How to establish your presence and network effectively on LinkedIn

If you’re a student in university, you’ve probably heard someone going ‘please help me take my LinkedIn photo’. LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional networking site, with over 225 million users (kind of like an adult Facebook). But unlike Facebook, LinkedIn connects working professionals, from freelancers to CEOs. It’s also a site where students readying for the workforce are able to build and record their work and academic experiences. But just like any social media platform, the aim of LinkedIn is to connect individuals! LinkedIn allows its audience to network and expand their (professional) reach, helping them in the workplace.

Why is establishing presence and networking so important?

You might think: why link up with people online when I could just meet them in real life? That’s true, but in this day and age, networking isn’t limited to just events and functions. Meeting someone who could provide you with help in your campaign, or a possible future hire is now just a click away with LinkedIn. Nowadays, many potential employers or hires LinkedIn stalk each other to find out more about the company or person, before a physical meetup. That’s why having a strong LinkedIn profile could be your key to unlocking a new opportunity.

A core fundamental of LinkedIn is to grow your connections. Whether you’re on Linkedin for work, to search for a new job or internship, or gathering leads, a good personal brand and presence is essential for your career. On top of that, connecting with fellow peers, colleagues and industry professionals will also help to boost your reputation in the LinkedIn world. Knowing the right people could open the right doors for you in the future!

5 tips to a confirm-plus-chop effective LinkedIn presence 

Learn to build your personal brand

This includes choosing the right pictures, tone and additional information to include. For example, if you’re gunning for an internship at an esteemed financial corporation, be sure to check your profile picture. You wouldn’t want hiring managers from your dream job dismissing your profile as unprofessional, just because of your shirtless profile picture. A safe way to go is to always dress professionally for your profile picture: A crisp shirt or blouse will be good enough!

In addition, writing a good blurb for your profile could go a long way. Think about your interests, achievements and strengths. Inject your personality into your writeup. it’s the first thing people will read when visiting your profile, and you sure as hell want to make a good impression.

There’s many ways to go about personal branding. One tip is to link your LinkedIn page to your personal website or online portfolio. This ensures that your work can be conveniently accessed by future employers or colleagues. You could also upload your resume onto your profile, making it easier for hiring managers to look out for you. If you don’t have a personal website, don’t panic. Adding images or media references to your list of experiences is also  great way to create a digital portfolio!

Connect with people

The easiest way to do this is to link your contacts to your account. LinkedIn will automatically search for their profiles, making it extremely convenient to find people who you already know with just a click. Another way is to look through the suggested connections. Often, you’ll spot a few mutual friends or colleagues that you might have met previously.

Connecting with people regularly will help to cast your networking net further. For example, try to send invites to people you’ve met at functions or events. Reaching out is the best way to maintain everlasting connections. Here’s a secret tip: when connecting with these acquaintances, don’t just hit the ‘connect’ button. Consider adding a personal note to the invite, such as ‘Great meeting you last week at xxx, was wondering if you could share more about what projects you’re engaged with? Let’s keep in touch.’ This not only jogs the other person’s memory of you, but also brings the connection deeper.

If you’re interested in connecting with someone you don’t know, include a personal note along with your invite. This could be something as simple as ‘ Hi, I’ve noticed some of your work and would love to know more about what you do!’ If they do accept your connection, remember to send a follow up message! After all, you want them to remember you.

Share relevant content on your Linkedin feed

Just like any other social media timeline, you’ll see countless posts on your feed. Posting, commenting and sharing content that you personally enjoy will help your followers to gain a better perspective of who you are as a person. In addition, reposting posts from accounts you follow is also a good way to share your interests with your connections. These posts might just be effective conversation starters when forming new connections, or rekindling old ones.

Also, post often. Posting often might increase the chances of your posts being shared by others. This way, your outreach will stretch further, and might also lead to new connections formed.

Join a couple of LinkedIn groups

Who doesn’t love being part of a cool community? Joining a couple of groups on topics that you’re interested in is the first step to broadening your professional network (outside of people you already know). To find groups, simply type a keyword, for example: Social Media, into the search bar. Once you’ve found a suitable group, participate in discussions by commenting, or posting a discussion question of your own.

A group is a great opportunity to debate, discuss, and share ideas about topics or projects you’re currently dabbling in. When you interact with others in the group on a daily basis, they’ll be more likely to connect.

Ramp up the endorsements and recommendations!

These can be of insane help to boosting the credibility of your profile! Endorsements are sort of a confirmation of your skills. For example, getting endorsements for your hard-skills (Photoshop, Illustrator) could add to your portfolio. These virtual ‘ticks’ can be given to you by your friends, past colleagues, clients and connections. If your connections gave you a helping hand by endorsing your skill, do extend your gratitude by reciprocating the gesture!

Another good thing to have will be recommendations These are a step up from endorsements as they’re more in-depth and personal. If your past employer wrote you a stunning recommendation letter, do include it under your list of recommendations.

Connections, connections, connections

It’s never too early—or late—to start networking. As a student, don’t be afraid to start adding your friends on LinkedIn, or even your professors! You never know who might reach out to you for a chat or an opportunity. So if you don’t already have a LinkedIn account, what are you waiting for? Get on there and start connecting today!

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