8 Things You Can Do to Get Work through Linkedin
In case you’ve never seen it before, Linkedin is the web 2.0 equivalent of networking. Where other social networks like Facebook are focused around your personal life, Linkedin is all about your professional life. It’s a great concept and one that has attracted more than 16 million users.
Back in January Guy Kawasaki took a poll of 10,000 people and 70% reported finding Linkedin “Useful”. For freelancers and for job seekers, the service is a great way to find work.
As with any type of networking it’s all about having a wide circle of contacts, people recommending you and then making sure your network knows your available. Let’s take a look at some things you can do to help you find work through Linkedin.
Fill out your profile to make you look good!
This is really a no-brainer, if you want to get full use of Linkedin it has to be a representation of you. It’s a bit like putting together a resume, include everything that is relevant *and* puts you in a positive light and ignore the rest. According to Linkedin , users with complete profiles are 40 times more likely to find opportunities through the site. Linkedin has a neat tool that tells you how complete your profile is and gives suggestions on what else you can do. I recommend filling in just about everything.
Expand Your Network
Networking is only as effective as the network you have, so you need to grow that set of contacts as much as possible. The larger your net, the more fish you can catch. There are three ways you can expand your network:
- Invite people
While you don’t want to send out a ton of spam invitations, it’s worth inviting anyone you know reasonably well. The worst that can happen is they’ll ignore your email. I know personally I arrived at Linkedin through an invitation, so why not others!
- Look for people you know, already on Linkedin
There are plenty of people you may not feel comfortable inviting, but who you wouldn’t mind reaching out to. Do a search on your school, former places of work, places you’ve lived and any other hooks that might find people you know. Linkedin will also give you a list of people you might know, I honestly have no idea how it works, but it has found some people I never would have thought of, and certainly didn’t think Linkedin knew I knew! Add them all, who knows who will be a useful contact.
- Request Introductions
One of the main features of Linkedin is the ability to request introductions through your existing network. Once you have some contacts, you can explore their connections and request an introduction to anyone really useful. The free account comes with 5 introductions, and for more you’ll need to upgrade to one of the premium packages, so use them wisely.
- Invite people
Edit your Public Profile
On linked in you have two profiles, a regular one and a public one. A limited version of your regular profile can be seen by anyone with a Linkedin account, the full profile can be seen by anyone within three connections (which is a lot of people usually) and the public profile is well, public to anyone.
Here’s a link to my Public Profile
By default there isn’t anything on your public profile, so you’ll need to switch it on and check which things you want to appear there. It’s a good idea to fill out your public profile fairly completely and use the feature that lets you get a short URL as this will make your profile a lot more search friendly. So mine for example is "http://www.linkedin.com/in/collis".
Public profiles are good because Linkedin has a lot of search engine weight. It’s a bit like when you search for something – just about anything really – and Wikipedia shows up, not because that particular page has much weight, but because it’s trickled down from the main domain. In a similar way if you have a Linkedin public profile, chances are it’ll come up in Google’s first page of results. I know if I search my name "Collis Ta’eed" which generates a good 40 pages of results, has Linkedin showing up at spot #8.
Make an Email Signature
Under your profile page there is a tab which reads "Email Signatures". Follow this link and Linkedin will help you build an email signature. You can select whether you want to include your logo, details, linkedin profile link and choose from a variety of formatting options. Using an Email Signature will help drive people to your network, help build it up and increase its power.
Getting recommended is vital in finding work through Linkedin. It is the Linkedin equivalent of getting a referral client. Having someone else recommend a service – in this case, you – goes a long way to making it feel more trustworthy and reliable. That means people who are in your network looking for someone to do their website, write some copy or put together a software project, will be much more likely to choose you over someone who isn’t recommended. Additionally, assuming your recommendations are written with "Service Provider" selected, you will then also appear in the Linkedin’s Service Directory which is a searchable list of services that allows users to choose different levels of their network to look through for appropriate people.
So how do you get a recommendation? Simple, ask for one!
Find people who have worked with you in some capacity in the past who are on Linkedin (or who you can ask to join) and then use the "Ask for an Endorsement" feature to send out a quick mail saying "Hi, I’m looking to get some testimonials, if you wouldn’t mind writing one I’d be very grateful" and you should get a few takers.
I know personally, that the three recommendations I’ve written were all the result of people sending me Linkedin messages asking if I would mind (which I didn’t at all!) writing a few words.
Promote your profile elsewhere
Once you have a Linkedin profile you want to promote it as much as possible in order to build your network up. We already mentioned email signatures earlier, another option is to promote via your website. Linkedin gives you a set of quite smart looking buttons that you can use on your blog or portfolio site to drive people to your growing circle of contacts. Here’s how they look:
More on Linkedin and Finding Work Through Social Networks
You might also want to read Mathias’ take on How to Use Social Networks to Find Work or for more on Linkedin specifically, Leo’s written a great article titled 20 Ways to Use LinkedIn Productively at WebWorkerDaily, also worth a read is How to Get the Most out of LinkedIn at ProgrammerWorld and LifeHack’s views on Making your Linkedin Business Network Pay Dividends.