Knowing how to use LinkedIn effectively starts with understanding who is on LinkedIn and for what reason.
In 2017, a survey of LinkedIn users showed that 94% of recruiters on LinkedIn use it to screen job candidates. In addition to this, there are 6.5 million active job postings with 3.4 million job seekers using the Open Candidate feature. There are also 4 million independent contractors on LinkedIn.
Before reading LinkedIn for business tips all day, and blindly following advice to get work, consider these 10 perspectives on how to use LinkedIn effectively.
1. LinkedIn advice is not one-size fits all
Industries are made up of people, and people have different personalities. Reading LinkedIn for business tips given by professionals who are not in your industry, will do you more harm than good.
More so, everyone is unique. At Find My Profession, we use a screening process for every candidate to make sure we are fully capable of helping a person. We get to the heart of what each job seeker wants.
At times, we are often approached by good people willing to work hard, but they followed advice meant for a different industry.
2. Influencer posts are not always accurate
Knowing how to use LinkedIn effectively requires an understanding that many posts are opinion-based. Opinion-based posting by thought leaders with experience may have the best of intentions, but it does not make it fact. For example, people who share opinions on resume writing. Their tips may not work in your profession.
The wonderful thing about LinkedIn is having business professionals offering advice on how to improve our careers. The problem with advice offered by thought leaders and influencers is that it often offers “what they hope to see happen”, but not “what is really happening now”.
Trust the posts that offer solid evidence on what is working now. Only read the LinkedIn for business tips that are specific to you.
3. Industry changes require new profiles
I discovered this one recently by watching entrepreneurs I knew create new profiles; one for each industry they planned on taking over. I also believe this happens more than most LinkedIn users realize. Why? There are more than 500 million user profiles on LinkedIn, with only 3.4 million of them using the Open Candidate feature.
If you bounce around between unrelated industries, and it’s all on one LinkedIn resume, you start to confuse people viewing your profile. You also start to get connection requests from people in industries you no longer work in. They have no idea what industry has your focus.
Hiring managers do not know what your focus is and companies will not bother to ask. They will just fear you are a jack-of-all trades.
4. Syncing LinkedIn with your email is a mistake
You won’t find this perspective when reading LinkedIn for business tips. I am still paying for making this mistake. As a person with a very old Gmail account, I have more than 21,000 emails in my contact list. This 10-year-old contact list includes all the email addresses from emails sent and received. The day I accidentally synced accounts was the day my LinkedIn experience started to suffer.
Why? LinkedIn sends out auto-invitations to connect to every email in my contact list. The first day this happened I was hit with hundreds of messages from people who did not remember me, wanted to know why I was trying to connect, or were angry that their email was now something LinkedIn had access to.
This was two years ago and I still get connections from people I had emailed once 10+ years ago. I also get lots of spam. Now, I have a profile with pointless connections that spam me far too often.
5. Are Premium LinkedIn accounts useful?
If you think going Premium is how to use LinkedIn effectively, you are definitely in the minority.
By January 2017, almost 80% of LinkedIn users had a free basic account. A Premium LinkedIn account might be useful for your job as a Marketing Manager, Recruiter, Sales Executive, or CEO.
The verdict is still out on just how useful Premium accounts are for the majority of users.