While most people turn to LinkedIn when they’ve started looking for a new job, the professional social platform has evolved into something more than a place for job seekers. LinkedIn is also a great place to network and diversify your knowledge.
Here are seven smart ways to start using LinkedIn when you aren’t looking for a job.
1. Network with others in your field
LinkedIn is an excellent place to network with other people who are in your industry, and even with those who aren’t. The stronger your connections, the more opportunities you’ll have to share knowledge and find support when you need it.
While you can reach out to people who you don’t know but would like to, it’s wise to start building your LinkedIn network by uploading your online address book from your email account. This way, you can connect to people you know and trust. As you build your connections, customize each request you send with a friendly note. This might include a brief introduction of yourself and a reminder of how you know the person.
2. Find a mentor
Finding a mentor isn’t just a great way to expand your network; it can also improve job satisfaction and help you move up the ranks. A mentor outside your company can play an equally powerful role by providing perspective and advice.
To get started, search LinkedIn or ask friends for recommendations who might be a good fit for what you’re looking for. Start following others in your industry and pay attention to those you admire. When you find your candidate on LinkedIn, take the time to write a personal note that shows your potential mentor that you are impressed by them and would like to work together. Be sure to mention how you think your mentor might be able to help you.
Ready to be a mentor yourself? Check out five ways to be a great mentor.
3. Share your ideas about your industry and post updates regularly
The more that you share your updates, the better your chances of increasing your visibility. In fact, you’ll help people learn more about you, which is beneficial if you’re looking to use LinkedIn to grow a business or your personal brand.
Searching for ideas on what to talk about? Tell people what you’re reading (perhaps a book or a news article you found interesting) or discuss lessons learned from recent projects you’ve completed. Doing this can elicit more responses and conversation. Adding an image to your story also helps. Research from social media management platform Hootsuite shows that posts with images could get twice as many comments as text posts.
4. Stay up to date on news, trends and events shared by othersIn turn, when you read your LinkedIn news feed every day, you’ll acquire new ideas that you can bring back to your workplace. With 645 million people using LinkedIn, there’s no shortage of content or connections available for you to help expand your knowledge.
5. Explore LinkedIn’s learning platform
LinkedIn’s learning platform is an opportunity for you to learn new skills or brush up on existing ones, using one of the more than 14,000 online courses taught by real-world professionals in your field and beyond. From software development to leadership, there are plenty of courses available, and you can learn from industry experts who enjoy teaching. Better yet, after you take a course, you can reach out to your instructor, introduce yourself and make a new connection.
6. Request recommendationsRequesting recommendations is easy on LinkedIn, and they are a great way for others to get to know more about you and how you work, whether you are new to a team, have welcomed new colleagues to your team or would like to increase the visibility of your contributions in your current role. When asking for a recommendation, specify what you want the writer of the recommendation to focus on. Being specific is always better than being vague. In addition, requesting recommendations can also be a great way to get personal feedback on how you and your company are doing. You might learn something new about your strengths and weaknesses.
7. Join LinkedIn groups
LinkedIn Groups can help you form new connections outside your inner circle. To get started, reach out to alumni organizations, as they love to connect with graduated students. Are there any volunteer organizations or professional associations you belong to? Be sure to join those groups on LinkedIn, as well.
LinkedIn Groups are helpful if you’re grappling with a challenge at work. In these groups, you can survey others’ perspectives on how they have dealt with similar situations.
With so many people and so much content available on LinkedIn, there’s no shortage of ways that you can use the site to work for you even if you’re not looking for work.
Looking for more ways to enhance your professional performance? Read about four ways you could be more innovative at work