Here are 5 tips I offer for getting more out of networking with LinkedIn. I may offer 5 more some other day and these are not necessarily the 5 most important, but here they are:
1. Customize your public profile URL.
This means your profile URL will look like this:
instead of this:
What’s easier to remember and find? Don’t know how to do it? It’s easy… Log in to LinkedIn.com. Click on “Profile”, then click on “Edit Profile” tab. Scroll down to “Public Profile” (right above “Summary”) and click “edit.” You will be directed to a new screen. Click “edit” again next to “Your Public Profile URL.” Change it to something memorable–I would suggest your full name. Use a middle initial or and underscore if your first choice is already taken.
2. For married women, consider including your maiden name.
Don’t miss out on opportunities to connect with people who knew you before you became Mrs. ____. You never know where past neighbors, coworkers, high school or college mates might be working today. They may be happy to refer you if only they could find you–don’t make it hard for them to do so.
3. Take advantage of the 3 URL’s available in your profile.
Your web site is a no brainer, presuming you have one. If not, don’t despair, consider using your Twitter ID, blog or even a link to an online article you’ve written or an online news article about you. Use these links to show other dimensions of you are–just make sure it’s professional and sends the message you want to send.
4. Do something with the pile of business cards you picked up at the last Chamber of Commerce meeting…
If you’re like me, you end up with a bunch of cards after every networking function. Sometimes an immediate connection and follow up is appropriate. Other times, neither of you may see an immediate need for the others’ services–those cards tend to get lost or maybe entered into a contact management database if you’re disciplined. Instead why not invite to join your LinkedIn network while the introduction is fresh in their minds? Search the contacts’ names to find out if they are already on LinkedIn. If not, send them an invitation to join.
5. It’s better to give…and receive! Referrals, that is.
Do you have a stack of client testimonials sitting in a folder somewhere in your office? Maybe some emails of a coworker singing your praises? How much more effective would these endorsements be for you if you invited these people to put their comments on LinkedIn? Some users depend on LinkedIn to find new vendors, employees or consultants. They have the choice to filter by looking for only contacts with a certain number of recommendations. Don’t miss out on these opportunities because you haven’t asked for endorsements. Don’t forget to be generous with giving endorsements where appropriate.
If you don’t know about LinkedIn, please visit http://LinkedIn.com to learn more. It’s an excellent tool for business networking–highly professional and practical as well… It serves as a self-updating Rolodex. Plus, it’s free (at least for the basic package.) Can’t beat the price.