If you are familiar with the Innovation Adoption Lifecycle, you know that being on the front end of the curve is a good thing. Innovators are the first on board for the very newest technologies, followed by early adopters. On the downside of the curve are the late majority and laggards. When we apply this model to professionals on LinkedIn, it is safe to say that anyone, not on LinkedIn now is considered a “laggard.”
Laggard is not the way that one would describe a professional on the rise. If you are not on LinkedIn, consider yourself out of touch. In today’s job market if you are out of touch, you are out of luck. If you find yourself not on LinkedIn, it is not too late to get up to speed. Below is a five-step strategy to get on LinkedIn. Soon you’ll be comfortable, and it will be as though you were never out of touch.
1) Update Your Resume
Your complete and current resume can serve as source material for your LinkedIn profile. While your resume and LinkedIn language should not be identical, the information should be in sync so that your brand is consistent.
2.) Complete Your Profile
Take the time to complete every section of your LinkedIn profile. It may seem tedious, but each section of your profile contains valuable information to show you meet requirements for future jobs or projects. Include examples of accomplishments, just as you would on your resume.
3.) Don’t Skimp on the Summary Statement
Craft a keyword-rich summary statement in your profile. Make use of the space given. Include items such as top areas of expertise, credentials, and awards. Each professional’s summary will be unique. However, many professionals find the short narrative followed by three bullets format to be an easy-to-read and an effective way to showcase unique selling propositions. This may be a small section on your profile, but if you are wise you will spend twice as much time creating the summary language.
4.) Make Connections & Join Groups
Start with a goal of 50 connections so you can reach LinkedIn’s “All Star Status.” Aim for meaningful connections, such as former co-workers, managers, clients, industry associates, and personal contacts. From there, continue to grow your network over time. Join groups based on your industry, occupation, and alma mater. Don’t worry; you can always drop a group if you discover it is not the right group for you. Connections and groups will broaden your LinkedIn experience.
5.) Engage, Engage, & Engage
The secret to staying in touch is to engage with other members on LinkedIn. Just like in the real world, think before you speak, or in this case, think before you type. Comments online last forever and can burn relationships. It is best to stay positive. When you are new to groups, listen (watch) before you dive in to comment. When the time is right, and you have an interesting article to share or news to post, engage.
You don’t have to be out of touch. Follow the above five steps to get LinkedIn. The rewards will be greater knowledge of industry news, opportunities, and career advice. Perhaps the experience is the reward in itself as you grow your network, support others and receive support.
Debra Wheatman, CPRW, CPCC is President of Careers Done Write, a premier career services provider focused on developing highly personalized career roadmaps for senior leaders and executives across all verticals and industries.