LinkedIn claims to be the “world’s largest professional network” and it is hard to deny that.  A LinkedIn profile has become the electronic version of one’s resume. In addition to that, it allows you to highlight your personality and, as an extension of you,  is a hub for your professional network.  It allows you to create and build professional relationships and facilitates the sharing of knowledge and insight via articles and group discussions.  TheAfter5Edge - 4 Ways You Are Limiting Yourself on LinkedIn

If you take advantage of it, it is a powerful tool that can enhance your professional situation. But are you taking full advantage of it?

Here are 4 ways you may be limiting yourself on LinkedIn:

1. You’re not taking advantage of opportunities to continue the conversation

How many times do you connect with someone on LinkedIn and the communication ends there?  You press “Send invitation” or “Accept” and then there’s silence.  Networks like LinkedIn make it easy to connect with others beyond your geographic location but maintaining that relationship comes with time and effort on your part.  This is the same was with offline relationships.  Make an effort to continue the conversation with your connections by touching base throughout the year, find out what they’re up to, find out what issues they could use help with and what their latest accomplishments are. Go a little deeper than waiting for periodic updates on your homepage.

2. You’re uncomfortable selling yourself

Many of us, especially women, have been taught to be humble and to not brag.  But is it bragging if you’re simply stating a fact?  I’d agree that how tact is applied affects how the information you’re sharing about yourself is perceive.  So provided it is done gracefully, I think it is important to share your achievements. At the very least, we’re each responsible for being our biggest proponent and supporter.  If you’re not able to exhibit confidence in yourself and your abilities, how do you expect sponsors to feel comfortable vouching for you at the decision-making table? It all starts with you. And if you don’t share your progress with those around you, the world may never know about the impact you’re making day-to-day.

3. You’re unsure about when it is appropriate to interact with “professional” contacts

If you feel this way, you’re not alone.  This is especially the case with contacts who appear to be on LinkedIn strictly for business.  They may be the same ones you’ll hear making comments about the frivolity of social media.  Yes, LinkedIn is a professional network and often, it is the next step after a networking event. But sharing knowledge, insight, engaging, building relationships and creating opportunities are all part of maintaining your professional network. You just have to be mindful that the information that’s appropriate for LinkedIn may be different from what you’d share on Facebook, Pinterest, etc.  For example, interacting with your contacts around articles on leadership, industry trends and technology will likely be appropriate if it is along their purpose for being on LinkedIn.

4. You’re not participating in relevant and timely discussions 

Many people like to wait until they feel like they’re an “expert” to contribute.  While you’re perfecting their expertise, time is passing and the topic you’re passionate about is taking a different turn.  Timeliness and relevance are important when it comes to providing valuable  feedback.  Therefore, if you have a point of view that you’re able to support, it is important to share.  Your contribution may be the fresh new approach that others who have been addressing the topic may need.  If you feel so inspired, comment on articles and statuses and join the discussion in groups on LinkedIn.  You never know who you will help with your commentary or who will see your comment and feel compelled to reach out to you to continue the conversation.

Are these limitations relevant to you?  What are opportunities that LinkedIn provides that you haven’t taken advantage of?  For the opportunities that you’ve taken advantage of, how have they helped you?   

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