5 Ways to Become a LinkedIn Ninja

Building a strong LinkedIn network takes time. Scrambling to build a profile and connections when your current position has suddenly become “qualified manager seeking opportunities” is not attractive. I hear this again and again from my speaking audiences– stories of folks who waited too late and then had to scramble.

And if you think LinkedIn really doesn’t matter, know that Pew Research  found that 98% of Recruiters and 85% of hiring managers use LinkedIn.

Even if you’re absolutely sure you’ll never need another job again, know that for many professionals, LinkedIn is their go-to tool to see what the folks they are meeting are all about. A strong LinkedIn profile could be the tipping point for landing that board position, or inspiring your current employer to notice the diversity of your background and how your professional point of view is playing in the marketplace.

5 Ways to Become a LinkedIn Ninja

No. LinkedIn is not paying me to promote their site. I’m just worried that many in our LGL tribe have profiles that could use a little Ninja-like magic.

1. Leverage Your Weapons

LinkedIn provides you with all the tools you need to have your very own, completely free, easy to use, personal branding website. Why not?

Most underused tool:  Blog posting

Yes. You can write a blog about anything pertaining to your expertise, and upload it to your profile. People read them, and learn about you and something you care about. This is brilliant. I wonder now if I ever would have started my blog if this were an option a few years ago. Even if you’re not considering becoming a blogger, a few well-written points of view will differentiate you from the crowd.  P.S. If you’ve done this, add your link to the comments and I’ll help promote.

Second most underused tool: Video

Put on some make-up and brush your hair. Put up a black sheet against your kid’s bedroom wall, and share your professional message. It doesn’t take much to make your profile pop with video.

2. Prepare

Ninjas show up strong prepared for battle. They do their homework. Get a great headshot in professional clothes. Take time to flesh out your profile with accomplishments (including % improvement etc), not just actions or job descriptions.

3. Take an Interest in Others

Pick a few salient interest groups and show up, first Ninja like, commenting, sharing information and inviting a few folks with shared interests to connect. Once your “group contribution level” grows, you can start initiating and engaging your own conversations, which I guarantee will draw attention to your message and catalyze new connections.

4. Exert Effort

Consistency is key. Carve out 15 minutes a day a few times a week to show up. Accept invitations, invite a few others. Take the stack of business cards you brought home from the conference and send each an invitation to connect along with something of value (e.g. a link to a great article).

5. Know the Nuances

Take a minute to understand how LinkedIn works. The biggest mistake is not turning “notify your network” to “off” when working on profile changes. If you screw this up, everytime you change a word due to spell check, your crew will be notified. Turn it off, make your changes and then notify them all at once with your spectacular new profile.

That’s a start. I’d love to hear your stories of LinkedIn Success. I envision a day when every LGL subscriber has a rock-star LinkedIn profile serving them well.

Posted in Career & Learning and tagged , , .

Karin Hurt

Karin Hurt, Founder of Let’s Grow Leaders, helps leaders around the world achieve breakthrough results, without losing their soul. A former Verizon Wireless executive, she has over two decades of experience in sales, customer service, and HR. She was named on Inc's list of 100 Great Leadership Speakers and American Management Association's 50 Leaders to Watch. She’s the author of several books: Courageous Cultures: How to Build Teams of Micro-Innovators, Problem Solvers, and Customer Advocates (Harper Collins Summer 2020), Winning Well: A Manager's Guide to Getting Results-Without Losing Your Soul, Overcoming an Imperfect Boss, and Glowstone Peak.


  1. I get lots of requests to connect. Though I found an electronic connection was empty compared to a personal one.

    A few years ago I started asking people who requested to connect to first have a phone or Skype call to get acquainted. I thought if we knew each other on a personal and professional level it would make the connection more meaningful. We’d be more likely to recommend each other to our circles of influence.

    I tried my idea for a year and less than 15% of the people accepted my request to speak. On the upside I did make a few solid and meaningful new professional friends.

    So, now I’m particular about who I accept. I don’t let anyone through the gate.

