recruiter’s profile is shown in the top-right corner of the posting’s page. This is your opportunity to reach out to the recruiter and make an impression. Connecting with them and keeping in touch with them throughout the hiring process is a great method of setting yourself apart from others.

    4. Choose your connections wisely

    Do you remember seeing the term “LION” next to people’s names on LinkedIn? My personal opinion is that it’s better to make meaningful connections (quality) rather than simply amassing contacts that may be of some future benefit to you (quantity). Who you connect with will affect how people view you as a professional on LinkedIn. For example, if you’re connecting with recruiter after recruiter, it’s a good sign to your profile’s audience that you may be looking for a new job. Make it a point to connect with people you have at least met at some point recently, not someone who you were vaguely introduced to by a friend of a friend 10 months ago. People who you know to some extent will be better-aligned to your industry, skill set and will be in a better position to help you because of a somewhat personal connection you have with them.

    5. Post relevant articles and share your thoughts

    What you post on LinkedIn says a lot about you, and is a great a way for you to engage your LinkedIn connections and beyond about subjects/topics you think are fascinating and important. This is a great way to build your professional image. I regularly post quotes on LinkedIn and have even been fortunate to receive personal messages commending me on my posts. In addition, sharing your thoughts on your connections’ posts and the content posted by companies you follow is a great way to get noticed and possibly build meaningful connections.

    6. Give MEANINGFUL recommendations

    There’s a few parts to this:

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    1) Providing recommendations for connections you’ve worked with in the past is very important. Although it’s always great to receive recommendations for your work, don’t get into the habit of being stingy and only providing recommendations for people who have recommended you. One of my LinkedIn pet peeves is someone who messages me saying “Hey, could you write a recommendation for me? I’ll write you one in return.” To me, that really shows that the person is not interested in actually writing me a sincere recommendation and just wants to liven up their own wall. If you really think someone you know or have worked with in the past has done good work – let everyone know about it. Remember – what goes around comes around; perhaps if you unselfishly write a great recommendation for someone, someone else will randomly recommend you as well.

    2) I absolutely despise when someone writes me a useless recommendation, such as “Mustafa was a great addition to our team.” This doesn’t tell say anything about my contributions and skill set. For all you know, all I did was buy my team cupcakes everyday. If you’re writing a recommendation for someone, put a little effort into writing something for them – even if it’s only a few sentences. Talk about what they contributed to the work environment, what they achieved and your general thoughts on them as an individual.

    3) Don’t just ask any random connection for a recommendation, or someone you worked with a really long time ago on a project that neither of you really remember. The key is always always always quality. Ask people who you’ve worked closely with on projects to recommend you, because they understand your work and what you’ve contributed better than anyone else. This might be a coworker, manager, director, etc. This will really make your profile stand out and others are sure to take notice of what you can bring to their organization.

    7. Send personalized invitation messages

    Oh, how I absolutely hate the default “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn” invite message I get from almost everyone who adds me on LinkedIn.

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    Writing a customized LinkedIn invitation message is a great way to help you distinguish yourself from competition when you’re applying to a particular job, or you’re trying to remind someone of who you are after you met them and subsequently decided to connect with them on LinkedIn. I’ve seen many of my own friends send generic invite messages to recruiters. Unsurprisingly, those messages never got any replies and most of the time, the recruiters declined their invitation to connect. I would say I’ve had about a 95% success rate in receiving responses to tailored invite messages. When you take the time to write something thoughtful, people will recognize that and are more likely to respond to your requests and questions. Use tailored invite messages to begin conversations with people, inquire into a particular job role’s responsibilities and to get your foot in the door by mentioning how you are different from the 247 applicants who just applied to the same job you did.

    8. Customize your public profile URL

    2015-01-25_19-17-18

      There’s not much to say here, except that I really like that we have the option to customize our LinkedIn profile’s URL. It’s a particular useful feature when you want to include your profile’s LinkedIn on your personal website and or neatly on your resume.

