Building a LinkedIn strategy to earn a job takes time, energy, effort and some targeted work. The overall goal is to build up your personal brand so it stands out from the crowd. That way, you have better chances of reaching the interview stage of the job-search process.
Try these six tips to enliven your LinkedIn strategy. In the short term, you create connections that can last years within your chosen field. Over the long haul, a great LinkedIn profile may lead to better career success.
1. Start With Your Profile
As with any LinkedIn strategy, start with your profile. Update anything from the last time you dabbled in your profile, such as your professional head shot, the headline and a relevant summary. Add specific numbers to your experience, including sales figures, team members managed and percentage growth. For example, "I managed a team of seven as we increased sales 11 percent for 10 straight quarters." Update awards, achievements, organizations, skills and any volunteer work since you last checked your profile.
2. Link to Other Social Media
Your personal brand includes all aspects of your online presence. Connect your LinkedIn profile to other social media, such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Google Plus. Maintain consistency across these channels when you post thoughts about professional topics, industry analyses and your work ethic. This LinkedIn strategy edifies your online persona and gets your name out even more than through just one channel.
Log in at least once per week and share stuff you find on LinkedIn. This keeps your page fresh without having to do a lot of grunt work. Link to an article, someone's blog post, a job description or a company press release that interests you. Write your own articles every once in a while. This shows a prospective employer you maintain an active presence on your professional social media profile.
4. Find Professionals in Your Field
The whole point of a LinkedIn strategy is to connect to people in your field of interest. Find other IT pros or computer programmers that have similar interests. Create a "people you want to know" list, and reach out to some of these people at least once a week to start making connections.
5. Connect With People in Relevant Ways
Don't just send someone a quick message saying "Hey, I want you to be in my network." Instead, be specific by explaining who you are and why you want to connect with that person.
6. Edify Your Connections
Forget just asking for a connection and then dropping the conversation after that point. Endorse a connection, share articles with that person and recommend that person to a company if he looks for a job. These connections may lead to a job opportunity in the future.
A LinkedIn strategy may not pay off right away, but you never know when or how a connection may pay off down the road. Once you kick-start your profile, just check in for one hour a week and you're on your way to better chances of moving up the career ladder.
Photo courtesy of Sheila Scarborough at Flickr.com