I first started my LinkedIn account in 2008, when I was afraid that my job would expire in the economic downturn. I’ve seen LinkedIn grow and change over the last four years, in some good and some bad ways. Sunday’s April Platform Challenge involved setting up a LinkedIn profile. Reading the comments, I realized that many people were a little timid using the platform when I posted a very long comment on the challenge post. Robert Lee Brewer has a fantastic set of tips for LinkedIn Writers, but I felt I could add a few more to his list, especially coming from an architectural perspective.
So here are my Top 9 LinkedIn Tips for professionals (like Architects):
- Complete your profile: Use a picture, and upload your resume. Complete your profile to attract anyone in your dream job. While I’ve been told to use your platform name, because my professional degrees have been under my maiden name, as are some of my jobs, I’ve got both my maiden and married names available so I’m easier to identify.
- Use multiple email addresses: Use both your work and personal email address (if you keep them separately) to find all your contacts. I’ve found many of my architectural classmates online using my personal address, while I’ve found more coworkers and project consultants using my work address. Including both email addresses also makes it easier for them to find you.
- Recommend your colleagues: I’ve taken the initiative to recommend a couple of colleagues (engineers from other firms) that I’ve worked with who made coordinating a project easy. I received their own recommendations as a result.
- Add customizable headings to your profile: LinkedIn recently added options like skills and projects as categories for your profile. Skills, like in resumes, identifies your strengths to your network. Projects provides an opportunity to show what you worked on at certain jobs. This is an invaluable tool for an architect or engineer. You can identify the project, link it to a website, associate it with a particular company you’ve worked for, indicate the time period you were involved, and add other team members from your connections list. This works especially well if you’ve recommended your coworker on a project, because anyone looking up that recommendation can have a link to that project and see what they did.
- Link your professional blog to LinkedIn: WordPress has a fantastic feature that allows you to publicize and share with various networking sites. From your WordPress dashboard, under ‘Settings’, select ‘Sharing’. You can connect your blog to your Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, Messenger and LinkedIn profiles. Connect and set your options there. Then, as you write a post in WordPress, under ‘Publicize’ (upper right-hand corner) you can edit which ones automatically update to your profile. This saves time posting on your own to those sites.
- Join groups: It seems redundant, but joining professionally related groups is important. My professional website (Circadian Design) received more followers when I post my healthcare-related articles directly to healthcare architectural groups. I also receive direct feedback from group members. When you join groups, click on the group, and select the secondary heading ‘More…’, then select ‘Your Settings’. Select your email delivery frequency. I’ve set most of my groups to ‘Weekly Digest Email’ because the sheer number of comments overwhelmed my email in-box.
- Follow companies: This is especially true if you want to work for them. Job postings they advertise on LinkedIn will appear directly on your news feed.
- Create a customized LinkedIn URL: Go under ‘Edit Your Public Profile’, Scroll down on the right-hand side, and click on ‘Customize your public profile URL’. Select a name that makes sense for you, so you can send your profile to anyone.
- Opt-Out of Advertising: To my dismay, LinkedIn took a page from Facebook and began using members names and photos for advertising. Once I’m an architect, I have to remain unbiased, and cannot be perceived as preferring one product over another. So, I opted-out of that option. To do this:
- Click -in the top right hand corner of your screen, next to “Add Connections”- on your name, and then on “settings”.
- Then look for the tab called “Account” (this is the 4th tab), and click on it.
- Under PRIVACY CONTROLS you click on “Manage Social Advertising”, and then make sure the checkbox heading “LinkedIn may use my name, photo in social advertising” is empty .
- Click on “save”.
If anyone has any other tips, please let me know. I’d be happy to pass them on.