Bartleby

How to make the most of LinkedIn

A guide to surviving and thriving on the business world’s favourite social network

SOCIAL MEDIA and career development typically don’t mix. Doom-scrolling Elon Musk’s tweets or getting sucked into the latest TikTok craze do not exactly enhance your work prospects. Unless, that is, the social network in question is LinkedIn. Founded in 2003 in Silicon Valley as a platform for professional networking, and purchased in 2016 by Microsoft for $26bn, it has become a fixture of corporate cyberspace, with more than 800m registered users worldwide. Its 171m American members outnumber the country’s labour force. High-school students are creating profiles to include with their college applications. The chances are you probably have one, too. How do you make the most of it?

For those who have yet to link up with LinkedIn, the first, critical, step is fashioning your profile. First, choose a slick photo: think visionary resolve meets empathetic authenticity. Next, list your educational and professional history. Remember, nothing is too trivial. Went to a selective kindergarten? Say so; it illustrates that you were a winner from a tender age. As you draw up your list, make sure that it reads in the most deadpan way possible: no adjectives, no personal touch. The mechanical and the matter-of-fact is at a premium.

Armed with your profile, you can get down to business and begin creating your network. You need to have 500 or more connections in your profile to be taken seriously. To achieve…