I Discovered a Free Trick to Unlock Premium LinkedIn Features, By Peter Gray

This is actually a grindingly boring article about how to improve your use of LinkedIn. There are some easy ways to make yourself more visible to potential customers, recruiters, candidates, followers, or whomever you're trying to get to notice you in Linkedin. (See that, grammar police? Whomever!) 

What prompted this? It all started with a message from my sister:

Hey Peter! Good to talk to you yesterday. I am updating my LinkedIn page to represent my current business. Can you take a quick look and give me any advice?

Since I have childhood memories of my big sister pinning my arm behind my back and practicing her Vulcan death grip on my neck, I thought it was pretty cool that now she's asking me for expert advice. My reply:

 Deb,

Your LI profile is great - just a couple simple suggestions there:

  • Have a good profile photo and a distinctive background photo.
  • Make sure your Summary statement and Experience descriptions are stocked with the keywords for which you want to be searched.

Overall though, all good there. Most of my advice is not actually about your profile page - it's about things you can do that will make you appear as a top search result to people searching for someone like you:

  • The one most important thing: grow your number of connections. This is the #1 way to be found on LinkedIn, since you are only visible to 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree connections, plus members of groups you join. So:
    • Connect with everyone you know. Include a personal note with your invitation to connect, especially you're rekindling contact with someone you've been out of touch with.
    • Search for people from your schools, former employers, etc. to connect with.
    • Prioritize connecting with people who have a lot of connections; and people in the business & geographic communities where you want to be visible.
    • If someone self-identifies as a LinkedIn Open Networker (or LION), that means they welcome you to connect with them even if they don't know you. This can really grow your network fast, since LIONs often have thousands of connections. But be careful - some LIONs are digital marketers out trolling LinkedIn to capture email addresses and grow their databases. 
  • Join lots of LinkedIn groups that fit your interests and affinities. This makes you and group members visible to each other, and accelerates growth of your connections.
  • Get active in networking events and groups in real life.
    • When you meet someone new, follow up by sending them a LinkedIn invitation to connect.
    • Connect with prominent, well-connected experts in your field whom you meet, such as speakers at events. Send a connection request with a personal note thanking them for their presentation.
    • Look for LinkedIn groups affiliated with your real-world networking and affinity groups, and join them. If there isn't one, start one.
  • Visit LinkedIn frequently to maintain activity and the currency of your account:
    • Make and accept new connections.
    • Check notifications and messages. You can also configure your settings to forward LinkedIn messages to your email.
    • Engage in group discussions.
    • Post, "like," and comment in your feed.
  • Extra credit: write articles in the area of expertise you want to showcase, and publish them on LinkedIn. The easiest way to do this: if someone asks you for advice, turn your reply into a LinkedIn article.  

Like I just did!

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