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Take the LinkedIn World By Storm With These Expert-Approved Tips

October 03, 2019DMT.NEWS

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How to Decipher LinkedIn

LinkedIn is like the PBS of social media networks. You know before you even go there that the content is going to be dry, the people buttoned up and serious, and the purpose something “good for you,” such as educating you about an industry or steering you down a career path. But it does have its merits, particularly when it comes to job hunting and networking. LinkedIn can serve as a one-stop-shop for submitting job applications and making connections – that is, if you know how best to leverage it. 

RELATED: Male Executives On the Most Pivotal Point of Their Career

To that end, here’s our handy guide to navigating LinkedIn, while keeping your sanity and dignity intact. 

How to Best Use LinkedIn

Before we dive into the soul-crushing potential of LinkedIn, let’s at least celebrate the good that it’s done. First and foremost, LinkedIn has all but rendered obsolete the most irritating aspects of job hunting: The resume and cover letter. 

It's so much easier to just fire off a profile URL or, better yet, have most of the “initial contact”/“getting to know you” stuff can happen through LinkedIn Messages. What this means, though, is that you have to ensure your LinkedIn profile page is outstanding. That's what it's important to avoid the following rookie LinkedIn profile mistakes.

Rookie LinkedIn Profile Mistakes

Do not use a selfie/candid photo as your headshot - Imagine this is a virtual job interview. Shower. Dress up. Look presentable. And for the love of God never, ever, use a “joke” avatar photo. No one is going to hire an obscure Naruto character.

Do not use a meme as your banner image - Again, think professional. Use a cityscape if you live/work in a city. Use something that’s like good lobby art – pleasant but not distracting.

Do not give yourself a joke/made-up title - We’re not saying you should avoid showing your personality, but calling yourself “Lord of Words” or “People-Smiler” can seem cute but may turn off potential employers. 

Perks of LinkedIn

‘1. Easy Apply’ is Easy as Pie

Speaking of applying for jobs, let’s give it up for “Easy Apply.” If LinkedIn is remembered for anything, it should be this modern marvel. Filling out a job application is often so tedious and infuriating that you should get some kind of signing bonus for even making it through to the end. Manually entering all of the information you just submitted via an attached resume ranks right up there with a DMV trip in terms of efficiency and user experience. But “Easy Apply” makes job-hunting almost … fun? Ish? OK, that may be a stretch, but at least it’s not as soul-devouring.

2. Build Your Reputation

LinkedIn serves as a great platform for building your reputation and expanding your circle of influence, by allowing you to not only post content but to write articles or essays directly in the platform. This is a great way to establish yourself as an influencer in a field, and put out “samples” of your work that potential employers can access without having to request it. They see your viewpoints, see people reacting to it and it all works in your favor. Just be careful about the type of content you’re producing - always focus on work/career/vocation-related topics. 

“Educational content and content that supports the needs and interests of that person's network work best,” explains author, keynote speaker and digital marketing/personal branding consultant Jasmine Sandler. “Video and image-driven content will gain more attention, but overall a content strategy based on the needs and wants of a specific audience profile is what works. A smart mix of short-form and long-form content.”

3. Networks Working Together

Without the pressure of too much “social” on this particular social network (at least in theory), LinkedIn is a great way to keep a digital Rolodex of friends, colleagues and associates you can call on and also support as they navigate their careers. Sandler, for one, feels as though this is the most overlooked aspect of LinkedIn. When asked what word she’d abolish forever from the site, the word “No” was her immediate answer. “LinkedIn is meant to be a supportive network,” explains Sandler. “I try to support and help people in my LinkedIn network as much as I can. If you are a member of LinkedIn you should make it your duty to help your networks.” 

RELATED: How to Make a Great Resume

LinkedIn Flaws

OK, enough with the Kumbaya stuff – let’s cut to the cons. LinkedIn’s stated objective is to be a professional network. But like the people who ruin “casual Friday” for everyone by showing up in booty shorts or nut-huggers, some people just can’t see a “Like” or “Comment” option without being wildly inappropriate and creepy. 

