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Library Hosts Workshop on Benefits of LinkedIn

Apr 29, 2021 06:00AM ● By Pamela Johnson

Career Coach Deb Raymond

On April 7, Deb Hunt Raymond, a career coach and group leader, led a one-hour virtual Bellingham Library presentation supported by the Friends of the Bellingham Library. Raymond noted at the beginning of her presentation that some regard LinkedIn® as only a place to go when job hunting. She suggested that having a presence on LinkedIn offers many other benefits besides this. Her presentation covered some basic ideas about the LinkedIn platform.

She explained that professionals often check your LinkedIn profile to understand more about you before they choose to do business with you. Therefore, entrepreneurs and professionals in many fields can benefit from offering evidence of their credibility in their LinkedIn profile.
Raymond pointed out some differences between Facebook, a social network, and LinkedIn, a professional network. She encouraged participants to provide a profile photo on their LinkedIn profile that represents “what you wear to work.” Business prospects, possible employers, and possible customers are all people who may check your LinkedIn profile to understand better who you are and whether they want to do business with you. Your profile is not the place to post family photos, or pictures of having fun with friends. Making sure your profile photo has only you in the picture is a basic requirement of presenting yourself professionally.

An underused tool available on  LinkedIn is the ability to give and receive recommendations. “Try to obtain at least one recommendation from each job you list on your work experiences,” she suggested.

Raymond offered several strategies for obtaining introductions to someone you hope to do business with. Some in the group asked how you can increase the number of contacts you are connected with. “Make a list of family, friends, parents of kids you spend time with at sporting events,” was Raymond’s simple suggestion. “When reaching out to each person, remind them how you know each other. Don’t send out those pre-programmed wordings in your invitation. Make it personal. You are much more likely to receive a response.”

She continued, “Craft your LinkedIn profile for the career you want, not where you have been.” She elaborated by explaining that your LinkedIn profile is not merely a carbon copy of your resume. Rather, it is up to you to highlight what you want to emphasize about your experience, including volunteer experience, which many business contacts recognize has great value.

Providing the example of her own LinkedIn profile, Raymond was able to share the screen so that participants could look closely at various parts of crafting a profile page and understand where to find various functions on the profile page that can work to your advantage. She urged participants to create a clear headline, not just a job description. The summary of what you offer allows for 2000 words, but only the first thirty-nine words will show without clicking the “read more” button, so she urged the audience to make best use of that first paragraph, hopefully encouraging the person who came to your page to want to know more.

A basic tip that some might not be aware of is to look for the little pencil-shaped icon at the top corner of each portion of your profile, which allows you to edit anything you have entered in your profile. For baby boomers looking for work, she explained that you no longer are required to put dates in the section noting your job experience.

Raymond noted the value of joining specific groups that are related to your areas of interest. “You can connect with people who are in the same group you are in. Because of that connection, you will know more about the person and can reference that you are both in that group.”

LinkedIn offers much more that can be to your benefit, but if you do not get started, you won’t understand what you are missing. No, LinkedIn is not for everyone, but it is beneficial for many. This workshop was a great step in the right direction for putting this powerful tool to use in making helpful business connections.

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