Have you been keeping track of what’s changed on LinkedIn? If better networking on LinkedIn is part of your 2013 goals, make the following pledges:
I will create a compelling summary. LinkedIn’s new profile layout looks more like a social media personal page and less like an online resume. Your story is as a important as your experience.
I will speak my mind in the groups. Keep it professional but don’t be bashful. Stating what everyone else is thinking but afraid to say is a fast way to build an excellent rapport with strangers.
I will check the discussion-to-comments ratio before investing time in a new group. Don’t waste time in blogspam groups. Find the navigation bar underneath the group name, then click More->Group Statistics->Activity. If the number of discussions is much higher than the number of comments, stay away.
I will get a professional headshot. The new LinkedIn profiles feature a much larger picture. A professional headshot is a solid investment, even without LinkedIn.
I will endorse the skills of others only when I really mean it. Resist the urge to turbo-click every checkbox in the Endorsements section when giving out approval. Endorsing one or two skills reflects better on both you and the person you’re endorsing.
I will try move LinkedIn relationships outside of LinkedIn. Don’t let new relationships sit on the shelf. Move them to other social media platforms, and ideally phone or in-person meetings. (This presumes you’re using it to connect with folks you don’t already know in “real life,” which not everyone does.)
I will increase my search rank. Unlike the Google search algorithm, LinkedIn still doesn’t penalize keyword over-optimization. Pepper keywords in your summary and experience, but don’t spam.
I will post my accomplishments. One of LinkedIn’s goals with the profile page change was to encourage social sharing, which is why the “Activity” box is so high on the profile page. Share major successes with your network to populate this area with a timeline of accomplishments.
I will not let warm leads get cold. One of the biggest mistakes people make when LinkedIn networking is not acting on potential leads. If you’ve noticed someone interesting has been browsed your profile, reach out to them within 20 days. Offer them something they can use, such as information or an invitation to a networking event.
I will continue to seek written recommendations. A skills endorsement does not carry the same weight as a written recommendation. Don’t forget to ask for a written vote of confidence from colleagues and satisfied clients.
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