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The best way to use Linkedin: More than just a digital résumé

Let’s face it: LinkedIn has a bit of a reputation. Some people see it as a stuffy, corporate, adult-only zone where résumés go to die. But here’s the tea—LinkedIn is so much more than that. It’s a vibrant community, a networking hub, and yes, even a place for a bit of fun. If you’re looking to elevate your career game and make some meaningful connections, here’s how to use LinkedIn like a pro.

First things first, your LinkedIn profile is your digital business card, so make it pop! Start with a professional (but not boring) headshot. You want to look approachable and competent—think less passport photo, more coffee chat with a potential employer.

Next, your headline. This isn’t just your job title; it’s your personal brand slogan. Are you a “Creative Problem-Solver | Marketing Guru | A top notch Salesman”? Let the world know what makes you unique.

The summary section is your chance to tell your story. Keep it engaging and concise. Avoid jargon and clichés like the plague. Instead, focus on what you do, why you do it, and a bit about what you love. Sprinkle in some personality—after all, you’re more than just your job.

Networking on LinkedIn isn’t about collecting connections like you collected facebook friends in 2015. Quality over quantity, folks. When sending connection requests, always personalize the message. A simple “Hey, we met at X event” or “I really enjoyed your article on Y” can go a long way.

Engage with your network by liking, commenting, and sharing posts. Be genuine in your interactions—people can smell fake a mile away. Join relevant groups and participate in discussions. This is where the magic happens; you get to meet like-minded professionals and showcase your expertise.

Think of LinkedIn as your personal content marketing platform. Share articles, insights, and updates that reflect your professional interests and personal passions. The key is consistency and value. Posting regularly keeps you on people’s radars, but make sure what you’re sharing is actually useful.

Write articles or long-form posts to establish yourself as a thought leader. Don’t be afraid to inject some personality. Use storytelling to make your points and don’t shy away from humor where appropriate. Remember, even CEOs appreciate a good laugh.

LinkedIn messaging can be a goldmine if used correctly. Whether you’re reaching out to a potential mentor, collaborator, or employer, keep it professional yet personable. Start with a friendly greeting and mention any mutual connections or interests. Be clear about why you’re reaching out and what you hope to achieve.

Cold messaging can feel awkward, but fortune favors the bold. Just remember to be respectful of the other person’s time. No one likes a pushy networker.

Endorsements and recommendations are LinkedIn gold. They add credibility to your profile and help others see your skills at a glance. Endorse your connections for their skills and ask them to return the favor. Better yet, write a thoughtful recommendation for someone you’ve worked with and they’ll likely do the same for you.

LinkedIn Learning is an underrated gem. There’s a wealth of courses on everything from coding to public speaking to—you guessed it—how to use LinkedIn effectively. Invest in yourself by regularly taking courses and displaying the certifications on your profile. It shows you’re committed to continuous improvement.

Keep your profile up-to-date. This includes your job experiences, skills, and achievements. An outdated profile is like a wilted flower—no one’s interested. Regularly refresh your profile to reflect your current status and goals.

Authenticity is your secret weapon on LinkedIn. Share your successes, but also don’t be afraid to talk about challenges and failures. People connect with real stories and real people. Authenticity builds trust and makes you memorable.

So, get out there and make LinkedIn work for you.

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