The Power of LinkedIn

2015-2016 Issue 1

LinkedIn is a worldwide career-oriented social networking site. It enables members to document their professional experience, highlight their personal references, and connect with a global network of users. The site has over 400 million members worldwide, including 12 million in Canada, with two new members joining the site every second. With statistics like that, inexperienced users are bound to be intimidated.

“If you think that LinkedIn is powerful, but you aren’t quite sure how to harness that power, you’re not alone,” says Emilie Nketiah, Career and Transition advisor at McGill’s School of Continuing Studies. “Having a strategy for LinkedIn can help guide you, the same way you need a strategy for your career.”

Planning ahead will help you determine how to proceed. What do you want to accomplish on LinkedIn? Who is your target audience? What should you share? Emilie’s provided a few tips to help you get started.

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1. Your Personal Profile

We’ve already provided you with plenty of tips on building a brilliant resumé. Yet building your LinkedIn profile may not simply be a matter of copy-and-paste. You likely have several versions of your resume, so you’ll have to decide what your priority is, and tailor it accordingly.

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. Building 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 it, 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? Just like other social networks, connecting with someone you have nothing in common with is frowned upon.

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. Participating in the Conversation

LinkedIn allows you to share updates, publish posts, join groups, and endorse your connections’ skills. As long as your strategy is business-oriented, Emilie encourages users to take advantage of those opportunities. “Posting a relevant news article, offering help in a group discussion, or writing a recommendation makes for a richer LinkedIn experience,” says Emilie.

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.

Emilie runs a workshop series to help individuals with their job search, which includes a three-hour session on optimizing your use of the site and improving your profile. For answers to specific questions, including how to connect with a stranger, how to ask for a recommendation, and what your headline should be if you’re not currently working, register for the upcoming Job Search Series.


One Response to “The Power of LinkedIn”
  1. Sarah Tavana says:

    Hi dear Emilie,

    I would be grateful to be given the chance to participate in your workshop to improve my linked and resume.

    Best regards,
    Sarah Tavana