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Today’s generation is fortunate enough to have the power to leverage social media sites such as LinkedIn. Just imagine having to look up someone you were about to meet for an important business meeting in the absence of any database…which was the scenario a decade ago!

The first and the most obvious task is to have a complete, updated LinkedIn profile. If you google your own name, do the results please you? If not, it is time to enhance your brand for SEO! Just ensure your positioning is consistent across all your social media profiles. LinkedIn Networking

Also, ensure that your LinkedIn profile is not a mirror image of your resume! Your LinkedIn profile should be livelier since it is your digital real estate, not a 2-pager document. Make it elaborate, providing much more context. Also, you can make it more conversational and include supporting evidences such as recommendations, presentations et al.

Some of the most important components of your profile include the headline, headshot & summary. While the headline needs to be catchy (think of how newspapers draw your attention), the headshot needs to be professional. The summary is the reflection of you – use it to create a compelling story!

In a world where people are short on time with so many pieces vying for our attention, LinkedIn becomes a default choice for potential hiring managers and search consultants. It amazes me sometimes how so many professionals pay little attention to the finer details of their LinkedIn profiles!  Recruiters scan your profiles to get a grip on your personality. After all, who does not do homework in today’s competitive times when there are plenty of choices at both ends?

And even as LinkedIn helps you land the role of your choice, you need to avoid the Type A / Type B networking traps. The Type A trap refers to a situation wherein you are completely cut off from your previous organization. The Type B trap refers to a situation wherein you are still living in the past. The key is to not forget your old relationships even as you build new ones.  An effective way to build important relationships in your new area is to attend industry conferences. Also, seek out referrals from your existing network.

As you build your network, you want to achieve two objectives – deepen connections within your industry and also create a diverse network by going beyond. Scale it up to 500 connections at the earliest so that you hit the critical mass LinkedIn has set as a benchmark. Apart from accepting connection requests, do reach out to people with customized invites.

LinkedIn sends you regular “nudges” from time to time – birthday reminders, change of organizations, work anniversaries et al. A smart networker will take full advantage of these, and simply stay in touch and create an emotional connect with a simple click!

The other way of staying in touch (and also communicating your achievements in a subtle way) is to sharing status updates. While there is a plenty of literature on the power of groups, from my personal experience, it does not seem to be an effective tool. You don’t really expect a senior executive to be active on LinkedIn groups (or for that matter, even WhatsApp groups) whereas he/she is tuned to the stream of messages continuously!

If you are on social media, and not leveraging it fully, you are hardly building your social capital. As they say, it may not be about what you know but who you know or, in a new twist, not who you know but who knows you!

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