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LinkedIn Necessary For Consultants

LinkedIn is a powerful social platform for networking as well as a valuable sales lead-generating tool, if used properly. While not having a LinkedIn profile won’t disqualify you from landing that next consulting position, it does put you at a distinct disadvantage in the job application process as you’re missing out on getting your name out there. By joining LinkedIn and taking the time out to set-up and optimize your LinkedIn profile, you give yourself a fantastic venue where you can be found by technical recruiters, and land your dream gig.

Making a Strong LinkedIn Profile

You want to complete your profile as much as possible as this is the first step in ensuring that you can get found on LinkedIn. The more complete your LinkedIn profile is, the higher you will apear in search results as LinkedIn searches are unique and relevant specifically to the person searching. The searches are tailored to the user by Connections in Common, Connections by Degree (1st, 2nd then 3rd Degree Connections) and finally Groups in common. This is in addition to profile completeness which is what will allow you to trump over other people. Most people only fill out their profile partially – if you take the time to fill yours to 100%, you’ll rise above the rest.

The next thing you should do after completing your profile is take the time to write an eye catching, well crafted headline, assuming of course, that you are on the network to leverage it for professional gain.

Aside from your photo, your headline will be the first thing a recruiter notices and therefore it should be used to let recruiters know your expertise; at the same time, a good headline will promote your core marketing message, and exude your personality.

Part of coming up with an appealing headline is to consider choice keywords. You want to use keywords that people interested in your skills will search for, however make sure to find a balance; don’t pile so many keywords into your headline that it ruins readability or flow.

In the end though, try to get a bit creative as this can be a great away of separating your personal brand from the rest and catching the attention of recruiters and connections.

Aside from having a catchy headline, it’s important to have a photo as there are plenty of case studies that show users with a photo get more clicks than those without one. Make sure that you use a professional looking photo of yourself. As much as you might want to put a picture of you from last years Halloween party, LinkedIn isn’t the place. Sorry!

In addition to having a strong profile, to get recruiters to consider hiring you, you’ll want to look at getting recommendations.  Recommendations are a quick way for recruiters to see how great you are at the click of a mouse button, as opposed to going though the process of trying to get in touch with your references.

Get recommendations from your colleagues, past employers, managers – everyone. Make sure that the best of the best are visible, and that they aren’t generic.

LinkedIn profiles are a great way to find business as a consultant as they allow recruiters and hiring managers to understand you, your background, and your goals more completely. By making sure to take the time out to fully complete your profile (which includes a professional photo and well thoughtout headline), you’ll find yourself getting more calls to interview for potential jobs.

For additional tips, check out Iconic Mind, an IT consulting firm, located in Maryland. Founded in 2002, Iconic Mind is dedicated to offering professional consulting services to clients in Washington D.C., the Baltimore Corridor and the rest of the state of Maryland. Offering internet, network, software and troubleshooting services, Iconic Mind is able to help increase any business’ productivity. For more information, follow Iconic Mind on Twitter, LinkedIn or through their blog.

Using LinkedIn Business Growth
Over one billion searches are done on LinkedIn per year. The network is a great place for anyone who is looking to boost their visibility and grow their professional contact list. Just take a look at the following stats that show just how great LinkedIn can be for growing your business:
  • LinkedIn users have money: Over half the users on LinkedIn earn more than $60K per year and over a third earn more than $100K
  • LinkedIn users are educated: Nearly half have a college degree and over a quarter have a graduate degree.
  • LinkedIn users love the site: Nearly a quarter of the users are on the site a minimum of 30 times per month.
LinkedIn is definitely something that you should incorporate into your marketing strategy to help grow your business. Here are a few tips to get you started:
Complete Your Profile
Completing your profile is the first step in ensuring that you use LinkedIn to its fullest. Completing your profile will allow you to appear in LinkedIn search results and the more complete it is, the more you can set yourself apart from others as well as appear higher in the search results.LinkedIn searches are unique and relevant specifically to the person searching. It tailors its search by  Connections in Common, Connections by Degree (1st, 2nd then 3rd Degree Connections) and finally Groups in common. This is in addition to profile completeness which is what will allow you to trump over other people. Most people only fill out their profile partially – if you take the time to fill yours to 100%, you’ll rise above the rest.

Optimize Your Profile

Now that you’ve completed your profile, the next step is to optimize it by using specific keywords to your business. As mentioned above, LinkedIn uses its own algorithm when displaying results which is done by relevance. LinkedIn will show 1st degree connections and of those connections, it’ll show those with a completed profile first. Then it’ll move to 2nd degree connections, 3rd degree connections, groups and then everyone else.

The keywords that you plan to use in your profile should range from broad to very targeted. Since you want to have as many people find you as possible, you should use as many keywords as you can that relate to your business without overusing them. You can put these keywords in multiple places and depending on where you put them, they’ll have a different effect. Keywords in your name, headline, company name, job title, and skills rank highest.

Write A Killer Headline

It’s great to come up first on someone’s search result, but what good does it do if they aren’t clicking through to your profile? Your headline is one of the first things someone will see about you. To get someone to check your profile out, you need to entice them with a catchy headline – “marketing manager” just won’t cut it.  There are thousands of of “marketing managers” out there. You need to come up with a headline that differentiates you. Think about what makes you special and what you want to be known for?

By using more specific terms, and a variety of them, not only will you show up for more searches (since you’ll be using more keywords) but you’ll also be able to create a headline that will want people to click on you. Make your headline as catchy as possible. Lure prospective people in with your headline and wow them with your completed profile which should show off your expertise.

Include An Image

A picture shows that you are a real person and not some sort of spam bot. It’ll allow you to show up in searches more often (remember, completed profile) as well as giving you a trust factor. People make first impressions via photos, so it’d be a good idea to keep away from group shots, party shots, etc. While you don’t have to have a professional photo, it might be something worth considering.

Update Regularly

Now that you have a fantastic profile, it’s time to show it off by creating regular updates so that you can engage with the LinkedIn community. This will also allow you to show up on news feeds regularly. Update your status with information that’s relevant to your business – blog posts, company updates, press releases, etc. Just make sure to update regularly.

One last thing – stand out from the crowd by sending personal introductions with a real message instead of using the stock ones created by LinkedIn. Also make sure to send a ‘thank you’ message after someone has accepted your friend request. For additional tips on growing your business, check out Iconic Mind, an IT consulting group with a focus on growth both from a technology and business perspective. You can follow them on Twitter and LinkedIn.