LinkedIn has become the de facto social media site for professionals, with more than 15 million users in the UK, and ambitious facilities management professionals are taking full advantage of all the opportunities it offers.
LinkedIn is far more than an online CV — the so-called “Facebook for business” enables you to make valuable connections, keep up with industry news, learn from others, and recruit the best staff. In short, it can help you do your job better.
But LinkedIn is also a powerful career-building tool, helping you to grasp new opportunities and build your reputation in a fast-moving and highly competitive world.
Here’s how to get the most out of LinkedIn:
1 Make sure you can be found
The first thing people do after meeting a new business contact is to check them out on LinkedIn. If they can’t find you, they may not take the professional relationship any further – you’ve just made it too hard for them. They may even be wondering whether you are a bona fide professional.
Your LinkedIn profile has to work hard – make sure it is compelling, up-to-date and has a professional picture. If you run your own consultancy, you can also set up a company page and highlight examples of your work on showcase pages.
2 Get networking
Building a following on LinkedIn takes time and discipline. Keep in touch by responding to their posts and sharing useful content with them. It’s best to be helpful rather than sales-y.
LinkedIn’s advanced search function allows you to search for new contacts using keywords and you can also find people using their email addresses. If you want to connect with someone you haven’t officially met, it’s worth asking a mutual contact to introduce you.
3 Join professional FM discussion groups
LinkedIn groups allow you to become part of the wider facilities management conversation and to find out what’s going on in your area.
Being a part of these industry groups can raise your profile, but they are places to share, not to show off. It’s worth taking your time before you make any comments so you can gauge the culture of the group. Once you get involved you’ll need to keep checking in with the group on a regular basis. You can also set up your own groups if you want to position yourself as a thought leader in a particular area.
4 See how you rank against your peers
Premium members of LinkedIn can use the ‘Professionals Like You’ function – as well as the ‘How You Rank’ feature – to see how they stack up against their sector peers and to find the cream of the crop. Check out the best profiles to get inspiration for your own and start making valuable new connections.
5 Use content and endorsements to build a following
One of the best ways to establish your credentials – beyond your CV – is to post and share useful content. Respected users respond to questions within a group discussion and share useful information on a particular subject. It’s also worth encouraging your network to endorse you for your skills – the best way to do this is to endorse others. You can also ask contacts for testimonials and recommendations.
6 Find the best new recruits — or a new role
LinkedIn is often the first place you will find out about new job opportunities and specialist recruiters post details of facilities jobs on the site. But getting a new job is not just about checking out LinkedIn’s job tab. You’ll need to be getting everything else right on LinkedIn too – your profile, recommendations, contacts and discussion groups – to maximise your chances.
7 Get ideas from workplace bloggers
LinkedIn’s Pulse is essentially a hub for microbloggers – it is here where you will find short snippets from business leaders, academics and consultants. While most cover broad topics (see Unique Habits of Ridiculously Likeable People by Dr Travis Bradberry), these quick-reads will often give the reader food for thought in a professional setting.