Using LinkedIn is a highly effective way for senior-level finance and accounting professionals to enhance their reputation as experts in the field and build business relationships. But maximizing the benefits of this tool requires more than just logging in every now and then.
Here are seven tips for getting the most out of LinkedIn’s offerings and developing an executive presence.
1. Brand your profile.
The headline that appears under your name is prime LinkedIn real estate. It’s the first thing both people and search engines will see. By default, LinkedIn inserts your current job title, but you can customize it to anything you like. Write something that sums up your personal brand – something powerful, catchy and appealing to hiring managers.
2. Make the connection with keywords.
Think about adding keywords to your profile that can make it easier for people to connect with you. For example, if you’re a business analyst, you might use “Oracle ERP deployment” or “data-driven conclusions.” Mine accounting and finance job listings that suit you to keep up to date with the kind of keywords employers are using.
3. Minimize to maximize impact when posting.
Focus on quality over quantity when making connections. Also, rather than engaging in surface-level commenting, concentrate on regularly contributing thoughtful and engaging responses to articles and posts related to your field. You want to be known as an industry expert, not a hyper-networker.
4. Initiate communications.
Endorse your connections and give wholehearted recommendations to colleagues and previous employees. Most of the time, they will reciprocate your generosity without you having to ask.
5. Get a range of recommendations.
Remember that there’s value in receiving recommendations from below as well as above. Testimonials from direct reports show you’re a respected manager and leader.
LinkedIn features a professional publishing platform. Your articles are distributed to your network and may even be featured in other LinkedIn channels. Not only can you boost your profile and build a good reputation as an expert, but you might also attract the attention of hiring managers recruiting for accounting and finance jobs.
7. Follow to lead.
Enhance your LinkedIn persona by carefully choosing a group of thought leaders to follow. These could include CFOs of companies you admire or financial powerhouses with a strong social media presence. Also, be sure to connect with professional groups featuring insights on industry trends, job ads and career advice.
Developing an effective LinkedIn presence takes time, but it can go a long way toward advancing your career and reputation. Start by making sure your profile is complete and up to date. Then at least once a week, try to add a new contact and find a company or leader to follow. If you decide to make a career change at some point, your efforts could very well help you find new opportunities that match your skills and interests.
What other tips do you have for networking with fellow accounting and finance executives on LinkedIn?