EFL Teachers LinkedIn - tech tip #9

rusty chain link by laenulfean
Like everything else in life, you get back what you put in and LinkedIn is no exception to this rule.

LinkedIn is a social-networking site, in the same way that Facebook, Twitter and Ning are, however, its community function is slightly different and its core objective lies in bringing together professionals.

Whether they are accountants, IT managers or CEOs they're all there on LinkedIn.

English language teachers, institute owners, publishers, authors, bloggers and e-learning site developers.

However, and actually the thing I like best about this site, is that unlike most other social-networking sites on LinkedIn you know exactly who're you're talking to and the profile you build also manages to serve as an online public CV (resumé) .

That may seem a little scary, especially if you're learning all this techie stuff with me step-by-step, but if you are looking to

  • expand your clientele
  • stretch into new fields of expertise
  • state your availability for new projects or jobs
  • or you just want to let the world know about your teaching abilities
then it is an excellent space in which to do this in.

Harvesting what you plant...

1. Building a good profile

Spend time filling in all the details about your life, work experience, abilities, qualities and aspirations.

Remember that you are not only listing what you can do but, in a way, just like in an interview you are selling yourself in advance.

Definitely put in the same amount of time you'd spend updating your CV if you were applying for a job next week - LinkedIn is searchable by Google and once you have a profile listed, it is this (if you have a vanity profile) that will most likely be on the first page whenever someone types in your name.

Read these***

2. Add applications to make your page attractive

Towards the bottom of the left-hand column you'll see something that looks like a wheel, click on that to add apps (applications).

Are you a great English teacher?

Dig through your hard-drive.

Are there any lessons you could upload into box.net?

Are you running a language school?

Upload your latest brochure so your network can learn more about what you and your school offers and why this is special.

Drop the web 1.0 approach to everything - the web 2.0 works on openness and sharing and you are much more likely to attract clients if they can download your information easily.

Are you a teacher trainer?

Have another look in the dead-files, do you have a good powerpoint presentation you've made that you won't be using again (or at least not exactly the way it is now) which could be easily loaded up into slideshare so that potential teachers or associations can view the quality of your work?

Are you an aspiring or published author?

Stick up a chapter or two up for easy and free download. You will earn respect and if your network likes your work, they'll buy it.

Are you an editor or an ELT salesperson?

Load up your company's catalog. If you're looking for new leads tell the world what you have (but do not spam). If you're looking for writers of materials, say so and openly provide a specific email address for this function.

If you don't want to be bothered with unattractive requests, state this.

Do you have a personal blog or a website?

List it.

Use the "other" function so that you can name it appropriately (google-searchable).

What books are you currently reading?

Add one or two using Amazon, this will make you look much more well-rounded.

Travel a lot from conference to conference?

Let your network know, perhaps you do really prefer sitting in dusty hotel rooms all alone but if you don't, perhaps meeting up for a beer with someone in the same location might lead to further conferences or in-house employee workshops. Or a new friend.

3. Finding a great photograph

Remember that you are in a professional environment and want to look your best but also do make a good effort not to look boring!

Read this

Seth Godin and the power of the tiny picture

4. Expand your network

Who do you know that is already on LinkedIn?

Check your email addresses and send an automatic invite.

Connect with me (Karenne Sylvester - mention the blog so I'll know it's you - my email address for LinkedIn purposes is kalinago.english (at) gmail (dot) com.

partySearch for old bosses and dig through your last ELT conference's business cards - you know the ones you shoved in the back of your wallet - see it was useful for you to keep these!

Try to build a good-sized network of at least 50 people. Below this and you probably won't be able to experience the benefit of being on LinkedIn.

Take a look at the people in your contacts' contacts lists - have you already met some of those people? If you have, send them an invite to connect.

Read this
10 etiquette rules for LinkedIn

5. Get recommended

After a little while on LinkedIn, say a few weeks once you've tweaked and re-tweaked your profile (it takes a while to get it right), have a look through your contacts - who knows you and the quality of your work?

