#5 – Expand Your Network

{20 Ways to Love Your Professional Self}

#5 – Expand Your Network: LinkedIn Basics

Did you know that there is a clever way to enhance your circle of networks without even leaving your office? Yes, using LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network you can connect with colleagues, both former and present in a click of a button. It’s like Facebook though ultra business focused and advantageous. Hands down it’s the best online tool for business professionals with over 90 million users.

I’m convinced that you will find incredible value out of setting up a LinkedIn profile and developing your own network by using the tool. And you have nothing to lose by setting up a profile because it’s free. Okay enough of the infomercial – I promise they are not even paying me to be their spokesperson.

How do I get started?

Visit their homepage and create an account www.linkedin.com.

What should I include on my profile?

Create a basic profile that includes the following information;

  • Name
  • Current title
  • Email address
  • Summary
  • Specialties
  • Education
  • Employers spanning the past 10 years

Include your first and last name, title and email address so that your existing contacts can easily find you. Also, by recapping your employers for the past 10 years your current and former colleagues will easily be able to connect with you. I find that business professional that use LinkedIn are best suited to also include their email address and make it visible under contact information. This allows people to reach out to you outside of using the LinkedIn tool.

The summary and specialties will tell people what you are doing currently and what you are specialized in. The specialties, in particular can be in list format. Don’t go crazy the summary can be short, simple and concise.

For the overachievers out there;

  • Add a business professional photo (amateur friends are great at helping with this!)
  • Gather recommendations (3-5 would be ideal)

What are the benefits?

As a recruiter I’ve found extremely talented business professionals on LinkedIn who were passively, or not even passively, searching for a job and placed them at numerous Fortune 500 companies. Enough said?

Okay, there are a plethora of additional benefits as LinkedIn is not only for job seekers. You can also; find business clients, increase credibility, become known as an expert in your industry, find vendors, research prospects, this list is literally limitless.

How do I get started networking?

Add connections and join several groups that are relevant to your industry. You will quickly find that once you begin connecting with others the momentum will naturally pick up. You can also go to [Contacts], [Add Connections] and then [See Who’s Already on LinkedIn that you Know] using their email tool. This is really helpful to build your network. You might also look at the connections of your newly found contacts to see who else you know. Trust me this will be intuitive once you get started.

And look at that, you’ve expanded your circle of networks without even leaving your office! Nicely done.

xoxo~Amy

PS – We will be discussing LinkedIn again to talk about advanced features later this month.

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Amy McGeachy is an HR Consultant & Executive Coach in Portland, Oregon. Amy is a certified HR Professional (PHR) through the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) and is also a member of the International Coaching Federation (ICF). In February Amy is blogging about {20 Ways to Love Your Professional Self}. Check in daily to be inspired.

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