If you've resolved to do better on LinkedIn this year, hooray for you. Just know that it means more than updating your experience, uploading a new headshot and making sure your contact information is current. In short: It's not all about you.
It's about building relationships. Here are three things you can do for other people on LinkedIn that will help you build relationships and strengthen your business, career and professional profile in the process -- and you can feel good about it.
1. Check and respond to your messages.
I always say it's smart to stay on top of your messages, because you never know when a connection or someone you don't know like a recruiter is reaching out to discuss a new job or opportunity or offer to connect you with someone who is looking for someone just like you. But there are less self-centered reasons for checking and responding to LinkedIn messages.
Relationships aren't one-way streets. Maybe one of your connections needs your help -- a referral, an introduction, the scoop on a job at your company. Don't hide out from your messages because you're too busy.
2. Endorse connections for their skills.
It's one thing if someone claims to be a good leader, writer, marketer, negotiator and so on. It's another thing if other people -- lots of other people -- say that person is a good leader, writer, marketer, negotiator and so on. That's the power of public opinion, and it's so easy to do your part. In just a few clicks you can endorse your connections for skills such as editing, blogging, public speaking and more. If it takes just a few seconds and give someone a boost, why not?
3. Write a recommendation.
One sure way to stick out as being an all-star connection -- within your network, that is -- is by writing a recommendation for someone. If you know a connection is looking for a new job or you simply enjoyed working or partnering with someone and want to give them a public shout-out, the LinkedIn recommendation is the way to go. Make time to write a few kind words -- assuming you have positive things to share -- when someone asks for a recommendation. Better yet, you can surprise a connection with one and be guaranteed to make someone's day.
Bottom line: You want to help others in your LinkedIn network, because it's the right thing to do. And who knows, they might be inspired to return the favor -- help you out, write a recommendation or endorse your skills. Not that that's why you're doing it. You just want to do a better job at LinkedIn, and it starts by building up your connections.