Today’s competitive business environment calls for a great professional network for personal brand promotion. LinkedIn is a powerful business resource, which hosts more than 400 million members in over 200 countries and offers a huge target group of potential contacts. By following these 10 business etiquette tips when using LinkedIn, you get a great opportunity to exponentially grow your network.
- Optimize your profile
Ranking high in searches within the LinkedIn network indicates that fellow professionals appreciate your expertise. However, to achieve a high ranking you need to optimize your LinkedIn profile, meaning to emphasize on your skills and areas of expertise by using the proper keywords. For example, if you are a finance professional with 5 years’ experience in financial statement analysis, you should state “financial statement analysis” or “FSA” in your profile heading instead of “finance professional”, which is too broad. Make sure to include in your heading the keywords that best describe you as a professional.
- Add a professional photo
98% of recruiters and 85% of hiring managers use LinkedIn to find candidates. But recruiters want to see who you are. People without a professional photo are less likely to connect as other professionals may consider their effort to connect as a spam message. Your profile picture should be a nice, clear professional headshot that best presents who you are.
- Proofread your profile
It is inadmissible to have a LinkedIn profile full of grammatical or spelling errors. Don’t forget that your profile is your means of connecting to other professional in your finance network. Thereby, you should make sure to proofread your profile word for word and ensure that the information you provide is up-to-date and accurate.
- Show work samples
LinkedIn allows you to add a variety of media such as videos, images, documents, links, and presentations to the Summary, Education, and Experience sections of your profile. This allows you to showcase your work samples on different projects and improve your profile optimization.
- Stay active
To keep your network strong and increase visibility on your profile you need to stay active. Update your status on a regular basis – experts recommend three times a day. Share links that apply to your audience’s interests at least once a day. Join groups that are relevant to your professional profile and participate in group discussions three times a week. Connect with new contacts by sending invitations to at least one new person per day. All these tactics will help you develop new business relationships and take on new professional opportunities.
- Participate in group discussions
To fully capitalize on the value of LinkedIn groups you should actively participate in group discussions. Even if you have joined 20 groups, your profile won’t me more popular, if you have never participated in any group discussion. On the other hand, joining too many groups doesn’t make sense. Ideally, pick three to five groups that mostly apply to your interests as a financial professional and be actively involved in them.
A LinkedIn profile allows you to network with professionals who share the same interests as well as professional organizations. This will help stay up-to-date with the trends in the finance industry and exchange valuable information with professional who are in the same field or finance position as you.
- Keep it professional at all times
Avoid to post about anything that is not business related on LinkedIn. People are not interested in what you have for lunch or where you plan to spend your holidays. These updates are for Facebook. On LinkedIn, you should keep it professional at all times. Post regularly about something interesting you have read or anything that is worth sharing with a business value.
- Ask for recommendations individually
Professional recommendations can enhance your profile and enforce your personal brand. However, a generic message to all your connections for a recommendation may fall on deaf ears. Your goal is to highlight your expertise, skills, and character so make sure to ask for a recommendation that covers these areas. Make your recommendation requests targeted and specific so that it can highlight a particular project you have undertaken or a service you have provided. Also, it makes better sense to ask for a recommendation for people with lots of contacts in your fields of interest, finance in this case, because this will give you more exposure.
- Do you have a company?
LinkedIn hosts more than 4 million Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies (as of November 2014). You may use company pages to promote your products and/or services to all the connections in your network. In doing so, you effectively endorse your company while expanding your network. Also, telling your company story the right way, can be inspirational to your clients and potential employees
LinkedIn is an excellent networking tool that appeals to professionals who are looking for employment and opportunities to expand their network and exchange knowledge. By creating a complete and descriptive professional LinkedIn profile, you increase your chances to be noticed within the site. Yet, you should also participate in group discussions, contact recruiters, find professional service providers and socialize with your connections to fully capitalize on the LinkedIn network.
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