1. Crazy Commenters

Guess what? That woman in your network celebrating her promotion didn’t get it because of how she looks, so maybe keep those comments to yourself, Cyrano. LinkedIn doesn’t need you to weigh in on every post or topic, and actually it isn’t the place for jokes (which is merciful seeing as what passes for comedy on other platforms). Sandler suggests avoiding the following: “Anything negative, abusive or overly personal. No begging for money, or anything that detracts or dilutes a member’s personal brand promise.” 

2. Not So Great News

Before we get to the absolute worst thing about LinkedIn – so bad it deserves its own sub-head – we’ll leave you with this: Do not, under any circumstances, pay any attention to the “Today’s news and views” sidebar in the top right corner of the site. Unless, of course, you want to be bombarded with clickbait headlines shouting at you about how Millennials are causing tornados with their bad attitudes, Gen Z has already replaced the word “business” with “money go times!,” and how Amazon is using drones to take your blood at night and is now selling clones of you and you have no recourse because you didn’t read the fine print on your Echo user agreement. 

3. LinkedIn-preneurs and Their “Wisdom” 

“LinkedIn, since 2013 specifically, has become much more of a visual and inspirational social network, rather than its original roots as a pure B2B networking tool,” says Sandler. “When delivered in support of a brand and related audience, this type of content can be very useful.” An excellent point, and one a lot of “LinkedIn-preneurs” would do well to read and absorb, especially the “useful” part. 

Because you know what isn’t useful? An independently wealthy person encouraging you to quit your job and “find your happiness.” OK! Will your dad fund your lifestyle, too, then?  Also be wary of the tireless “hustler” who wants so badly to convince you that he or she got everything they have because they out-thought, out-worked and out-innovated everyone else around them. Let’s just ignore the nice little million-dollar cushion they got when their parents sold the liquor store or whatever they toiled away in for the better part of their lives. 

People aren’t coming to LinkedIn to live their bliss or engage their chakras or dream big. Leave those mantras to Instagram. People are here because they just got laid off by a billionaire who needs to cut overhead – but, hey, here’s DJ Khalid to sing you all out the door! What rhymes with “benefits end as of today?” 

Learn to spot some of the telltale signs of BS. “In many ways, LinkedIn members do abuse some of the functionalities. For example, if someone creates a block of experience for anything that they do instead of using the ‘Experience’ section for real job experience, that’s a sign of someone making their work larger than it really is,” says Sandler. “Another thing to watch out for is someone with a huge LinkedIn profile and thousands of connections that has zero recommendations and no interaction. They may be using LinkedIn as a numbers game."

RELATED: How to Write a Great Cover Letter

The LinkedIn Glossary

In order to overcome your opponent, you must first speak your opponent’s language. Here is what people really mean when they spout off on Linkedin, and what kind of red flags are hidden in that job description. 

“Energetic Self-Starter” – You’d better be able to work well with little direction, but there could be an opportunity at this company to use some of the chaos to your advantage.  “Fast-paced Environment” – This usually means a start-up, which usually means insane hours and workloads, but also less hierarchy and more mobility.   “Family” - If any company describes itself as a “family,” beware. Not because that isn’t accurate, but because it is. They may think it means that they are supportive, close-knit and loving, but it actually means they are withholding, emotionally manipulative and expect you to push everything aside to be at their beck and call no matter what else is happening in your life.   “Passionate” – Expect the CEO to be eccentric, but the workforce will generally be scrappy and open to someone with new (maybe crazy) ideas.   “Creative Environment” – They probably have very cool offices and perks, and will likely not silo the “creatives” into their own special area. If you have an idea that works, they’ll probably let you run with it.   “Focused” – No frills, and probably intense working conditions.   “Guru” – Don’t trust anyone who gives themselves this nickname. It’s like someone calling themselves “funny.” Truly funny people are given that title by others. Look for those who lead by example, not pet names.  

Closing Thoughts

LinkedIn, when utilized properly and with a clear understanding of what it’s intended to do, can be incredibly helpful and useful. Just know that it’s ultimately a social network, and should be navigated as such.

There is a lot of disingenuous nonsense on there, but it doesn’t mean people are totally incapable of being genuine. “I am!” says Sandler. “And as someone that does Social Branding for executives and entrepreneurs, I focus on creating and delivering their LinkedIn brands and content in a way that really helps their audience to see and hear the authentic person that they are.” Just don’t use the word “guru.” Like, ever. 

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via https://www.DMTBeautySpot.com

Eric Alt, Khareem Sudlow

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