À l’échelle humaine : January 18, 2017

2016-2017 Issue 1

IMG_3981Building your career requires that you approach each opportunity strategically. During each step of the process – from landing your first job and showcasing your potential, to spicing up your resume, networking with industry contacts, pursuing professional development courses and building your brand – standing out from the crowd works in your favour.

Our next series will focus on distinguishing yourself from your competition, doing it skillfully and using it to your advantage. We’ll start where nearly everyone goes to grab attention these days: online.

 

Stand out Online: The Power of LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a professional networking site that enables members to highlight their skills, nurture their network, and connect with new contacts. With over 400 million members worldwide – including 12 million in Canada – there’s no doubt that LinkedIn is a potentially powerful tool. If you’re not quite sure how to harness that power, you’re not alone.

For inexperienced users, LinkedIn can be intimidating. But planning ahead and having a strategy can help guide you, just the same as it helps you guide your career. What do you want to accomplish on LinkedIn? Who is your target audience? What should you share? We’ve provided a few tips to help you get started.

 

1. Build your Personal Profile

Building your LinkedIn profile should not simply be a matter of copy-and-pasting your CV. You likely have several versions of your resume, so you’ll have to decide what your priority is, and tailor it accordingly. Consider your summary section the value-add of your profile.

ProTip: LinkedIn is not the same as Facebook. Your profile should reflect how you wish to be seen in a professional context, and that includes your profile photo.

 

2. Establish your Network

LinkedIn offers you the option of importing your email contact list. Before you do, consider your target audience. Who do you want to connect with? What do you expect to get out of LinkedIn, and how can you give back? Rather than simply collecting contacts, focus on authentic relationships. Did you meet someone at an event you’d like to pursue a conversation with in the future? Do you have commonalities you’d like to explore? Reach out to new contacts with a personalized note that reflects your interest, rather than the generic template that is more nonchalant.

ProTip: Avoid treating your contact list as a status symbol. Don’t request to connect with the CEO simply to be associated with them, and don’t be a hoarder. You may have over 500 contacts, but can you have a conversation with these people if the situation required it?

 

3. Participate in the Conversation

The magic of LinkedIn lies in the numerous opportunities it provides users to engage. You can share updates, write an article, join groups, and write recommendations. As long as your strategy is business-oriented, we encourage you to take advantage of those opportunities.

ProTip:  Participating in group discussions exposes you to members outside your network, which can be a powerful research tool. Use it to trace members’ career paths and analyze how their education, experience and skills helped them get where they are today.

 

4. Grow your Network

Interacting on the site is the best way to grow your network beyond your established contacts: conduct a search for industry professionals in a specific company, sector or skillset, and chances are they are a 2nd or 3rd degree connection to you. LinkedIn will specify what you have in common with each user, be it an alma mater, a past company or a mutual contact. Leverage the magic of this networking site by asking for a targeted introduction. It is like getting a professional reference to pick up the phone for you and speak on your behalf, instead of sending an anonymous e-mail.

ProTip: Always personalize your messages and make sure they can be forwarded as they are. Customize your introduction with a concise, genuine, flattering note that provides context to your request, so that your mutual connection can comfortably open the door for you.

 

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