Making the most of LinkedIn
LinkedIn has always struck me as the driest of the social networking sites. It’s all business, unlike my newsy Twitter stream and my gossip-laden Facebook feed. But I’m realizing lately that I’ve been hugely underestimating the site. It isn’t only useful for active job seekers, it’s a a valuable networking tool with a lot to offer freelance writers.
Toronto technical and business writer Luigi Benetton is a longtime LinkedIn fan who’s posted about the site twice on his blog this month.
Benetton’s posts explain the nuts and bolts of how to create a LinkedIn profile, but he also offers a useful list of questions to help you put together a business plan and define your goals — the kind of strategizing that can help you find your focus as a freelancer. Spending a few minutes defining your ideal type of work and your professional strengths will help you create a strong LinkedIn profile that’ll reflect you more accurately to potential clients.
Building a strong profile is only the start of an effective LinkedIn experience, though. Joining groups is a way to engage with peers and colleagues on the site, discuss industry-related issues and find answers to common freelance problems. There are dozens of writing-related groups on the site, but Benetton recommends the LinkedIn for Journalists group for starters. In addition to its discussion threads, the group offers a monthly phone seminar for journalists. Benetton notes that, at the end of each seminar, LinkedIn provides a one-year premium membership to all members who attend the entire event.
“Quite the carrot,” he says.
Yep. We should probably get in on that.
Are you on LinkedIn? How is the site useful to you as a freelancer? Use the comments section to give us your best tips on how to use the site effectively.