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Connect with Confidence: Market Yourself Better through LinkedIn

Posted by: Sarah Hurd | Posted on: December 15th, 2014 | 0 Comments

Last night, as I was browsing my own LinkedIn page, I couldn’t help but think, “I wish I had known this sooner!” It seems that LinkedIn has the potential for endless opportunity. It’s all about who you know these days and on LinkedIn, the world is at your fingertips.  All you have to do is connect, right? Well, not exactly. You have to know how to use it first, and I don’t just mean which buttons to click. Rather, I’m talking about how to market yourself wisely and use LinkedIn to your full advantage. I have compiled a few tips and tricks I’ve learned throughout my LinkedIn journey, and today I want to share those with you!

  1. Spend a little time each night on your LinkedIn profile. Just like anything in life, you get out of it what you put into it. First and foremost, take a few minutes out of your night to get involved on your LinkedIn page. Whether it’s updating your profile, searching for new connections or contributing to group discussions, if you put yourself out there, you will get noticed. Who knows where this could lead?
  2. Join the right groups. According to Kristen Curtiss in her article, How to Use LinkedIn Groups (the Right Way) to Build Relationships for Your Business, LinkedIn groups are a meeting place for people with similar interests, to engage in and discuss topics that you understand. Not only does this allow you to present yourself as a reliable expert, but you’re building a stronger network with people who can offer solutions and even open the door to more opportunities.
  3. Personalize your URL. This is really simple, but important. Not only does it show you’re detail-oriented and care about your presentation, it also makes you easier to remember. Just move your cursor across your URL (located under your profile picture) and click “edit.” Yes, it is this simple. This way you can shamelessly link your URL in places people will see it.
  4. Market yourself. Utilize LinkedIn as a true resource. Just like Twitter and Facebook, LinkedIn is a great outlet for sharing your innovation through posts and blogs. Of course your content should remain more professional (or however you want to brand yourself) but it’s a great place for you to display your expertise, share insight and SHOW that you’re proficient.
  5. Connect through “Search.” Often times when you’re trying to connect with someone, you go to their page and click “connect.” However, typically you’re led to a screen requiring you to enter how you know the individual. To avoid this, simply search for their name and click “connect” located to the right of their name. You may not be able to personalize your message, but at least you have a foot in the door.
  6. Don’t be shy. LinkedIn is full of driven professionals with tons of experience.  These people make great mentors. People usually enjoy talking about their successes and journey to reach their goals, but better yet, people enjoy sharing their words of wisdom with others. It’s an opportunity for them to talk about themselves (and be honest, we have all enjoyed doing that at some point).  Message them, ask to schedule a phone meeting or even a coffee. You never know who they know, and you never know what opportunities may come your way.
  7. Set Goals! So you’re doing everything you’re supposed to… now what? First, be proud of yourself. You’re making efforts and those won’t be in vain. However, perhaps the most important tip of all; be strategic and set goals for yourself. For example, write one blog a week, make one post a day, reach out to two mentors a month and participate in group discussions on a weekly basis. If you set goals for yourself, you are much more likely to hold yourself accountable and follow through.

The next time you log in to your LinkedIn account, keep these tips in mind. And remember, you’re one of a kind, with your own set of unique skillets. Hold your head up high, connect confidently and hold yourself accountable. Happy Connecting!

Do you have any LinkedIn tips that have opened doors for you? Please share!

How to Make Your Email Really POP!

Posted by: Sarah Hurd | Posted on: December 9th, 2014 | 0 Comments

Do you ever dread opening your email browser? It’s a brand new morning, and the last thing you want to see, is a flood of emails requesting your response. So what do you do next? You might start from the bottom and work your way up, or, you might scan to see which ones appear most important. We’re all guilty of ignoring an email, because well, it doesn’t look appealing. Your busy schedule takes priority and the email gets thrown into the “maybe later” category. In reality we know that email probably isn’t even going to get viewed.

Now let’s put the shoe on the other foot. Suppose you’re the one sending the email. You’re seeking a job, trying to make a sale or just looking for some information, what do you put in that subject line? It’s the first thing people see and judge. What will separate your email from all the others? What will capture the reader’s attention? Just like the beginning of a story, you don’t want get off on the wrong foot and bore your reader (yikes). You want to make a great first impression. So what does all this tell me? The subject line matters… a lot!

Here are a couple tips I discovered for making a great first impression with your email, and are proven to help get your emails opened:

  1. Keep it short! Business Insider author, Jenna Goudreau, explains through her article, How to Write the Perfect Email Subject Line for Job Hunting, that in this day in age, most emails are often read on mobile phones, only revealing 25-30 characters of your subject line. What does this mean? Put the most important information first. If it’s short and to the point, it appears more urgent, making it an important email.
  2. Personalize your email.  In a Forbes article, Eight Ways to Get Your Emails Opened, author Deborah Jacobs explains it’s important to focus on your reader. A little research goes a long way. Know their name and focus on THEIR goals and needs. Don’t be afraid to mention their name and briefly state what you have to offer. In the email you can detail just how spectacular your offer is, but first, get them to open it.

Finally, don’t forget that timing matters! On top of the subject line, the time of day you send your business email also makes a difference. Before clicking “send,” try to keep these in mind:

  • Monday – The best day of the week to email! Early morning, before business hours, ensures your email will be at the top of the list, increasing the chances of it being opened.
  • Tuesday – Thursday – 10am to 2pm. The morning rush is over and attention spans are still going strong.
  • Friday – Minds are often too focused on the weekend. Your email is much less likely to be seen.

In a society that values communication through technology, it’s important to make a great first impression. When you show up to an interview, you want to walk in with a smile and freshly pressed shirt. Similarly, when you send an email, you want to sound original, confident and professional. Keep these tips in mind the next time you write an email and never forget to take one last final glance before clicking the send button!

Do you have any more tips or tricks to offer? Don’t forget to leave your thoughts in the comments below!

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