181. How to start using LinkedIn: 5 tips for corporate professionalsApr 10, 2023
LinkedIn is a powerful tool for corporate professionals to enhance their professional brand, connect with others, and advance their careers. Using LinkedIn has become a must for corporate professionals. It is the most used social media platform for the Fortune 500 companies, and allows for connectivity and interaction in a corporate world still trying to find how to communicate in a remote-work environment. LinkedIn allows professionals to create an online presence and build their personal brand and reputation, which is essential for job searching and career development.
By existing on LinkedIn through a personal profile, it's possible to connect with other professionals, nurturing and expanding your professional network. If you take a step further and participate in creating content by sharing professional and industry insights, you have the potential to establish a professional reputation, as others will better understand your professional interests and expertise.
LinkedIn's job board is now a big reason to be more active on the platform. It provides access to a vast pool of job opportunities and allows professionals to follow and stay up-to-date with organizations they have an interest in working for in the future.
So how do you start using the platform if you don't have a lot of experience with it? I have identified the 5 most important tips I believe can make new users feel more comfortable using LinkedIn. Let's address them one by one.
1 - On LinkedIn, every connection you make deserves a personal note
Sending a personal note when connecting with someone on LinkedIn shows that you have taken the time to connect on a personal level with that person. You are not (I hope!) sending invitations at scale. Connections on LinkedIn should be meaningful. Either you know that person well, or for whatever reason, that person has been important in your career.
So if you're reconnecting with a former work colleague, ask how they are doing, and say you are keen to keep in touch on LinkedIn. If you have not met me but read my blogs and listen to my podcast, personalize your message, which demonstrates professionalism and respect. It also allows you to introduce yourself and explain why you are interested in connecting with me, which can help establish a genuine connection.
Including a personal note can increase the likelihood that your connection request will be accepted, as it shows that you are not simply seeking to grow your network without any genuine interest in the person you are connecting with.
2 - Learn the difference between who to "connect" and who to "follow" on the LinkedIn platform
Connecting and following someone on LinkedIn are two distinct actions with different implications. Connecting with someone on LinkedIn means that both individuals have agreed to establish a mutual connection, which allows them to access each other's profile information, send messages, and see updates in their network feed. This connection is reciprocal, meaning that both individuals have accepted the connection request and can now see each other's activity on LinkedIn.
Following someone on LinkedIn, on the other hand, does not require mutual agreement or permission. When someone follows another LinkedIn member, they will see updates from that person in their network feed, but the person they are following will not necessarily see their activity or have access to their profile information.
So, as a rule of thumb, you should connect with people you know and follow someone you don't know but want to stay up-to-date with their activity and insights.
3 - Change your settings to browse LinkedIn in private mode
Switching to private mode when using LinkedIn allows you to browse the platform and remain anonymous, which is my preferred way of using the platform. I recommend using LinkedIn on private mode to all my clients. When browsing in private mode, your profile won't show to the individual you are researching - they won't know that you are looking at their profile. This is useful if you are conducting research or exploring job opportunities without wanting to alert the employer. Overall, switching to private mode on LinkedIn can provide you with a greater degree of privacy and control over your online activity, allowing you to browse and network on your own terms.
4 - There's a type of post on LinkedIn that perform better than most. And it's not the one all about you
"How-to" posts tend to generate high levels of engagement and sharing, as individuals are more likely to pass along helpful information to their own network. On LinkedIn, they perform better than any other type of post. When you provide practical value and actionable advice that can help individuals solve problems or achieve their goals, you become highly relevant and engaging to your professional audience. "How-to" posts often include step-by-step instructions, visuals, or examples that are easy to follow and understand, making them accessible and user-friendly.
Additionally, "how-to" posts can help establish the author as an expert in their field, showcasing their knowledge and expertise to their network and beyond. So it's not rocket science: "how-to" posts are a highly effective way to provide value, demonstrate expertise, and drive engagement on LinkedIn.
5 - Enable the "open to work" status only for Linkedin Recruiters
Enabling the "open to work" status on LinkedIn, which is only visible to recruiters, can have significant benefits if you are actively seeking job opportunities or casually browsing. It allows you to signal to recruiters and hiring departments that you are looking for new opportunities without necessarily going public about it. This can increase your chances of being contacted about relevant job openings while protecting you if you are still employed.
When opting for the "open to work" status, you can specify job preferences, such as job titles, location, industry, and job function, making it easier for recruiters to identify suitable candidates. What you want is to increase the visibility of your profile in LinkedIn's search results being done by recruiters and hiring staff.
LinkedIn's "open to work" status is completely private and only visible to recruiters. LinkedIn offers reassurances that your current employer is not made aware of your "open to work" status. But that is always a risk that you will need to manage. Listen to the podcast episode 181 of The Job Hunting Podcast for my take on this and how I think in 99% of the cases. For most professionals, it is fine to be "open to work" at all times.
Next Steps to becoming a LinkedIn pro
I have other episodes about LinkedIn that you can listen to learn more. Click here to access all the episodes under the "LinkedIn" category.
A few years ago, I designed a LinkedIn Checklist, which most of my clients still use. It's very comprehensive and will support you in maximizing each headline on LinkedIn. Click here to download it.
And if you want to invest in your LinkedIn profile, my LinkedIn Audit service is one of my most popular services, and certainly, the one that gets the most feedback from clients. I will provide you with tailored advice suited to your particular career goals, level, and industry. You will receive all the recommendations and will be able to implement them in a matter of hours by following my instructional video. Click here to learn more and book your LinkedIn Audit.
Timestamps to guide your listening:
- 04:31 - What is LinkedIn for?
- 13:50 - How to use LinkedIn: A guide for corporate professionals
- 18:41 - How to navigate LinkedIn anonymously
- 24:18 - The best type of post for LinkedIn
- 26:57 - How to use LinkedIn to look for work
- 30:44 - When to invest in LinkedIn Premium
Links mentioned in this episode: