There was a time when I liked LinkedIn and I browsed around for some time almost everyday. I am really having a hard time accepting its new look. (Now is not as bad. When it just came out, the time-sorting function was gone. I almost gave up the whole thing. Luckily they added that back at last.) Being a professional networking website, it ranked just after the 4 most popular social networking ones in the world, according to eBizMBA. Since it’s predominantly a place for the working population (e.g. kids got little to do there), LinkedIn has drawn a lot of us to rank itself there.
Apart from polishing your profile and browsing through job ads, just like what you do at other job sites, what else can you do? Here are my suggestions.
1. Invite people not directly known
Adding people you already know is always a good idea. Keeping the connection warm, or at least getting update of how others are doing at work, are totally good intentions. But I always think that LinkedIn is not for limiting your network. While out of courtesy and other reasons, no one is supposed to add everyone they come across at “People Also Viewed”, posts, comments, groups, etc., expanding your network through LinkedIn makes sense.
If someone has a number of mutual connections (indicated by LinkedIn), meaning both of you share some common friends, you can consider adding him/her. Common background serves as a good starting point. If you see someone studying in the same school, or different schools but has the same major as you, or both of you are working / worked in the same company, you can try to reach out. Other factors to take into account are industry and location. If you have just been relocated to another place for work, you may want to connect to people in the same area. It’s sad that LinkedIn was not there when I worked in Mauritius.
Mentioning the common things you share in the invitation message helps him/her to decide whether to connect.
Yes, you may worry about what to do next after the other person agrees to connect. Don’t be. Probably just by reading updates things can happen, e.g. he/she likes a job posting that you are interested. And you may meet him/her later anyway, e.g. in a conference.
2. Messages matter
Technology helps us to overcome barriers. You can connect to your connections through messages, even if you are not meeting them. So go further by talking to them. A warm greeting is already very good. You can also talk about what it is like to work in the company you are with, or the country you are in.
3. Like and comment on articles
Click “like” when you come across a good passage. If you have something to say, say it. LinkedIn is a convenient way to let you concentrate on reading work-related articles. I read and liked many good ones.
4. Like job ads from recruiters
I think this is one of the most important unique features of LinkedIn, which differentiates it from other job sites. You can like job posts, which does not mean you are applying. I think this is very good because if you see a job ad on your feed, it is from a recruiter who is connected to you (otherwise it is liked by one of your connections). So giving a like makes this ad visible to all your connections. Your recruiter friend is going to get a lot more attention. On the other hand, a connection of yours may be looking for a job. Your like pushes this ad to him/her.
5. Join groups related to your job
You can get relevant information by joining groups in which members are in your profession. If you work in marketing, you can join groups for marketers. Unfortunately some people misuse the groups by junk posts, posts not related to the group with possibly ill-intentioned links.
6. Join groups of industries you are interested in
This is different from the one mentioned above. You may not be working in a certain industry, yet you want to know more. For me, I want to learn more about what is going on in energy and environment. So I joined the groups and read through current issues in the sectors.
7. Write your headline
Different people have different preferences. While some people do not want to show their entire work experience, other may leave their education section blank. It is totally up to you what to show to your connections and the public. I just want to say that you may want to write your headline so others can have a general idea who you are. The commonest way is (your position) at (your company). (I think this was once default set by LinkedIn.) Other prefer to write out their different roles / aspirations, e.g. PR specialist / writer. I think it is ok to write what you want to write, as long as it is up-to-date. I saw some headlines with out-dated position and company, i.e. the profile was updated, but not the headline.
(post from my earlier blog in 2017)