It doesn’t matter how fond you are of social networks in general—if you’re a career-oriented professional and want to connect with like-minded individuals, you need to be on LinkedIn. Of course, simply creating a LinkedIn profile won’t get you too far, which is why we’ve put together this list of the top 10 most useful LinkedIn tips you need to know about in December 2019.
1. Change Your Privacy Settings
LinkedIn lets you adjust several different privacy settings, including how others see your profile and network information, how others see your LinkedIn activity, and how LinkedIn uses your data. However, there’s one privacy setting that needs your attention regardless of how much or how little you value your online privacy.
We’re talking about the “People Also Viewed” feature, which displays other professionals with similar skills to you on your profile. While this feature can help you connect with other LinkedIn members, it also steers prospects visiting your profile toward your competition.
To turn it off, go to Settings & Privacy → Privacy → and turn off the “Viewers of this profile also viewed” option.
2. Learn to Search Like a Boss
LinkedIn users often complain that LinkedIn’s search feature doesn’t return useful results. While it’s true that it could use some refining, it’s also true that most LinkedIn users simply don’t know how to search effectively.
More specifically, they have no idea that LinkedIn supports many of the same search modifiers as Google and other search engines. Remember these search tricks to search like a boss:
- Quotation marks: surround a phrase with quotation marks (“search engine optimization”) to search only for the exact phrase and not synonyms and related terms.
- Logical operators: If you want to search profiles that contain two exact terms, use the AND operator (“search engine optimization” AND “services”). To combine two search terms, use the OR operator (“SEO” OR “search engine optimization”. To exclude all search results that contain a specific term, use the NOT operator (“search engine optimization” NOT “black hat”).
3. Stay Connected Everywhere
You never know when opportunity will strike. It could be a message from an old colleague who has decided to start their own company and would like you on board, or it could be a recruiter looking for someone with your skillset. Regardless of the exact nature of the opportunity, you can capitalize on it only if you’re connected and ready to respond.
At the very least, we recommend you install LinkedIn on your mobile device so you can receive notifications even when you’re away from your computer. But you can go even further and install the official web browser LinkedIn extension, which lights up with a new notification count whenever you have new activity waiting for you at LinkedIn.
4. Publish Interesting Content
Search engines like LinkedIn, and publishing articles on the platform is a great way how to get your voice out there and get noticed. If you’ve been in your industry for some time, you definitely have plenty of experience to share with others, and you don’t have to be a professional writer to get it out there.
People actually appreciate informal articles written in one sitting by someone who doesn’t need a mountain of reference material to put together an article packed with valuable insights. If English is not your native language and you find writing in it difficult, you can always hire a ghostwriter who will put your thoughts into words for you—there’s plenty of them right on LinkedIn.
5. Estimate How Many Connections Someone Has
On LinkedIn, it’s impossible to tell exactly how many connections someone has because the count says 500+ when the number exceeds 500. LinkedIn does this to discourage users from hoarding low-quality connections just to feel better about themselves. But if you’re curious to know how many connections someone has, and you don’t want to ask the person directly? There’s a way how to find out:
- Open the person’s profile page.
- Go to the Articles & activity section.
- The number of followers the person has should be displayed somewhere in that section.
Because the number includes the person’s 1st-degree connections, it reflects the real connection count with surprising accuracy.
6. Export Your LinkedIn Network
There are many reasons why you may want to export your LinkedIn contacts. Perhaps you want to leave the platform but would hate losing all the connections you’ve made on it, or you want to have a backup just in case something ever happens with LinkedIn. Whatever your reason may be, here’s what you need to do to export your LinkedIn network:
- Click the My Network icon at the top of your LinkedIn homepage.
- Select Your Connections number on the left side.
- Click Manage Synced and Imported Contacts on the top right.
- Click Export Contacts under Advanced actions on the bottom right.
- Choose Connections under the Download Your Data option.
7. Send Personalized Connection Requests
There’s no reason to be afraid to send a connection request to someone you admire on LinkedIn. The worst thing that can happen is that the person won’t accept your request. To minimize the chance of that happening, you should personalize your connection requests and write something better than: “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.”
When sending personalized connection requests, keep it short and sweet. Always assume the person on the other end doesn’t have much time to read your request (because they most likely don’t) and try to say as much as you can with as few words as possible. Tell the person why you want to connect, who you are, and where you work. At the end of your connection request, wish the person all the best and that’s it—no reason to make things more complicated than this.
8. Imitate Successful LinkedIn Users
Oscar Wilde once said that imitation is the greatest form of flattery. IF you want to be successful on LinkedIn, one of the most straightforward things you can do is imitate other LinkedIn users, preferably those who have achieved success on the site.
Remember that imitation isn’t the same as copying. It’s okay to look at someone else’s profile to gain inspiration from, but it’s definitely not okay to straight-up copy parts of the profile just because you’re unable to come up with something equally awesome yourself.
Take notes of how successful LinkedIn users behave on the platform, who they connect with, what content they publish, and how much time they spend on the site. Keep in mind that there are always more ways to success, so don’t ever feel that you can’t do things your own way if that’s what you prefer.
9. Optimize Your Profile for Search Engines
You want to optimize your profile so that it appears as a top result on major search engines when a recruiter searches for someone with your skillset. To do that, you need to include the right keywords in your profile and publish content that is guaranteed to get you noticed.
Fill out every single profile field you can and don’t be afraid to overuse keywords. If you’re having trouble figuring out which keywords you should use, take a look at the profiles of other users in the same niche as you are. Next, claim your custom URL to make your profile easier to remember and keep expanding your LinkedIn network by connecting with other users.
10. Connect with People Who Look at Your Profile
LinkedIn tells you when someone takes a look at your profile, giving you a chance to connect with them and make them part of your network. All you need to do is send the person a connection request that says something like this:
“Hi, I’ve noticed that you’re interested in my profile and I would be very happy to connect with you. Best regards [+ your name]”
9 out of 10 times, the person will accept your connection request and tell you why they looked at your profile.
In December 2019, LinkedIn remains the most useful social network for professionals who are looking to make meaningful connections and reach the next step in their career. With our top 10 LinkedIn tips, you won’t have any problem standing out and using LinkedIn to its full potential. The job of your dreams or the opportunity of your life may be just one connection away.