    Have a great week.

    • Steve, That’s an interesting approach, and a great way to buid your network. I’d be really curious about the folks who dropped out and their reasons. I also find that some people who are connecting are trying to get in to sell me something, or to ask me to advertise on my blog). In other words, they are connecting because they want something from me. I don’t mind the connection, but I do mind when the very next email is a sales pitch… complete turn off.

      I think the risk (for me) in saying lets connect off the bat is that the inept sales guys would jump on it.

  2. Karin – Great coincidence…. I just started blogging on LinkedIn ( https://www.linkedin.com/today/author/89270478 ) and I visited a photographer for a professional shot last week. Hopefully one of the shots turns out!

    I read your post and I am reminded that we cannot take career for granted. What we do today, those we meet, the quality of our work, our Social Media profiles … all these will speak for us tomorrow. Professionally. It’s up to us if those outlets will be a burden or an opportunity!

    • David, I love what you’ve done with LinkedIn posts. Your approach demonstrates that LInkedIn can serve as an ideal platform to become a high-quality blogger. All, if you haven’t checked out David’s stuff, it’s fantastic.

  3. Steve – I used to reserve my LI connections for people I actually knew, but then realized that LI had changed and so I did as well. I don’t accept all requests, but do say yes to those who have similar interests.

    Karin – all great suggestions, and carving out time is the best! I sometimes think I have my parent’s program that time on social media is goof-off time and feel guilty on LI and FB, even if it’s promoting my business.

    To help with nuances, there’s a newsletter that gives the inside scoop on LI called “I’m on LI, Now What?” here http://imonlinkedinnowwhat.com

    When sending my blog posts out with ConstantContact, I use their Social Share capability to auto-magically post to LI, FB page and Twitter. It’s pretty easy and I sometimes forget that my message has been posted so am surprised by a re-Tweet!

    I love how you think of all aspects of work as meaningful Karin. Thanks! Sending this along to a bunch of people.

    • Lisa, Thanks so much! Love that you shared the additional resource.

  4. Well done, Karin! So many people are not up to speed with LinkedIn and it can make such a difference.

    I agree with you on the blog posting on LinkedIn. It is such an incredible place and I have met so many amazing people. It actually opened me up to meeting people that I would never meet just on my website blogging.

    Connecting with people can be tricky and I am not fond of the sales pitch from some of them. I agree with Lisa that the whole concept of accepting people we feel comfortable with and know seems to have changed. So today I am also more open.

    Thanks Karin for opening up this important LinkedIn discussion!

    • Terri, Thanks. I’m very open on who’s request I accept, and it’s only resulted in two propositions– one a marriage proposal 😉 So yeah, there is some goofy stuff out there, but it’s very important to have a strong presence and then decide the connection strategy.

  5. You make lots of great points, Karin!

    I especially like the way you encourage folks to engage in groups…I know that has worked very well for me in getting out my message!

    • Larae, The groups were instrumental for me early on in building my brand. I don’t have as much time these days to engage as much as I would like, but when I do, I always find value.

  6. I liked this one particularly Karin- ‘Take an Interest in Others’, and I use it to vet those wanting to connect. If they can’t be bothered to over-type Linkedin’s standard request text with a short note I’m generally not bothered to accept.

    If I’m sending a request I try to remind them of where we worked/met and ask after their wellbeing, then finally ask to connect and possibly give a reason.

  7. Hi Karin-Thank you for your thoughtful blog posts! I have enjoyed reading them and applying them to my career development. I wanted to let you know that #1 within your blog post on March 23 inspired me to post my first blog on LinkedIn today. Here the link if you are interested in reading about an analogy I had for Spring Cleaning my House and feedback from performance reviews. Wishing you all the best!

  8. I have used LinkedIn to grow my network and build a new business. You are spot on for every point. I think that the missing piece is the consistency. It does only take a few minutes a day (about 15) to make an impact. My weak link is the blog posting – and I will be posting videos very soon.

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