      9. Use LinkedIn’s job board

      2015-01-25_19-25-06

        I find LinkedIn’s job board is heavily underutilized and unappreciated, although it has some of the highest quality job postings and filtering options available for job seekers. There are plenty of job boards with great job postings and opportunities. Often, you’ll see the same postings from other websites also listed on LinkedIn. However, there are a few added perks to using LinkedIn’s job board:

        • A ton of filtering options (see the above screenshot)
        • The ability to save searches
        • Thumbnails of who posted a particular job, which gives you the opportunity to connect with and reach out to the job’s poster
        • The ability to look for jobs worldwide, rather than having to look at country-specific postings. Basically, the world’s job opportunities are at the tips of your fingers.

        10. Take advantage of free profile upgrades

        Every now and then, LinkedIn will send you a 30-day free trial to upgrade to a Premium account. It is absolutely loaded with awesome features that will really help you get noticed by employers and give your job searching efforts a huge boost. 30 days is an ample amount of time to discover all the features available to you and try them out, so after your month is up, you can then decide if you’d like to continue. Even if you don’t see yourself using the product for an extended period of time, you can at least use it to help you with your job search efforts until you’ve landed a role.

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        Last Updated on August 20, 2019

        How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work

        How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work

        Career advancement is an enticement that today’s companies use to lure job candidates. But to truly uncover growth opportunities within a company, it’s up to you to take the initiative to move up.

        You can’t rely on recruiter promises that your company will largely hire from within. Even assurances you heard from your direct supervisor during the interviewing process may not pan out. But if you begin a job knowing that you’re ultimately responsible for getting yourself noticed, you will be starting one step ahead.

        Accomplished entrepreneur and LinkedIn Co-Founder Reid Hoffman said,

        “If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward.”

        It’s important to recognize that taking charge of your own career advancement, and then mapping out the steps you need to succeed, is key to moving forward on your trajectory.

        Make a Point of Positioning Yourself as a Rising Star

        As an employee looking for growth opportunities within your current company, you have many avenues to position yourself as a rising star.

        As an insider, you’re able to glean insights on company strategies and apply your expertise where it’s most needed. Scout out any skills gaps, then make a point to acquire and apply them. And, when you have creative ideas to offer, make it your mission to gain the ear of those in the organization who can put your ideas to the test.

        Valiant shows of commitment and enterprise make managers perk up and take notice, keeping you ahead of both internal and external competitors.

        Employ these other useful tips to let your rising star qualities shine:

        1. Promote Your Successes to Your Higher-Ups

        When your boss casually asks how you’re doing, use this valuable moment to position yourself as indispensable: “I’m floating on clouds because three clients have already commented on how well they like my redesign of the company website.”

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        Tell your supervisors about any and all successes. Securing a new contract or signing a new customer should be a cause for celebration. Be sure to let your bosses know.

        2. Cultivate Excellent Listening Skills

        Listen well, and ask great questions. Realize that people love to talk about themselves.

        But if you’re a superb listener, others will confide in you, and you’ll learn from what they share. You may even find out something valuable about your own prospects in the company.

        If others view you as even-minded and thoughtful, they’ll respect your ideas and, in turn, listen to what you have to say.

        Check out these important listening skills: 13 Powerful Listening Skills to Improve Your Life at Work and at Home

        3. Go to All Office Networking Events

        Never skip the office Christmas party, your coworker’s retirement party, or any office birthday parties, wedding showers, or congratulatory parties for colleagues.

        If others see you as a team player, it will help you rise in your company. These on-site parties will also help you mingle with co-workers whom you might not ordinarily have the chance to see. For special points, help organize one or two of these get-togethers.

        Take the Extra Step to Show Your Value to the Company

        Managers and HR staff know that it can be less risky – and a lot less costly — to promote from within. As internal staff, you likely have a good grasp of the authority structure and talent pool in the company, and know how to best navigate these networks in achieving both the company’s goals and your own.

        The late Nobel-Prize winning economist, Gary Becker, coined the term “firm-specific,” which describes the unique skills required to excel in an individual organization. You, as a current employee, have likely tapped into these specific skills, while external hires may take a year or more to master their nuances.

