LinkedIn is a professional social networking site. There you can connect with like-minded professionals, classmates, interest groups and alumni. Throughout your career many of those people will have opportunities, some of which may be ideal for you and just what you're looking for.
As the saying goes, 'it's not what you know, it's who you know'.
When I first decided to move to China I trawled through LinkedIn and found a number of people who were working in the city I was going to. Before I knew it I had a number of connections who in turn introduced me to my future colleagues. It was lovely to have that sense of community before I had even landed.
LinkedIn is fantastic for showing the world who you are, where you're from and what your background is. It's your online resumé! If I had a penny for every time someone said to me "oh I never knew you studied Business", or "Oh, I didn't know you speak Mandarin", I would be a very rich girl! Think of your LinkedIn profile as an extension of your resume. With a hardcopy of your resumé you're limited to 1-2 pages, with your LinkedIn profile you can give the details and expand on the bullet-pointed resumé. Display yourself in all your fabulousness!
Show your accomplishments, the projects you have worked on and what you have achieved within your profession. There are so many headhunters out there trawling through LinkedIn every day looking for the perfect candidate..... Opportunities await you!
LinkedIn is a very free platform. It allows individuals to publish posts, tell people as much or as little about themselves, upload images and in-mail back and forth with connections. This helps you to demonstrate your knowledge of an industry, product, process or theory and can really assist in solidifying your credibility as a candidate. Not just showing where you studied or what you worked at. It proves you're knowledgable about a topic!
Having a number of connections on LinkedIn is like having a number of relevant business card on file. These are important contacts that you can reach out to for advice, recommendations and even referrals. Think of them as mentors. People can be so friendly and helpful with their information. More often than not they are happy to offer advice.
Here are just a few tips for a limitless LinkedIn profile:
1. Make sure your contact information is up to date - This is probably one of the most frustrating things I see on LinkedIn. How are connections ever going to reach out with opportunities if your information is incorrect?
2. Have a great (but professional) profile photograph - a potential employer does not need to see a selfie of you in a bar or on a beach. Something clean and clear, against a plain background or the logo of your current company.
3. Ensure your current employment is up to date - there's nothing worse than having old information about your previous employer if you have since moved on. It looks lazy and could mean you miss out on new opportunities.
4. Join groups strategically - remember this is a professional network. Join groups within your industry, this is a great way to make new contacts. Join groups in your location, such as the chamber of commerce or a business forum. Keep your groups professional, it's not for your hobbies.
5. Put in all those certificates you achieved - first-aid training in the work place, manual handling and safety courses etc. They are all accomplishments for you within your company and can show initiative.
6. Be brave and reach out to people - if someone is in your dream job reach out to them. Mail them and ask what they did to get there, and ask if they have any advise for you. People can be so kind and offer great advise to you.
7. Check in with your profile often (3-5 times a week) - respond to connections and requests immediately if possible. Don't leave people waiting. They may have an amazing opportunity for you or be looking for advice from you.
Above all, remember LinkedIn is a professional platform. It is not supposed to be used for social media purposes. Be mindful of the articles you like and repost as your connections may get notifications about your activity and if it is not professional it will look bad on you.
Hope you enjoy connecting with the world!