Career development

3 tips to build your network and credibility with LinkedIn

3 conseils pour bâtir votre image professionnelle et votre crédibilité grâce à LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the largest professional social network in the world, with more than 546 million users from over 200 countries.1 In fact, after its launch in 2003, this network rapidly became a powerful tool for reaching a broad range of professionals and recruiters. For that reason, it is essential for job searching and professional networking.

To make full use of the tool, you need to give LinkedIn a little of your time to present the most relevant and up-to-date information in your professional profile and generate quality interactions and discussions with the people in your network.

Here are 3 tips you can follow to master this social media tool and set yourself apart while building your professional image and credibility in the job market.

1. Create and enhance your professional profile

The very first step on LinkedIn is to create your personal profile and include all of your relevant professional and academic experience in it so that you draw attention to your career, knowledge, competencies and, of course, your distinguishing characteristics.

Profile summary

The space reserved for the profile summary must be strategically used and well written. If you don’t have a lot of time to spend on it, wait until you do because this section should be thought out, concise and truly reflect who you are, which is no easy task.

Experience and education

The core section of your profile will always be your experience. Be sure to include not only all your jobs, but also volunteer activities related to your field of expertise and any other activity that may be viewed as an interesting addition to your profile. Your education is also a guarantee of what you can accomplish. It is especially important if you had to complete a specific series of steps to obtain a professional designation such as Chartered Professional Accountant.

Skills, recommendations and accomplishments

The "Skills," "Recommendations" and "Accomplishments" sections are also suitable sections for building your credibility.

First, the “Skills” section lets you list very specific technical or enabling competencies that you claim to have acquired during your career. This section’s content is very important because your peers can support you by endorsing your mastery of these skills.

Secondly, the "Recommendations" section lets you display short texts written by members of your network that discuss working with you in the past. This is also where you will see the recommendations that you have written for others. Remember that if you are generous in your comments about your colleagues, they will probably be more willing to take some of their time to write you a recommendation in return.

Finally, the “Accomplishments” section is the ideal place to mention awards and honours that you have received during your academic and professional career.

2. Develop your network 

The next critical step after refining your personal profile is contacting others to expand your network, which will allow more people to see your profile. The larger your network is, the better your chances are of being spotted by the LinkedIn search engine and recruiters.

Another major issue is knowing your strategy for expanding your network. I suggest that you regularly add a few people who work in the same or a related field, are studying the same subject as you or have common interests.

I am often asked this question: “Should I systematically accept all connection invitations that I receive?” For me, the answer is quite simple: no. Your objective should be to develop relationships that have added value for you. That being said, if you receive an invitation from someone you do not know, visit their profile. If the person seems to be active on LinkedIn and has an interesting profile, accept the invitation. If, however, the profile does not interest you, it is completely acceptable to decline the offer.

Don’t fall into the trap of adding just anyone in the interest of expanding your network. It will result in an inactive network that is uninterested in your content and does not generate constructive discussions.

3. Be active and participate in discussions

To build your credibility, all you have to do is the following: Be active and stay present on LinkedIn! Be careful, however, because being active does not mean doing whatever you want, whenever you want. It means strengthening your credibility by sharing relevant content to your employment field, interacting with your contacts and commenting on their posts, sharing your professional opinion and answering questions from your network. This requires you to think longer term and seize every opportunity that arises to interact with people, show them your interest and share your professional expertise.

In conclusion, if you follow these 3 tips and stay active and present on LinkedIn, you will have the best tool in hand to let your professional image shine in your network.If you want to make your LinkedIn even more effective, you can find out your score for free on the SSI (Social Selling Index), a tool that evaluates your LinkedIn profile performance based on four elements: establishing your professional brand, finding the right people, engaging with insights and building relationships. This evaluation could give you some food for thought on ways to improve your presence even more.

Marie-Ève Fradette, CRHA

Marie-Ève is currently an organizational development coordinator and advisor at FP Conseils in Quebec City, where she supports both the internal growth of the consulting firm and organizational development activities in its client organizations. She earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in 2016 and is now enrolled in a graduate program at Université Laval. She is also a member of the Ordre des conseillers en ressources humaines agréés du Québec. Marie-Ève is not only a very committed professional, but also involved in a wide range of projects. 

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