How to use LinkedIn to your advantage

LinkedIn is a social networking site for professionals, and is by far the most well-used social networking site amongst the interim management community. LinkedIn has over 450 million users worldwide in more than 200 countries.

Used well, LinkedIn can enable you to be found by recruiters, can help you connect with people who might be able to give you work and will give you a platform on the world wide web to market your services. Essentially it is your online CV.

Create a great profile

You need a front-facing, professional photograph, with minimal background noise. Smile!

LinkedIn has a very high page rank in Google, and you need to keep this in mind when you are writing your profile. Think of the people that may need your services and what they might be searching for. Your Headline is a key part of this. Use short, informative phrases to help you pack in as much information as possible.

Use the Summary section to spell out your value proposition. People will probably decide to read on based on this section, so make it informative and engaging. Include information about what you can do (ideally results you have achieved), who you do it for (your target audiences) and why you are so good at it (your skills, knowledge and experience).

Keep your profile up-to-date with fresh content. Post regular updates about your industry sector and even the assignment that you are working on. Updates are also a great way to share useful resources that your peers may be interested in, and to share any articles that you write. These updates will automatically appear on the 'News Feed' of all your connections and will keep you front of mind with people who may be able to give you work.

 

Recommendations

Get recommendations from as many relevant people as you can. Don’t just get them to write what a ‘nice’ person you are, but get them also to think about what you helped them achieve. Write testimonials for others who have done a great job for you.

Connect

Start by all means with your current contacts. Most of them will already be on LinkedIn. The real beauty of social networking is the exponential growth in the number of people you can reach (referred to as ‘degrees of separation’). Don’t just connect with as many as possible, but target those you would really like to connect with. Search by company name or a person's name that you are targeting and you may see a potential route for getting a warm introduction to them.

We advise you not to use the ‘import contacts’ function. This will invite everyone on your contact list to LinkedIn, even if they are already registered under a different email address to the one you hold for them. It is much better practice to be selective about who you invite to connect, and personalise your invitation to connect with them (perhaps referring to the last time you met and mentioning why you would like to connect with them).

Join groups and get involved in discussions

Find relevant groups. There are countless groups on LinkedIn that are of particular relevance to interim managers. The Interim Hub group and the Institute of Interim Management group are both ideal places to start. Additionally, you may wish to join the LinkedIn groups of any interim providers you are targeting to keep up to date with the latest job vacancies. It is always a good idea to join groups that focus on your particular sector and function.

Ideally, get involved in discussion groups where your target markets ‘meet’ and get involved in answering or posing questions that are of interest to them. Following these discussions is a great way of identifying the key issues that concern them (and ways that you can offer your services to help them!).

You may simply wish to join certain groups to keep abreast of issues that interest you. Remember that you can ‘unjoin’ groups any time, thus avoiding the email ‘digests’ that arrive in your inbox every so often (these can be turned off or their frequency adjusted in your account settings).

Groups are also a great way to find out about available job roles. Every group has a ‘Jobs’ tab, in which recruiters and clients can post LinkedIn sponsored jobs (paid adverts), or free ‘job discussions’. Be sure to check these pages every so often, especially in niche groups that apply to your sector.

Remember, time is money

Lastly, keep your time spent on LinkedIn to a minimum. Spend time creating a great profile and connecting with important people in your network. Allot a small amount of time each day (we recommend no more than 30 minutes each morning) to connect, read, comment and update, so that you stay in touch with your network.

Happy networking!