        Know that your experience within the company already provides value, then find ways to add even more value, using these tips:

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        4. Show Initiative

        Commit yourself to whatever task you’re given, and make a point of going above and beyond.

        Position yourself so that you’re ready to take on any growth opportunities that present themselves. If you believe you have skills that have gone untapped, find a manager who will give you a chance to prove your worth.

        Accept any stretch assignment that showcases your readiness for advancement. Stay late, and arrive early. Half of getting the best assignments is sticking around long enough to receive them.

        5. Set Yourself Apart by Staying up on Everything There Is to Know About Your Company and Its Competitors

        Subscribe to and read the online trade journals. Become an active member in your industry’s network of professionals. Go to industry conferences, and learn your competitors’ strategies.

        Be the on-the-ground eyes and ears for your organization to stay on top of industry trends.

        6. Go to Every Company Meeting Prepared and Ready to Learn

        A lot of workers feel meetings are an utter waste of time. They’re not, though, because they provide face-time with higher-ups and those in a position to give you the growth opportunities you need.

        Go with the intention of absorbing information and using it to your advantage — including the goals and work styles of your superiors. Respect the agenda, listen more than you speak, and never beleaguer a point.

        Accelerate Your Career Growth Opportunities

        A recent study found that the five predictors of employees with executive potential were: the right motivation, curiosity, insight, engagement, and determination. These qualities help you stand out, but it’s also important to establish a track record of success and to not appear to be over-reaching in your drive to move up in your company.

        Try to see yourself from your boss’s position and evaluate your promote-ability.

        Do you display a passion and commitment toward meeting the collective goals of the company? Do you have a motivating influence with team members and show insight and excellence in all your work?

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        These qualities will place you front and center when growth opportunities arise.

        Use these strategic tips to escalate your opportunities for growth:

        7. Find a Mentor

        With mentorship programs fast disappearing, this isn’t always easy. But you need to look for someone in the company who has been promoted several times and who also cares about your progress.

        Maybe it’s the person who recommended you for the job. Or maybe it’s your direct supervisor. It could even be someone across the hall or in a completely different department.

        Talk to her or him about growth opportunities within your company. Maybe she or he can recommend you for a promotion.

        Not sure how to find the right mentor? Here’s How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed.

        8. Map out Your Own Growth Opportunity Chart

        After you’ve worked at the company for a few months, work out a realistic growth chart for your own development. This should be a reasonable, practical chart — not a pie-in-the-sky wish list of demands.

        What’s reasonable? Do you think being promoted within two years is reasonable? What about raises? Try to inform your own growth chart with what you’ve heard about other workers’ raises and promotions.

        Once you’ve rigorously charted a realistic path for your personal development within the company, try to talk to your mentor about it.

        Keep refining your chart until it seems to work with your skills and proven talents. Then, arrange a time to discuss it with your boss.

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        You may want to time the discussion around the time of your performance review. Then your boss can weigh in with what he feels is reasonable, too.

        9. Set Your Professional Bar High

        Research shows that more than two-thirds of workers are just putting in their time. But through your active engagement in the organization and commitment to giving your best, you can provide the contrast against others giving lackluster performances.

        Cultivate the hard skills that keep you on the cutting edge of your profession, while also refining your soft skills. These are the attributes that make you better at embracing diverse perspectives, engendering trust, and harnessing the power of synergy.

        Even if you have an unquestionably left-brain career — a financial analyst or biotechnical engineer, for example — you’re always better off when you can form kind, courteous, quality relationships with colleagues.

        Let integrity be the cornerstone of all your interactions with clients and co-workers.

        The Bottom Line

        Growth opportunities are available for those willing to purposely and adeptly manage their own professional growth. As the old adage says,

        “Half of life is showing up.”

        The other half is sticking around so that when your boss is looking for someone to take on a more significant role, you are among the first who come to mind.

        Remember, your career is your business!

        More About Continuous Growth

        Featured photo credit: Zach Lucero via unsplash.com

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