I have to admit that I am not the most diligent LinkedIn user I know. That title would have to go to my friend, Dorothéa Bozicolona-Volpe, and yes she is as exotic as her name implies. Dorothéa has been giving some great advice on the importance of LinkedIn to young people who are in the job market. Her advice is also applicable to all of us.
If you aren’t on LinkedIn please get yourself an account today. Fill out your profile completely to include adding your current and past positions with the care you would take developing your resume. Be sure to add a head shot that is attractive and professional. It needs to make you look attractive. By that I do not mean a glamor shot, I mean a head shot that looks like someone that you would want to have a chat with. Smile.
You should then go through your contacts and start adding connections. I currently have 462 LinkedIn connections which according the LinkedIn, links me to over 4,312,936 professionals. That is astounding.
What I have not been so great about is leveraging these connections by asking people to write recommendations for me. I have only eight. According to Dorothéa getting recommendations while they are hot is one of the most important parts of using LinkedIn. People trust that these recommendations are are real so they hold more weight than a testimonial you put on your website.
Dorothéa’s brilliant advice is to make a habit of asking for a LinkedIn recommendation immediately after you have done work for someone or are leaving a job. She suggests that you go so far as to write up a couple of paragraphs for the person about what you did for them and what they said to you about what you did.
Ask for the recommendation in person if possible, and then followup with an email which includes the link to LinkedIn and your sample write up. Tell the person that you have provided a little write up, as a time saver for them and they are welcomed to use all or none of it. Doing this will increase the likelihood of them completing the task.
Getting in a habit of doing this at the beginning of your career will help you to develop a most valuable network. And if you are so inclined, I’d love a LinkedIn recommendation from you!