Your Network is Your Net Worth – Are You Maximizing It?

FIRST TRUTH: OWN IT – DON’T LET LIFE HAPPEN TO YOU

Last week I stressed the importance of networking (or mingling) your way into a new job during the holidays. Online networking can be just as effective, if done properly. The best platform to do this is on LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network.

  • • LinkedIn has over 467 million users in over 200 countries/territories.
  • • 2 new members join LinkedIn every second.
  • • 40+ million students and recent college graduates are on LinkedIn, representing the fastest-growing demographic.

Your LinkedIn profile is an opportunity to provide additional information (and a splash of personality) that you couldn’t fit into your resume. Once you impress a hiring manager with your killer resume, she/he will likely conduct a bit of virtual sleuthing before contacting you. The 1st place they will go? You guessed it! Right here.

Why Else Should You Be On LinkedIn?

  • • You can follow companies and stay current on industry events.
  • • You can request introductions from your network to people at targeted companies.
  • • You can apply directly to a posted job – there are more than 6 million posted.

Four Features of an Optimal LinkedIn Profile

  1. COMPLETE. Are you an All Star user? The best way to reach this status is through a complete profile, with attention-grabbing Summary and Experience sections. What else do you need?
    • ○ Photograph: A professional head shot makes you 14 times more likely to be found – and 36 times more likely to receive a message. Please – NO pets, kids, friends, or booze in the picture.
    • ○ Vanity URL: Create a custom vanity URL. It’s much easier to remember and more visually appealing than the standard one you are given when you sign up. Then add it to your email signature, resume, and business cards.
    • ○ Skills / Endorsements: You can add up to 50 skills. Be strategic with your selections. How do they fit into your next role? Skills are also an easy way for your network to endorse you with the click of a button. When a connection visits your profile, an array of your skills pop up with an option to endorse you. The more endorsements on your profile, the more qualified you appear.
    • ○ Recommendations (or ‘ultra endorsements’): These are your public, online references. My personal rule of thumb is 1 per 50 connections.
    • ○ Interests: Do you run marathons? Or play in a band? Add them to this section. These hobbies are excellent conversation starters.
    • ○ Location: At least 30% of recruiters will look for candidates based on your geographic location.
  2. ENGAGED. Like other people’s updates. Wish them a happy birthday or work anniversary. Join groups and comment on discussions. Post your own updates or publish articles. Every move you make appears on your network’s feed. Be consistent, but careful not to overdo it. Connect with your colleagues, coworkers, classmates, friends & family. You’ll see how easy it can be to reach the 500+ mark!
  3. SEPARATE. LinkedIn is NOT Facebook or any other social media platform. This should only be used for professional networking. Like face-to-face networking, it’s best to refrain from talking about politics, religion, or any other hot topic unless it is directly related to your line of work.
  4. CLEAN. Keep your entire online footprint out of the dirt – this goes for Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, etc. Just because you deleted a controversial or inappropriate post or a tweet, doesn’t mean it’s gone for good. Beware and keep it clean!

#YourLaunchPlan – Fresh Start & Plumtree Financial have joined forces to provide recent college graduates with a roadmap for professional advancement and financial independence. The nice house and corner office don’t just happen overnight. You need a plan to get there. We can help. This was the 4th excerpt from our eBook, ‘5 Universal Truths for Recent Grads” A Step-By-Step Guide for Professional Development & Financial Freedom”.

Stay tuned for the next issue on: Interviewing.

ABOUT US

Kate Madden, MBA, CPRW is the founder of the Fresh Start brand – Fresh Start Resumes (writing service) & Fresh Start Careers (staffing agency). She is an award-winning certified professional resume writer whose work is featured in 2 books: ‘Modernize Your Resume: Get Noticed …Get Hired” and ‘Modernize Your Job Search Letters”. To learn more about Fresh Start, visit Fresh Start Resumes and Fresh Start Careers.

Beth D’Andrea, CFP, is the founder of Plumtree Financial Planning. She is a Certified Financial Planner® with over 20 years of industry experience. Beth provides top quality, independent, fee-only guidance to motivated individuals and families who wish to reach their financial goals. Everyone needs a well thought out financial plan. Visit Plumtree Financial Planning for more information.