Sneaky Ways to Improve Your LinkedIn Profile (When You're Already a Pro)

Sneaky Ways to Improve Your LinkedIn Profile (When You're Already a Pro)
Consider yourself a LinkedIn aficionado? Got one of the best LinkedIn profiles out there? Well, we've got news for you: you've still go work to do.
If you're a Linkedin geek like me, you may have grown tired of reading stacks of articles about "personalizing your URL" and "completing your profile summary." While these tips are useful for new LinkedIn converts, when you've completed all the basics and your profile is already at 'All Star' level, it can be hard to know what to do next.

Thankfully, here at Career Contessa, we’re all about pushing limits. If you’re facing LinkedIn stagnation, here are seven tips that will catapult your Linkedin strategy from all-star to straight up irresistible. My favorite? #3.

1. MAKE YOUR REQUEST TO CONNECT PROFESSIONAL AND PERSONAL

We know humans buy from humans. On LinkedIn, you aren't selling anything material, but you are effectively representing the brand of “you,” which people will choose to buy into (or not). This is where the fine art of personalizing messages comes in. When sending a connection request to someone who you're keen to meet, but who doesn't have very many mutual connections with you, ALWAYS personalize the request. It isn't necessary to go overboard, but a kind note about how you admire someone's career can go a long way.
Avoid endorsing people for everything, since it shows less thought. Nobody wants an endorsement in Microsoft Word. Don't do it.
Another—perhaps even more important—thing to do is to message people after connecting. Even if it's just a note to thank them, you would be surprised how much a few well-placed lines can help you build strong connections. If you're adding a new connection, sending a kind note is always a great way to connect and learn more about your fellow professionals. And if someone adds you, send them a message asking how you can help. This puts people on the spot (slightly) and makes them far more likely to be direct about why they wanted to get in touch.

2. Endorse PROFESSIONAL skills thoughtfully and often

Everyone loves a pat on the back. Adding a relevant, useful endorsement to someone's LinkedIn profile will show them that you've taken a look at their work and understand which skills they're trying to emphasize on their page. The key is to always endorse deliberately. Avoid endorsing people for everything, since it shows less thought. Also, nobody wants an endorsement in Microsoft Word. Don't do it. {click to tweet}

3. connect with your network (read: actually pick up the phone)

Busy people find it difficult to write out lengthy answers to a zillion questions, especially if they're at the top of their field and have so much advice to give that it would take them hours of typing. If you're in need of some clear advice, a great way to pick someone's brain is to just pick up the phone. Ask them if they'd be willing to chat for ten minutes (be specific about how long you think it will take), and give them a call. Speaking on the phone is also a very effective way of building a stronger connection with someone, so you may even leave the conversation with a coffee date!

4. Ask people for more specific recommendations

While LinkedIn recommendations usually help to build up your credibility, they don't always help clarify your skillset or key competencies. If you're a scriptwriter-cum-producer-cum-editorial guru, you may want to get recommendations that emphasize the breadth of your talents. Alternatively, if you're aiming at one specific career path but already have a couple of recommendations, it could be more useful to highlight your range of competencies in a way that could propel your career forward (if you're looking to head into high-level management, for example, you'd want your recommendations to emphasize your business acumen and understanding of strategic direction).

To maximize your chances of job- or skill-specific recommendations, make sure you keep in touch with your previous clients/employers on Linkedin and have built up enough of a relationship before asking, as they'll be far more willing to work with you if, you know, they like you. And when you do ask, be specific. Tell them what you're looking to emphasize on your LinkedIn profile and what you'd like them to talk about in the recommendation. Don't be afraid to request changes. A helpful recommendation that highlights your skills in the right areas is far more useful than a generic one that attests to your "enthusiasm."
Connections are only as strong as how you use them. I'm NOT saying you should ask people for a ton of favors within the first day of knowing them, but instead, take the time to get to know people.

5. Conduct regular linkedin profile audits

As your professional career evolves, so will the 'look' of your account, so make sure you keep tabs on what needs to be changed and what could be better. If you're a writer who's just starting out, you may want to add images and links to articles in the experience section of your profile as you go along, to create a more visual, credible profile. If you've been focusing on endorsing people and building your network, you may want to showcase your endorsements at the top of your profile (I would recommend this particularly if you have 50+ endorsements for your top skills).

Think about how your skills have grown over time and how to best showcase them on your page. You may also want to update your Linkedin profile summary and experience with more quantifiable results as you go along.

6. Build your PROFESSIONAL relationships over time

Connections are only as strong as how you use them. I'm not saying you should ask people for a ton of favors within the first day of knowing them, but instead, take the time to get to know people. {click to tweet} Offer your help. See how you could be of value to them. Building a strong network, just like a strong relationship, takes a lot of time and thought. There are certain people I know on Linkedin who I've been messaging for years, and I've honestly learnt so much from them in the process. Don't be afraid to take your time to get to know people, and build stronger relationships that will last. 

7. ACTUALLY USE LINKEDIN TO Publish, comment, share

Don't expect things to come to you. People often complain that others don't share or comment on their posts, but if they don't encourage people to engage, they shouldn't be surprised! If you want to build up your community engagement, the first thing to do is to start engaging yourself. Publish posts, but be sure to comment on and share other people's posts. Be an active member of your community. Be your favorite friend (you know, the one who always comments lovely things on your photos and makes you feel like a billion bucks. That friend.). Spread positivity and positivity will come right back at you!
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What are some of your favorite tricks on LinkedIn?