Would they be willing to say so in a public sphere?

Send them a nice email asking them to write you up a short reference.

6. Join Groups

The very best way to expand your network and find other like-minded professionals is to join in with other like-minded professionals!

Here's a list of some of the great ELT groups available:

If you're a Tweeter, also join Tom Whitby's

But don't join only education groups - search for ones applicable to the country you live in, the type of interests and hobbies you have as you never know where that next great teaching assignment or professional contact will come in from.

If you're a language institution, do reach out to the HR professional groups and connect with them as well as teachers who you may potentially hire.

7. Getting "known"

The best way to connect with others is to connect with others!

Read your groups' discussion pages:

  • If you need help figuring something out about teaching, ask a question.
  • Can you help by answering someone else's question? Share your knowledge.

There's also an open Q&A section within LinkedIn, search through these to see if anyone wants to know something you know about.

And whenever you really like someone's questions or answers, linkup with them by using the Add to your network (top right) + select the group you both belong to from the drop-down menu.

Whenever contacting pure strangers, try not to use the standard "I'd like to add you to my network" invite from LinkedIn but instead say something like "I really liked your answer on.... blah, blah, and I was wondering if you'd like to connect with me."

The key is to be polite and most people will say yes.

8. Update your profile status regularly

Every time you make a change to your page, your network is notified, so do do this.

Whenever you notice a change on someone else's profile that is interesting, comment - it shows you are paying attention and develops your social-networking abilities.

And of course, the next time you're at a workshop or a teaching conference, you'll have a lot more to say to each other than "jolly good location, the food's great but the coffee's crap."


More links...
See what I've saved for you on delicious - this post will tell you what delicious is. Also read Tony Karrer's blog posting with many more links!

And now for a handful of don'ts

  • If you're not a really close personal friend of one of the people in your contact list, don't ask that person to introduce you to someone else unless you have a really, really good reason. It's in poor taste.
  • Do not shove your products and services down the throats of others! Be the same nice person/ educator that you are in real life - don't send out random annoying email requests to people you don't really know asking them to do you favors or asking them to advertise your products. It's in poor taste.
  • If you have a serious professional offer to make someone, provide a relative amount of detail. "We'd like to work with you" is saying what exactly? ;-)
  • If you decide to be on online, then be online - drop the old ways of thinking. Load up a real picture of you. Never, ever use your company logo or an avatar - it looks really weird if you don't have a real pic here and you will, effectively, have defeated the purpose of creating a profile.

Any questions?

Need me to clarify one of the points or have you got a top tip to add? Share it with us! And don't let my note on the "don'ts" scare you - due to the fact that LinkedIn has quite a closed door approach to networking, as a general rule, the spam factor is incredibly low.

Still not convinced about why this is a good idea?

Here's just one more reason:
personal branding and the google love machine


5 Responses to “EFL Teachers LinkedIn - tech tip #9”

  • Clare says:
    July 08, 2009

    Fabulous post Karenne!

  • Kenny says:
    July 08, 2009

    Great post and not just because you mentioned my LinkedIn group ;-) I just tweeted it too. Well done.

  • ShellTerrell says:
    July 09, 2009

    This post comes at a great time when I am just beginning to get my LinkedIn profile in order. Already I have made some great connections and think I will be able to make more with the sound advice you provide.
    Thank you!

  • reading says:
    August 01, 2009

    Excellent presentation of the this post that realize the great need the of the English in the different s fields.Keep it up..

  • Aquarium rider says:
    January 16, 2010

    I'm doing a workshop on LinkedIn for alumni of our College of Education here at Georgia State University. This post is a perfect resource for my talk and as a reference for our teacher alumni afterwards. Here is my own blog post about it. Thanks for this, and for the Creative Commons license that lets me share it so easily.


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