Today’s post is written by Jay Graves, the technology and marketing wizard at StyleBlueprint who works tirelessly in the back of the house to keep the front of the house running smoothly. (And yes, he happens to be the spouse of SB co-founder, Liza Graves!) We’re thrilled Jay’s taken time to share his perspective and expertise gleaned from over 20 years in the direct marketing world to help us understand why LinkedIn is such a valuable, professional networking tool.

At the end of this feature, you’ll see links to other SB cities’ posts on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and smart phones. Social media is a huge subject, and though we’re merely scratching the surface here, each of our SB posts offers helpful information and tips about some of the most popular platforms people are using to connect with one another online. We’ve learned a lot putting these posts together and hope you find this information equally helpful!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The year was 2004. My company was in a world of hurt. Our largest client, a Fortune 500 company, was threatening to fire us unless one of the big consulting companies would list us as approved vendor for email marketing.

The trouble was, we were a) very small and b) didn’t know anyone at a big consulting company.  In fact, if we had known someone at a big consulting company they would have invited us in to throw us out, just for fun.

I was an early user of a small website called LinkedIn. Not knowing what I didn’t know, I did a search for someone, anyone, who could help us find a resource. After a lot of searches, I was introduced to a gentlemen in California who methodically walked me through the process of becoming a ranked service provider. I took lots of notes and offered to pay him. He said not to worry about it and that he was happy to help.

We followed his advice and were eventually listed as a “strong performer” in a major consulting company’s annual report on email marketing. (We were the smallest company ranked.) I flew out and met my client and handed her a copy of the report. She hugged me and said she was delighted, now, not to fire me.

I am a fan of LinkedIn.

http://dilbert.com/strips/comic/2012-08-23/

That being said, I DO NOT think LinkedIn is a “social network,” but rather something much more important for anyone working. In a nutshell, it is the modern American resume. Period.

As a matter of course, I leave it open in a browser window constantly. Whenever I need to research a person or a company, I go to LinkedIn first. You can learn a lot about someone by seeing how they manage their profile. And, it doesn’t matter if you are a CEO or part-time worker; the more professional you are on LinkedIn, the more opportunities you will have to succeed.

Here are five tips to make LinkedIn work effectively for you in your career, regardless of what it is.

  1. Edit your profile carefully. Take the time to get it right. Use the right dates for jobs and education. Add sufficient detail and don’t use boilerplate language when possible. Ask for recommendations from people you really trust, not just anyone.
  2. Edit your profile consistently. Want to know the fastest way to tell when someone is looking to change jobs? Look for a flurry of LinkedIn updates. Keep your profile up-to-date over time so it’s always current and ready before you need it.
  3. Share carefully. LinkedIn has a very nice sharing function for status updates, articles, etc. This should be used ONLY for work items and only when you think the content is worthy of showing to your network. At most, this is a couple of times a week. Never, ever, ever link LinkedIn to your Twitter or Facebook feeds. No one at work wants to hear about Aunt Sally or the great dip at the party.
  4. Have a good picture taken. Probably the most important tip. Use a high-quality photo (professional, where feasible), not one taken from your computer’s camera. It should be something that shows you in the same light that an interview would. For a really funny overview, check out this article: www.stacyzapar.com
  5. Watch your privacy. Unless you change your default privacy settings, every search you make will show up to premium members you have searched for. (Remember, this is a business network, not a social one.)  In the image below, note where privacy settings can be adjusted.

I hope you find these tips helpful (though, perhaps, not stylish)!

 

LinkedIn is just one of many communications tools you can use to help grow your career. As with almost everything in life, the care you take in how you present yourself on LinkedIn can help immensely. Just remember, over 100 million people are now using it for business every day.

 

 

 

Jay Graves

 

 

Thanks, Jay!

Be sure to check out our social media posts in other SB cities today:

 

 In Nashville: Facebook: Social Media Tips

 

 

 

 

In Atlanta: Pinterest: Do You Pin It?

 

 

 

 

In Birmingham: Smart Phones, Smarter Parents: Tips for Safe Usage

 

 

 

 

In Louisville: Say Hello to Instagram

 

 

 

 

 

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