Note: This is an updated version of a previous article on informational interviewing. Years ago,…
LinkedIn hacks can make for a much more enjoyable—and effective—professional networking experience for business professionals and job seekers. Before working with me, many of my clients were on LinkedIn only because they knew they were supposed to be. My clients’ sense of obligation often stems from not using LinkedIn in a way that helps them meet their goals. Without a clear strategy, they end up wasting time.
10 LinkedIn Hacks for Professionals and Job Seekers
Here are some of the top LinkedIn hacks I share with my clients, so they can use this platform more effectively and efficiently.
LinkedIn Hack #1: Realize LinkedIn is different from Facebook, TikTok, or Instagram.
While any social media platform can be used for business and professional purposes, disentangle any notion you have that LinkedIn is just like other more personal social media platforms. Approach LinkedIn strictly as a professional networking and professional development platform.
LinkedIn Hack #2: Determine your goal.
Without a clear goal for using LinkedIn, you won’t reap the benefits. Some specific goals might be:
- Secure a new job
- Grow your business
- Represent the company you work for (i.e., being a brand ambassador)
- Build your network
After you identify your goal, you can then work toward that goal strategically.
LinkedIn Hack #3: Schedule your time.
Plan your LinkedIn activity like you would any other professional obligation. The amount of time you spend on the platform will correlate to how active you are in terms of searching for a job or building your business. If you are gainfully employed, happy at work, and only want to nurture a network, you will likely spend far less time on the platform than someone who is in transition and needs a new position immediately. Regardless of your situation, schedule dedicated time to be on LinkedIn—and honor that commitment. You’ll feel accomplished when you stick to your plan, whether that is checking LinkedIn four times a day or once every month.
LinkedIn Hack #4: Follow companies and schools that interest you.
Strategically follow companies and schools that interest you. This ensures your news feed will populate with relevant information.
LinkedIn Hack #5: Join and participate in groups that will help you—and that you can help in return.
Membership in groups that are relevant to you can make your LinkedIn experience feel like a community rather than an individual endeavor.
LinkedIn Hack #6: Write a COMPLETE profile.
By creating a well-constructed, complete profile, you will benefit by having LinkedIn working in the background anytime someone looks you up. You need not fill out every section, but you should have a profile that shares the value you bring and that is conducive to people skimming on both the desktop and app versions.
LinkedIn Hack #7: Use LinkedIn Learning to introduce yourself to new topics.
While I wouldn’t recommend buying LinkedIn Premium only so you can access LinkedIn Learning, if you happen to have Premium or access to LinkedIn Learning through your institution, take advantage!
LinkedIn Learning courses can help you gain introductory knowledge on a topic through visual and auditory means rather than only through book learning. Consider buddying up with a friend or colleague and discuss each course after you complete it to get even more value from the experience.
LinkedIn Hack #8: Create habits for how you connect with people.
I coach my clients to form habits around their LinkedIn activity, including for who and how they connect with people. Decide in advance—right now, even—what your strategy will be. For instance, maybe you will connect with everyone you personally know or have met: for example, people you meet at professional meetings, conferences, and webinars, and people who are in the same line of work as you and with whom you have shared connections. By creating habits and rules like these, you will build your network in a meaningful way over time. (Note: I do not recommend purchasing followers or connections to make your LinkedIn network look bigger than it is.)
LinkedIn Hack #9: Opt to “add a note” when connecting.
By choosing to add a note, you are making an impersonal request personal. Let the person know WHY you are initiating a connection request. This will increase the likelihood they will accept your invitation, and it builds rapport. By starting your LinkedIn relationship on a strong footing, you are more likely to establish that relationship and eventually even meet in person for a coffee or networking meeting.
LinkedIn Hack #10: Have a plan for content that you share.
Create “bucket” categories for what you’ll post and or comment on. This helps even the most reluctant LinkedIn users post and share information with confidence. For instance, if you were a director in a company, you might have these four categories:
- Content in your field that you have expertise on, and you would like to see in your feed (in other words, information that is truly helpful to your field)
- Trends and changes in your industry
- Leadership and mentoring tips (on how to lead and support others)
- Supportive comments and posts to your colleagues to celebrate their successes
By having a structured plan like the one above, what you post and comment on becomes routine and easy.
I am the first to admit that 1) LinkedIn can be a huge waste of time if you don’t use it strategically and 2) LinkedIn can present tremendous opportunities to its users. For these reasons, it’s crucial to use LinkedIn hacks such as the ones I’ve outlined above to make sure you are using it in a way that supports your professional growth and goals.