Maintaining Contacts on LinkedIn

You created your LinkedIn profile, and you spent hours adding content and editing.  Now your Profile Strength is listed as “Expert.”  Congratulations, your profile is ready to be viewed by employers! 

Now what? 

Instead of letting your profile sit as an online resume, you can get active!  There are still things to be done beyond the professional picture and the keywords.  You could improve your title, type recommendations, or add skills and

The title at the top of your profile lets employers know who you are and what you do, but it could be better.  Your title probably says something like, “MBA Candidate at the University of Houston,” or “Reservoir Engineer at ExxonMobil.” 

That is technically what a title should be, but you say the exact same thing in the Education or Experience section.  Use this space to say something about yourself.  Add keywords and action verbs that reflect your skills, experience, or desired job function.  For example, “I help Oil and Gas companies create Growth & maintain base production by developing Capital Budget plans.” 

Also, note how some keywords start with a capital letter to better highlight the niche skills.  This will help catch employers’ attention and better communicate you are marketable

LinkedIn is also good for building and maintaining relationships.  A good way to do this is by submitting recommendations. 

You can find room for this at the bottom of a contact’s profile.  A solid recommendation goes a long way towards impressing employers.  Before writing one, it’s a good idea to have worked with the person in a team or on a project.  This is so you have good, tangible content, and you aren’t just commenting on his or her academic skills (employers can look at that in the Education section). 

For example, if someone on your project team created the G.O.A.T. PowerPoint template, a good recommendation would be a short paragraph that includes how you interacted with the person, the person’s impact on you, and what the person did well.  As a courtesy, you should respond to a recommendation by writing one of your own.  Should someone not return this professional courtesy, within a reasonable amount of time, gently asking for one will usually spur the person into action (considering you took valuable time to provide one).

Another, easier, way of maintaining relationships is by utilizing the Skills and Endorsements section, towards the bottom of your profile.  You can have up to fifty skills on your profile, and your contacts can endorse you for a certain skill.  The more endorsements you have for a skill, the easier it is for employers match your skills to a job.  Your top ten skills will appear on your contacts’ homepage, soliciting them for an Endorsement (note, these are the only skills that are endorsable).  When you add a skill, your “top ten” skills are literally your first ten listed skills, from top left to bottom right. 

A good way of getting the most out of this feature is to rotate these skills in and out of the top ten as they gain endorsements.  Endorsement counts stop at 99, so this would be a useful way to gauge when to rotate.  Endorse connections’ top ten skills, and, more likely than not, they will return the favor. 

Don’t worry about not knowing if that person really has that skill.  No employer will not contact you to say they hired someone based on your faulty LinkedIn endorsement.  Maintain this practice, and you and your contacts will have 99+ recommendations in no time.

LinkedIn is a useful tool to showcase your skills and experience to employers.  Make sure it gets your point across, and use every bit of space to communicate your talent.  It starts with a catchy title and is improved by maintaining your relationships.  Take care of your LinkedIn and your market value will soar.

Dean Bendele

This article was inspired by Alejandro I. Sanoja's "Networking Bootcamp," a course that will soon be available on Your MBA Purpose.