LinkedIn has been around for some time now, but few Filipinos actually know how to use it. Understandably, only recruiters, entrepreneurs, and angel investors are among the few who are using this supremely powerful social network effectively. But what the every-Juan doesn’t know is that it’s great for building professional connections.
But I already have connections. Do I need more?
Not to sound Business 101 here, but the currency of 21st-century business, in my opinion, is your relationship with people. Money, I think, is always there, but on the occasions that it isn’t, the next best thing is the connections you develop.
Allow me to illustrate: You meet a graphic designer on LinkedIn. Let’s call him Chris. He’s skilled at brand design, and you, at business development. You find yourself in need of a logo designer a few months later for a bootstrapped project you want to take off the ground. Being bootstrapped (read: low to zero-project), you need someone who can do an amazing job for cheap or, better yet, free.
You remember connecting with Chris, and your last conversation being about hitting up each other whenever one needs something. You hit him up, and bam, he says he’ll do it for free, if you’ll lend a hand developing a business model for his T-shirt business. This is how it is now, the way I see it. We trade care and attention, which is exactly why LinkedIn is such an amazing tool.
What is LinkedIn anyway?
The simplest way I can describe LinkedIn is that, as cliched as it sounds, it is like Facebook for professionals. You have the same functionalities like messaging, “connecting” with people (the “add friend” equivalent on Facebook), and joining groups. Calling it a virtual networking hub for professionals and business owners would be accurate too.
There are, however, more features tailored to LinkedIn’s core demographic. There are job boards, online resources in just about every skill you can think of, and the Pulse feature (perhaps my favorite).
How do I use LinkedIn?
That depends on what you intend to use LinkedIn for. At first glance, LinkedIn is perfect for headhunting, so recruiters and HR executives will definitely find themselves on this network. But beyond that, LinkedIn is also a terrific tool for networking, as I have mentioned, and even a lead generation tool, as discussed in this post.
I myself found leads on the website using the Pulse feature. Pulse is something of a blog, a la WordPress, a la Medium. You post stuff that’s relevant to your niche or career, share it with people who might find value in reading it, and other people discover your stuff. It works a whole lot better and faster than I’ve ever imagined. There was one instance that I got a simple, but expensive WordPress development gig by posting this article on my LinkedIn Pulse.
Okay. I’m in. Where shall I start?
Your profile. This would be the first thing your potential connections will see. Make sure that everything is filled out properly. It is also advisable to use SEO. LinkedIn has a pretty robust Search functionalities, and if you’re a plumber in your area, you best be using that keyword somewhere in your profile so that your prospects can easily find you.
Here’s a quick checklist of what you can do to maximize the impact of your LinkedIn profile:
- Fill out all important information on your profile. Use SEO.
- Use a professionally taken photograph as your profile picture. Save the selfies for Facebook and Instagram.
- Give endorsements of your past and current colleagues’ skills, and ask if they can return the favor to you.
- Ask and give recommendations to your past and current colleagues.
- Join groups that are relevant or of interest to your career. Engage in said groups.
- Follow the companies you want to connect with.
- Post on your LinkedIn Pulse at least once a month, consistently.
- Post relevant stuff on your feed. These can be articles that are related to your work, photos of your workplace, etc.
- If you’re looking for a job, use the nifty Jobs feature. The competition can grow stiff, but the companies are usually all great, so it’s definitely worth a try.
LinkedIn is an extremely powerful networking tool for professionals. I’m still staggered by the small number of Filipinos using it. One thing that this brings up, though, is that LinkedIn, at this current moment, may still be an as yet untapped source of jobs, gigs, and professional collaborations. I urge you all to try it.
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