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LinkedIn Success in 3 Easy Steps: Networking Edition

Despite my good luck with career opportunities through LinkedIn (which I've shared in Part 1 of this 'LinkedIn Success' series), I haven't been the most engaged user other than keeping my profile current.  I've only recently unlocked the key to the site's full potential.  It goes beyond just job hunting; it's networking in the palm of your hand.  I now log in to LinkedIn more often than I do to Facebook.  

My LinkedIn newsfeed is full of cool articles about cutting edge companies doing socially positive work, inspiring stories, and notices about my colleagues' promotions and job changes.  It's a lot more positive than much of the content I see on my Facebook newsfeed, which can be rife with divisive politics and heated arguments going nowhere.  LinkedIn, by comparison, has been a breath of fresh air among the myriad other social media platforms. 

One of my recent professional goals has been to expand my external industry profile (see my prior career planning post for help on developing your own).  Here again, LinkedIn has proven immeasurable.  The great thing about this particular website is that is has a multiplier effect.  With each activity you pursue - whether adding a new contact, publishing a new post, or commenting on someone else's post - the reach of your activity grows to people far beyond your immediate network.  Your contacts' contacts see your insights and might be compelled to respond to your thoughts or add you as a contact themselves.  Your sphere of influence grows by leaps and bounds.

Another great thing about the site is that it's a 'safe space' to toot your own horn about your professional accomplishments.  Self-promotion is literally what the site was created for, so such behavior doesn't come across as off-putting at all.  That's especially helpful for women, who struggle with advocating for themselves, studies reveal. 

With each promotion, article publication, and career change, you will be met with heaps of praise and congratulatory greetings.  There's a camaraderie among the active users building a community of support as we watch each others' careers grow.  It happens organically as long as you stay current and log in on a regular basis.  There's nothing else quite like it on the Internet (and perhaps even in real life)! 

If you're curious as to how I got to this point, I've outlined the three steps I took to take my LinkedIn to the next level below.  For optimal results, make sure you tackle steps 1 and 2 from my first 'LinkedIn Success' post linked above.

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Step 1: Browse Your LinkedIn Newsfeed/Homepage Regularly

  • Your newsfeed will be tailored to which companies you follow and who is in your network (plus sponsored ads, of course).
  • Congratulate your colleagues on their work anniversaries and other notifications you will get in the course of your usage. 
  • Like and comment on your connections' articles, posts, etc.

Step 2: Post Your Own Content and Share Others' Posts

  • Just like Facebook, you can write a note, status, or share/paste links to an article you wrote or one you enjoyed elsewhere on the web.  
  • Like and share content from organizations and people you follow.
  • Add your own two cents atop any link you share or publish. 
  • To quote Dale Carnegie: "Be lavish in your praise."  Don't be stingy or hold out on complimenting and praising your colleagues' work.  LinkedIn is a two-way street.

Step 3: Tag People and Places You Visit for Speakerships & Other Professional Events

  • Just like Twitter and Facebook, you can use hashtags and @ symbols to tag people and places when you are creating a post.  For example, I recently took a picture at my law school and created a LinkedIn post for it, and added the caption with various tags: "Proud to be speaking at a roundtable at the @BrooklynLawSchool Business Bootcamp. A must-have program at all law schools! #blsbusinessbootcamp"
  • Do this any time you're at a professional event, conference, work outing, etc.

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Let me know if you see any results from boosting your LinkedIn activity in this way, and please share your own tips in the comments below.  And of course feel free to add me to your LinkedIn network!

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