Tips for Building a Professional Network on LinkedIn

LinkedIn GraphicLinkedIn was somewhat of a mystery to me for a long time.  I signed up, uploaded a photo and filled in my profile, connected with a few co-workers and colleagues, then wondered why I was there because I didn’t know what else to do with it.

I can’t say I really know how to fully use the system, however, I have learned some things along the way that I hope you’ll find useful.

1. Be Professional

The most important thing to remember about LinkedIn is that it is a professional networking site.  If you are looking to connect to friends and share jokes and photos, stick to Facebook and Twitter and some of the other sites.  Don’t be tempted to use avatars or photos of flowers for your photo.  Most professional people will see that and not want to connect with you.

2. Complete Your Profile

The next most important thing is to fully complete your profile.  There is a percentage bar on the page that tells you how far you still have to go to complete your profile.  Do it all and always update it with new any new items.  Updating will put you in front of your network and give people a reason to take another look to see what you’ve added.

3. Endorse Others

LinkedIn will ask you to add skills that you have and will provide a place for people to endorse you.  Never, ever ask anybody to endorse you.  The key to getting endorsements is to endorse others for the skills they have that you are aware of.  The endorsements are valuable in that they tell people looking at your profile that they can trust that you really have those skills.

4. Join Groups

Last, but not least, perhaps the most important step in the LinkedIn networking chain is to join groups.  There are many groups on LinkedIn.  Pick those that are relevant to your business and are a place where the people you want to be connected with are participating.

You can add to topics started by others or start your own topic within a group.  Each group has its own rules so familiarize yourself with them and don’t break them, it isn’t appreciate.  Try to schedule time to post in your group, whether you are adding new content or leaving a comment on someone else’s post.  This is a great way to create relationships with others in your field or area of expertise that you might not otherwise be able to connect with.

Be Patient

Remember that it takes a while to build a network.  Be consistent and don’t give up, it will eventually pay off.  And above all else, on LinkedIn, always put your best professional foot forward.


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Debra Jason - July 6, 2013

Julia, how timely.
I give presentations about LinkedIn and just delivered one while on Kauai.
Some important points to remember are:
1. When you ask someone to join your network, personalize your LinkedIn invite to them (don’t use LinkedIn’s generic message).
2. Customize your LinkedIn URL. Do you (and your readers know how to do that? I just posted a blog about 6 simple steps to execute that. Let me know if you’d like me to post the link to the blog (and I’d be happy to do so).
3. There are also 6 key places in your profile to include keyword phrases (another blog post).
4. As with point #1, if you ask someone to provide a recommendation, personalize your request instead of using LinkedIn’s generic request.

Hope you find this helpful. As the largest business/professional social network, LinkedIn is a great place to build relationships.
Debra Jason recently posted…Infographic: Do You Have What It Takes To Be Successful?My Profile

    Julia - July 6, 2013

    Thank you for adding this information Debra. I’m always open to learn new things and more things. I’m still new to LinkedIn and understand why some people are resistant to signing on – I resisted for a long while. I’m going to follow up on personalizing the URL – and yes, please do post the link to your blog article. Thank you again.

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