LinkedIn is a powerful career development tool when you have a strategy for when and how to use it. To truly build and nurture your network, you need to interact with members on a daily or weekly basis. To make the most of the platform, there are important actions that you can take less frequently – about once a month.
Remember, LinkedIn is a valuable platform, but it is not like your own web site or database of connections. To make sure you always have access to the latest contents in your profile and your complete list of connections, do these three things monthly:
1. Export your connections list. If you have been growing your connections regularly and you added your contacts from your email and phone, you have your whole network in one place. Your professional network is one of your career’s most valuable assets. You need to protect it. To make sure you always have access to your current connections, export them from LinkedIn at least monthly. To do so, click on My Network from the homepage, then click on Your Connections in the left column. On top of the right side of the page you’ll see “Manage synced and imported contacts.” Click that, then choose Advanced Actions on the right side toward the bottom of the page. When you click “Export contacts,” you’ll receive a CSV file in your email.
2. Get a copy of your profile. This will give you access to the latest version of your profile. Since you update different elements of your profile as your career changes and grows, it’s likely that you don’t have a backup copy of the latest version of all the elements of your profile anywhere except in LinkedIn. From the home page, click on your profile in the left hand column. Then, to the right of your photo, click on the three dots and choose save to PDF.
3. Review and cull endorsements. Endorsements, or skills, help you convey what your brand is all about. You need to make sure your endorsements don’t position you as a jack-of-all-trades; you must be seen as a clear expert in a focused field. Strong brands are known for something, not a hundred things. You need to be crystal clear about who you are, what sets you apart from your peers, and what makes you compelling to your target audience. The skills that sit in the center of those three elements are what will make your profile shine. So here’s a test. Without looking at your profile, identify the ten most important skills for which you want to be known. Then go back into your profile and look at the endorsements you have received. How close are the two separate lists?
Get comfortable deleting endorsements for skills that aren’t part of your brand. And reorder your skills (yes, you can put them in any order you wish!) to emphasize the ones that are important to your career goals. Pay close attention to your top 3 – they’re the ones that show up when someone looks at your profile (to look at the complete list, the reader has to click “See more skills”).
There are a couple of ways to approach these tasks. You can carve out 15-30 minutes on one day a month and take care of all these activities at once, or you can make three different appointments with yourself and focus on each of the three activities individually. I prefer the second option because it helps form the habit of going to LinkedIn regularly.
If you can’t make this happen monthly, at least commit to doing it quarterly.