LinkedIn: the most underappreciated web tool you aren’t using

Last week’s installment of WebBeatTV was a three-for-one series discussing how you should be using LinkedIn. The show’s host, Pelpina Trip sat down with Mike D. Merrill, president of the Social Media Club of Dallas, to discuss the ways in which a great LinkedIn profile can set you apart from the crowd.

I have to admit, I set up my LinkedIn account as a class requirement, and think of it as more of an afterthought when it comes to maintaining my web presence. But after watching Merrill discuss the site’s capabilities, I have a newfound respect for the professional social networking site. And because 86% of recruiters use LinkedIn today, it’s more important than ever to have a professional web presence.
Merrill stressed that LinkedIn “isn’t just for finding a job. It’s also about credibility.” He believes the two most under-used, yet most valuable, tools of the site are (1) status updates and (2) search capabilities.

Updating your status frequently, and with relevant and professionl information, keeps you at the top of your connections’ lists. And whereas Twitter and Facebook archive all your previous posts and updates, LinkedIn only shows your most recent message. Therefore, it’s important to make sure you’re LinkedIn updates are professional, interesting, and can potentially remain on your page for an extended period of time.

Merrill suggests posting at least once or twice per day, and to post about a business event you’re attending or to share pertinent media links. Also, make sure your updates relate to what you’re trying to accomplish on the site (find a job, gain credibility, strengthen business relationships, etc.).

And if you’re cringing over the idea of having to log on to multiple sites everyday to update your statuses, fear not! Once you add Twitter to your LinkedIn profile, you can just use the #li  or #in hastags when you tweet, and it will automatically cross-post to LinkedIn. Behold the power of technology!

The search capabilities of LinkedIn can also be a powerful tool for whatever your professional goals may be. Most people opt for the basic, free account, but there are many useful benefits to the monthly paid accounts. For one, whereas with the free account you may only see 100 or so results, the paid accounts get you a much wider access to accounts. Whether or not you should purchase the premium package depends on how you’re trying to use the site. If you’re recruiting or trying to really expand your brand, the paid account may be the way to go.

With that said, I urge you to do the following things to improve your LinkedIn page:

  1. Set up your Twitter account in LinkedIn so you can cross-post your status updates
  2. Fill that sucker up! Because your printed resume is often a single-page representation of your abilities, you can use your LinkedIn page to really lay it all out on the table, in detail.
  3. Join at least 25 groups to which you relate. Clubs, schools, societies – you name it, it’s out there!
  4. Connect with at least 20 people. Research says people with 20 or more connections are more than 30% more likely to be sought after for a job than those who have five or fewer connections.

Do these things, and voila! You’ve just become more desirable. Read LinkedIn’s blog on how to improve your LinkedIn page, and go here to see the full, 3-part series of Pelpina and Mike’s LinkedIn interview.

Happy Blogging,

Katy Hartwick

2 Responses to “LinkedIn: the most underappreciated web tool you aren’t using”
  1. Jewlz says:

    Do you feel like LinkedIn is almost making a comeback? I don't know if it's because Twitter and Facebook get more attention or if the importance of LinkedIn hasn't really been reinforced for me, but it seems like there's a bit of a rebirth for the site. And on that note, I do believe I'll go clean mine up a bit…

    • Jewlz, I miss seeing you in class! Hope you’re doing well. As far as LinkedIn goes, I don’t know if it’s making a comeback, as I’m not sure it was ever really the “it” thing to begin with? I feel like people make LinkedIn profiles because their professors/coworkers/unemployment-office-workers tell them to. I definitely think there’s a lot more to the site that people don’t really understand yet. The way it connects you with other is often really on point. I’ve found it useful as a way of figuring what kinds of jobs people in my field have been getting, where they’ve found work, and what kinds of things they put on their profiles. It’s definitely given me a few ideas in that regard. So yes, clean up that profile!

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