By Lori Smith
Once you have a complete LinkedIn profile you can begin to build your network and use the resource to further your career. Begin by inviting those you know on LinkedIn to connect with you. Select people from the drop down menu in the search bar and type in the name of the person you would like to connect with. If you want a more refined search you can narrow the parameters by selecting, for example, University, and then typing in the name of the person you are searching for. This will only pull up people with the name you entered who are connected to that university. You will want to personalize the default message that LinkedIn provides for you. Using the networking tab is a great way to build your network. You will be able to select the criteria to search as broad or narrow of a field as you like.
Join a few groups that are of interest to you. Select groups from the drop down menu in the search bar and type in some key words. You will then see a list of groups that match your request. A brief summary of the groups will be provided. Click on the “Request to Join” button for groups you wish to join. Groups will provide you with an opportunity to post and answer questions for other members. You do not want to post a request for a position, but rather use this group to network and further your knowledge in your field. Although, members can post job opportunities that their organizations have. People that join and participate in groups are likely to increase their profile views 4x. Another benefit to joining a group is that you can connect with people not in your network through a common group.
LinkedIn allows you to follow companies that are of interest to you. By following a company anything they post will appear in your news feed. This is a great way to stay current with what is happening in that company. Companies will also post open positions they have as well.
Skills and Expertise
Looking to build up your resume or develop some skills and expertise in a particular area? LinkedIn can connect you with volunteer opportunities. Volunteering is a great way to give back to a community and it makes you feel great as well! There are many levels at which you can offer your assistance from caring for animals to being a Board Member on a committee.
Lastly, LinkedIn is a great way to prepare for your job search, interviews and apply for positions. For example, if you have an upcoming interview you would want to find out as much about the organization as possible. You can pull up the organization and search for people who work there that have LinkedIn accounts. It is also possible to apply for positions right from LinkedIn! Check out some of the positions that are posted.
Now you are ready to explore LinkedIn and expand your horizons. LinkedIn provides videos and other resources if you would like a little more guidance. Good luck with your networking! See you on LinkedIn!