Over the last 30 or so days I increased my LinkedIn connection count from about 280 connections to over 500 relevant connections. I’m now in the 500+ club. 🙂
I noticed that like myself, a lot of professionals are underutilising their LinkedIn profiles. Low connection counts and poor work history will essentially exclude you from jobs that you apply for due to LinkedIn’s ‘relevance’ / ‘skills matching’ algorithms. Here are a few things you can do that will take just a few minutes every day and I guarantee you that you will increase your connection count and marketability. This is what I did.
Step 1 – Clean up your profile
First and foremost, add a profile picture.
This is a very necessary step as it automatically lays the foundation for trust. People are more likely to take your profile seriously if you have a front facing photo of yourself. Personally, I don’t think it matters if you are in formal attire or not, so long as I can see your face clearly. Try and make your headshot the focus of the image. Please use your own because if for some reason you have a video interview later and the interviewer realises that you had a fake profile pic, then you will lose trust points, and quite likely the job.
Then move on to your actual profile. You want to reach the LinkedIn ‘All Star’ profile status which simply means that you have a near complete profile. Fill in as much professional and educational information as possible.
A lot of people understate their experience. I noticed this with my own profile too. I had a very loose, high level overview of my work history. I only realised this after viewing a Job on LinkedIn and noticed that they have an applicant strength indicator. What this does is based on your profile and work history, it tries to intelligently match up your skills with the job on offer and shows you how you compare to other applicants. So add some detail but don’t narrate too much. Remember, someone looking to hire you will first browse your profile for keywords. So avoid long stories and try a bulleted approach for each work/experience entry.
Maximise use of your summary as this is what recruiters will look at first. Don’t bore with hobbies and too much about your personal life. Keep it professional and to the point. Highlight a few keywords but don’t go overboard and keyword stuff your summary or any job entry in your profile to be honest. It’s just annoying and you may get overlooked for doing so.
Step 2 – Work on your connections
You need to build your connection count. But don’t go inviting just about anyone. That will quickly get restrictions placed on you. Also, you really should be connecting with people that you can learn from or increase your marketability with – in addition to people you have actually worked with. It’s beneficial to connect with people who:
- Are own field, either up or down the chain. Or even in the field that you want to get into.
- Figures that you look up to i.e your role models.
- Recruiters in your field
- LinkedIn Influencers ** Keep in mind that not all Influencers are worth their salt so be careful here.
Now there is a right way and a wrong way to invite a connection. LinkedIn makes it all to easy to do it the wrong way. The wrong way to invite someone you don’t personally know is by using the default invite. It shows a lack of initiative and that you really don’t care enough. What you should be doing is sending personalised invites.
This is the default invite that someone will receive:
It is very generic, not very personal. I’m likely to ignore a request like this.
So how about something like this:
People are more likely to connect with you if you offer a personalised invitation. I know I would.
Step 3: Interact
A lot of us are quite happy reading articles and whether we like/dislike agree/disagree we just move on without leaving a comment. One way to increase your LinkedIn visibility is to interact more. If you read an article, why not leave the author a comment, or even respond to another comment already present. Don’t be afraid to question and make bold statements if you don’t agree with what was said. Be tactful, and there is no need to be nasty.
I’ve had a few connection requests based on my comment interaction via Pulse posts alone, so this is definitely worth doing. It’s another valuable way to connect with people.
Join relevant groups and interact on their discussion boards/articles. People will get to know who you are faster this way. Try to interact at least once or twice a week. It does not take a long time.
Remember that all your interaction/activity gets published on your activity feed which in turn is published to all your connections. So, the more often you interact, the better your visibility.
Linked In gives you a nice visual of your activity if you are a Premium member. It also allows you to see who viewed your profile, which can be quite interesting
As you can see, I was quite active for most of December 2014, but towards the end, it took a dip due to the holidays.
Step 4: Understand the LION (Linked In Open Network)
A Linked In Open Networker is someone who will accept an invite from you irrespective of whether they know you or not. The acronym LION or phrase ‘Open Networker’ can be used to search for these individuals.
There are pro’s and con’s to being an Open Networker and I would not advise stating yourself as one, nor connecting with every LION out there. Most will probably bombard you with marketing spam. But what I suggest you do is match up with people relevant to where you are and where you want to be. For each of you, that will be slightly different. For example, I like to do the above but I also like to include freelancers that I may employ at some point in the future as well as people looking to work online (Bloggers, Writers, Researchers etc).
Step 5: Protect your connections
Some people would really like to connect with you, only to see your connections. It’s part of the ‘Connection Mining’ operations and these types of connections are not really that valuable to you. So I’d suggest keeping your connections private.
You can set this to ‘Only You’ via the Manage Privacy Settings portion of the site.
Step 6: Write Articles
Another nice way of gaining popularity and increasing your LinkedIn presence is to write short (or long) articles on LinkedIn Pulse. It does not have to be life changing, out of this world articles. Discuss anything you want. It would be good if you kept it relevant and current. You want people to get a sense of who you are, again attracting the right kind of connections.
Step 7: Ask for recommendations
This is quite a valuable part of LinkedIn. It’s kind of like the Google ranking algorithm in a sense. If you get recommendations from members with a strong profile, then you will be seen in a good light. Make sure it is someone who knows you personally and you had worked with in the past. Don’t ask family members or any of the people you connected with using the above techniques. According to LinkedIn, these recommendations are akin to references. So make it count.
I’m sure there are loads of other things that you can do to increase your LinkedIn status, these are just some of the things that I’ve tried and seem to work well.
If you have a tip or trick that you think will help someone, do drop me a note in a comment below.
Thanks for stopping by