How to use LinkedIn to enhance your career

LinkedIn is a great resource to improve your career.  It has definitely worked for me as the last 5-6 jobs I have been hired for was because a recruiter found me through LinkedIn or I noticed a job posting on LinkedIn.  And because my income has nearly tripled over those last few jobs it is proof that using LinkedIn is extremely valuable for your career.  Along the way I have gathered some tips to help you get the most out of LinkedIn:

  • Of course the first thing to do is create a LinkedIn profile if you have not already done so.  I’m still amazed at how many times I have searched for a person on LinkedIn and not found them
  • Use a professional looking picture.  I see too many profile pictures that belong on Facebook, not LinkedIn.  Your picture is the first thing a recruiter or a colleague sees when they pull up your profile.  Make a good first impression
  • Fill in all your job descriptions.  Just like you do for a resume, because that is just what LinkedIn is, an online resume.  Make sure to list all the tools you used at each job.  Recruiters search profiles for keywords so make sure your profile shows up in their search results by including important keywords in your job descriptions.  You can bet when a recruiter searches for a tool in the Microsoft BI stack my profile shows up.  And LinkedIn tells you have many times you have shown up in search results each day
  • Make sure to get at least a few LinkedIn recommendations.  It not only makes your profile look better but some recruiters use those instead of asking for references
  • Not only is LinkedIn an online resume, but you can actually create a resume from it and email/fax/print it. Check out Resume Builder.  I just use that instead of keeping a separate resume
  • Fill out your LinkedIn profile completely, just like you do with your resume.  Make sure to do the sections “Skills & Expertise”, “Certifications”, and “Education”
  • Keep your LinkedIn profile constantly updated.  It does not take that much time to add a new job, add a new certification, etc
  • Connect to as many people as you can.   I have tried to connect with every SQL Server MVP, known expert, popular blog poster, etc, I could find so I have a large assortment of updates and blogs to read (I have acquired about 2500 connections in just over a year).  I have found LinkedIn to be the best resource for keeping my skillset up as every day I find something interesting to read and learn about.  I even connect to many recruiters so I show up at the top of their search results.  Plus, when I have a new blog post I mention it on my LinkedIn status update and all my connections will then see it, so it drives traffic to my blog and builds my personal brand
  • Enter your blog site and twitter account in your profile.  So when people find you on LinkedIn, they can easily jump to your blog or follow you on twitter.  Also, if you are using WordPress for your blog, use the WordPress LinkedIn Application so you can sync your WordPress blog posts with your LinkedIn profile
  • Use the tool twitterfeed.  When you have a new blog post, it will trigger a tweet in your twitter account and use the hashtag “#in”.  In LinkedIn, you will want to set it up so that any of your tweets with the hashtag “#in” will show up in your LinkedIn status update (click here for instructions).  Therefore, the end result is any new blog post of yours will automatically show in your LinkedIn status update for all your connections to see.  UPDATE: As I wrote this, twitter no longer allows tweets be displayed on LinkedIn (see The rise of LinkedIn’s news feed (And how Twitter made a big dumb mistake)).  So while I will still use twitterfeed to have my blog posts tweeted when there is a new blog, now I will have to manually enter a status update in LinkedIn when I have a new blog post.  When you do this, use the “attach a link” option and enter into the “share an update” box something like “[Blog] YourBlogTitle” or “has a new blog post: YourBlogTitle”.  Or you could install a Share plug-in on your blog site and click the LinkedIn share icon after you post a new blog.  Note when clicking the LinkedIn share icon or when using the “attach a link” option, for the LinkedIn status update sometimes it will grab the first few sentences of the blog post and sometimes it will use the meta description of the blog post.  I’m not sure why it’s not consistent, but you can always edit what it pulls before posting it.  UPDATE 11/9/2012: Good news: JetPack for WordPress now has a “Publicize” features that automatically updates various social media when you have a new post, including Twitter and LinkedIn.  Check it out here.  So I will no longer have to use twitterfeed or manually enter a status update in LinkedIn when I have a new blog post.  Yeah!
  • Join a bunch of groups.  Many of them have excellent discussion groups, plus it makes it easier to connect to others as you can specify the group you have in common with someone else when connecting
  • Create a job search.  Set it up to look for certain keywords and have the matching jobs emailed to you daily.  It’s a great way to find jobs or just see the demand for your specialty
  • Follow companies.  You can keep up on their job postings and announcements, and connect to people who work for those companies that interest you
  • Read the status/activity updates every day.  It’s a great way to see what everyone is up to, what interesting blogs they wrote, interesting links they posted, etc
  • Endorse a lot of people as many will recipocate
  • Check out my LinkedIn profile for a good example of some of the tips mentioned above

More Info:

7 Things You’re Doing Wrong on LinkedIn

5 LinkedIn Tips for Career Success in 2012

LinkedIn Tips: 9 Things You Should Never Do On The Social Network For Professionals

Heads up, LinkedIn users: 93% of recruiters are looking at you

Video LinkedIn and How to Maximize Your Brand

No LinkedIn Profile? You Might Be Invisible

13 New Ways To Make Your LinkedIn Profile Irresistible

Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter: Making the Most of Social Networking at Work

What Recruiters Want to See on Your LinkedIn Profile

About James Serra

James currently works for Microsoft specializing in big data and data warehousing using the Analytics Platform System (APS), a Massively Parallel Processing (MPP) architecture. Previously he was an independent consultant working as a Data Warehouse/Business Intelligence/MDM architect and developer, specializing in the Microsoft BI stack. He is a SQL Server MVP with over 25 years of IT experience.
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4 Responses to How to use LinkedIn to enhance your career

  1. Koen Verbeeck says:

    Couldn’t agree more. My last 2 jobs also came through networking. Not saying my income has tripled, but I can’t complain :)

    Also, people who compare LinkedIn with Facebook don’t understand what the purpose of LinkedIn is.

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