For fresh graduates who are just testing the waters, are trying to get their feet into a particular industry, or seasoned professionals who are gearing for new innings after a long interlude or trying their luck in another industry, networking – i.e forging connections with experienced people in the specific industry you are targeting. Networking can help you find some ground, discover and form connection with important people who might have some influence and who can recommend you, mentor you and perhaps provide you an opportunity to get into the company you are targeting. Linkedin is one of the best social sites when it comes to professional networking.
Whether you are a oven fresh graduate looking for internships in a particular company, or an experienced employee looking for greener pastures, registering for Linkedin can be a very good decision. Basically your Linkedin profile will be very much like a CV. This is because a Linkedin Profile generally includes many features which are similar to resumes. For example, quite a lot of their features , like Honours & awards ( where you can list all the medals of recognition you have won) , Certificates ( any relevant certificates you have acquired) Test Scores ( Have that perfect GPA, show it off!) Patents ( helping you to showcase your brilliant inventions) Projects ( which you have completed independently or projects you have completed in collaboration with a partner or a team) , publications in international journals etc.
There are also some other exciting features such as the skill and endorsement category where you can list all the professional skills you possess like leading, analyzing market trends, fundraising, market research, stock analysis, programming etc.
There are also separate categories, where your colleagues and seniors, ex employers can leave their accounts of working with you or directing you. These accounts also work as permanent references. So as you can see a Linkedin account is in more ways than one, similar to a resume. If you have a good Linkedin profile, chances are that you will be having more than one recruiter wanting your contact number, to offer you either an internship, or a position in a company. However you must follow a list of certain basic do’s and dont’s if you want to get the best out of LinkedIn.
Profile Photo : The dp or the profile photo of your LinkedIn Account is very important. This is because it will create the first impression. Keep your LinkeDin profile pic updated at all times. If you put in a very old and grainy picture, this can very well cause some red flags and recruiters will question the authenticity of your profile. Always be prim, proper, clean and professional looking in your profile. Although it is touted as a social network platform, LinkedIn is for the most part a professional networking community and a job portal. That crazy dp which garnered much thumbs up in Facebook, will not go down well here!
G for Group : You can create Groups which will include the people you already know, or have known. Pick group members very carefully. Only include those members who are relevant to the industry you are seeking to be a part of. Since this is not a social website like Facebook, Yahoo, Twitter etc, do not feel guilty about moving a friend, ex colleague, ex classmate from the group, if they are not a productive connection.
Do Your Research : Don’t send connection requests to random people on a whim. Do a basic research on that person, the company they own or work for. Do a thorough study of his/her LinkedIn profile. Consider these important question before you hit the Connect Me button, are you sure this person can be of help to you, has the necessary resources/connections to help you? Also do you have what it takes to help this person in return?
Dont Brag : Bragging will work against you. Just because the CEO or VP of xyz company is within your connection list, does not mean you can brag about this connection. Remember that just coz they are within your connection list, does not mean you can brag about them. Just because they have accepted your connection request, does not necessarily mean he/she will recommend you. Keep that in mind.
Be Active : Being active is a necessary part of networking. If you are a member of a group, then take part in discussion and debates, voice your opinion!
Keep It Impersonal : Don’t put links to controversial videos or pictures. Keep your LinkedIn profile squeaky clean!
Make connection requests more personalized, thoughtful and detailed. Don’t send a generic ‘’Join my LinkedIn network’’. Write something that would be eye catching but at the same time professional
Use Easy To Understand Words : Unless it’s absolutely necessary, do not use complicated words, and refrain from using too many buzzwords at a time. Making your statements and arguments easy to understand, will help you reach many more people. Most people want crisp, easy to comprehend statements.