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Published March 13, 2020
Published March 13, 2020
Kon Karapelas via Unsplash

LinkedIn is the number-one online space for professionals to develop their careers and grow their networks, which might explain why so many people are afraid to use it. The platform might seem daunting when you start out, but there are a few steps that you can employ to take advantage of the largest online networking event in the world.

Making a Stand-Out Profile

This should really go without saying, but making a pitch-perfect profile is the first step to showing you’re serious about connecting through LinkedIn. The platform is full of tips and stats on how to improve your profile, so make sure you follow those first.

It also helps to look at your industry leaders and influencers to see how they’ve made their profiles. Whilst exact copying is a little creepy, notice the tone of their bios and the keywords in their headers for guidance. Once you’re done, copy that content to your other social accounts so that you present a united image across your online presence.

Building a Network

In today’s business market a professional network is pretty much indispensable when it comes to developing your career potential. Even with the job market expanding all the time and recruiters begging for candidates, knowing the right people and making connections is without a doubt the best way to expand your opportunities.

When it comes to networking through LinkedIn, give some thought to your connection requests. As Bernie Holliday, a career writer, advises: “Quality always trumps quantity. It doesn’t matter if you’re connected to a thousand profiles if none of them are industry leaders or influential people.”

Thankfully, when it comes to meeting influential people, LinkedIn is a great way to approach. The platform practically encourages you to reach out to people you’ve never met, so use those opportunities to introduce yourself to potential employers or business partners. Don’t send generic messages, always be friendly and respectful, and above all be enthusiastic. People are much more likely to contact you back if you make a good first impression.

Engage, Engage, Engage

Making connections is only the first step of LinkedIn; after that you have to keep up the relationship by engaging your audience. It’s very easy to add someone and forget about them, so remind your new influential contacts that you’re active by putting in the work on the platform. All it takes is jumping on the platform once a week to show that you’re actively engaged.

There are lots of ways to show you’re an active user eager to maintain relationships. Capitalize on when LinkedIn sends you notices about your connections: send congratulations for new jobs, anniversaries, or special occasions, though make sure they’re more than the generic response. Dole out endorsements generously, and while seeking recommendations for your profile is a definite yes, make sure they’re from reputable sources—a former manager or professor, not a friend or family member.

Build Your Brand

To the above point, LinkedIn is more than posting an ad and waiting for the offers to tumble in. A profile is essentially a collection of consistent marketing actions with you as the product. Just as a company wouldn’t haphazardly throw content at your users, make sure you do your research and present precisely the image you want to put out there.

As says Barbara Conchord, a LinkedIn expert: “Always remember, LinkedIn is a professional platform. You don’t flood it with photos like you do Instagram, nor post about your pet peeves like on Facebook. Make sure your LinkedIn content is top quality and relating to your professional life”

For this, knowing your intended market is essential. A LinkedIn profile for an environmental conservation professional will look completely different from someone designing augmented-reality video games. Know who you want to connect to and study what content they engage with and what tone they put out. Putting yourself in the right ballpark is half the battle.


As with any business development practice, LinkedIn gives you as much as you put into it. Make the most of this tool and you’ll see the dividends in career developments.


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