LinkedIn is an excellent tool to stay up-to-date in your industry, career, and with your colleagues. LinkedIn is so much more than a landing page for your resume. If you play your cards right, you can use LinkedIn to stay ahead of the game and professionally relevant.
#1 Keep your LinkedIn Up-to-date
This sounds obvious and straightforward but you’d be surprised at how many people just skip this part. They think it’s not important, but since you’re reading this article you won’t make that mistake. There are a ton of different guides when it comes to keeping your LinkedIn sharp. Some key details I’d encourage you to keep in mind are your LinkedIn URL, header, work experiences, and education.
- Keep your LinkedIn URL clean and simple
- Include key accomplishments in your work experience
- Include relevant education experience (take out your high school)
#2 Follow relevant professionals, companies, and topics
LinkedIn has a slew of amazing industry influencers who post and promote amazing content. These influencers tend to be pushing innovation in their respective industries. If you find a professional on LinkedIn that you respect, follow them. I also encourage you to follow your colleagues whom you admire as well.
Steps to Follow a Person
- Find the profile of the person
- Click the “Follow” button.
Now whenever they post a new article or have something new coming up, their content will populate your feed. Some of the people I follow on LinkedIn are Oprah Winfrey, Kofi Annan, Sanyin Siang, and Sallie Krawcheck.
Follow the same pattern for companies. I encourage you to follow prominent companies in your industry and industry of interest if you are considering transitioning. If another industry greatly impacts your own then I encourage you to keep tabs on that industry as well.
For example, if you are in the restaurant industry, then you know that oil and gas prices will greatly impact your business. It would behoove you to keep track of both your industry and the oil and gas industry. Some of the LinkedIn companies I follow include Harvard Business Review, Pearson, Khan Academy, Udacity, Phi Beta Kappa Society, and Times Higher Education.
Bonus tip: Whenever you follow a company, professional or topic, check out the list on the right of the screen. It will suggest other companies, professionals or topics that are similar to the one you just followed.
Topics are more generic but think of topics as a foundation for your LinkedIn feed. They influence your default content. For example, I follow topics that are important to me such as Higher Education, Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Social Media, Professional Women, Tuition, and Careers.
Bonus tip: To the right of your screen on your homepage, you’ll see a list of recommended topics and influencers to follow. If you click “view more recommendations” you’ll be redirected to more topics, influencers, connections, and companies that you are connected to on LinkedIn.
#3 Lynda Learning platform
Lynda is an online learning platform owned by LinkedIn. You can acquire essential hard and soft skills on their platform and integrate it directly into your LinkedIn profile, resume and cover letter. You can add any new skills to the “Skills and Endorsements” section of your LinkedIn profile.
There are three major categories: business, creative and technology. Each category is organized into three major subcategories: subject, software and learning paths. If you are trying to transition to another industry or pick up a skill that requires a fair amount of experience you may be lacking, I strongly encourage you to take a learning path. Some learning paths include becoming a 2D Digital Animator, becoming an SEO Expert, and becoming a Front-End Web Developer. You can also find a whole host of courses on soft skills like Thinking like a Leader, Communicating across Cultures, and Developing Business Acumen.
Check out the job description of your ideal career as well as the LinkedIn Workforce report from a city near you to get a sense of the skills and experience your industry values. A sample of popular courses includes Body Language for Leaders, Project Management Foundations, Excel 2013: Advanced Formulas and Functions, J.T. O’Donnell on Making Recruiters Come to You, and Online Marketing Foundations.
Check out my other article on using LinkedIn to fill a skills gap.
#4 Read, read, read
Take the time to actually read the content that’s curated on your feed. If you’re strategic about the people, companies, and topics you follow then your feed will be catered to your industry and interests. There should be good relevant content on there to help you keep fresh.
Don’t pressure yourself to read everything because that’s unrealistic but take ten minutes in the morning to scroll through, pick a couple of articles and learn something new. The nice thing about LinkedIn is that most of the content is geared towards busy professionals so you’ll find that the articles are short and straight to the point.
#5 Inquire and Clarify.
If there is an article or topic that you are really interested in, but you are still confused about then mention that in the comments section. Chances are if you’re confused then there are other people with the same question. Read the comments section see what you find.
If you’re concerned that your question will get lost in the shuffle, you can direct message the author of the article or you can make a comment and tag the author of the article in the comment so they know you have a question specifically targeted toward them.
#6 Share content and insight
If you find a piece of content specifically helpful or engaging, then pass that information along. When you repost content, provide a basic summary or specific insight you picked up on in the article. This will help keep your feed relevant. It’ll also act as a signal to other professionals that you make a point to stay in the loop in your industry.
If there is a new skill that your industry is buzzing about and it’s relevant to you and your work then incorporate that skill into your skillset. That’s the point of doing all this work to stay in the loop. When you learn something new that is relevant and helpful, make sure you incorporate that skill. That’s the point. If you need to, use Lynda to delve into that skill. Incorporate that skill in your LinkedIn profile as well.
By now I’m sure you see how LinkedIn can be used as a tool to advance your career forward. In addition to staying in the loop, LinkedIn can help you revamp your resume, land an internship, plan a career, transition to another industry, research an industry, build meaningful relationships, fill a skills gap, write an amazing LinkedIn recommendation and so much more.
How do you use LinkedIn to stay in the loop? Share your experience in the comments below!