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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

How To Use LinkedIn More Effectively

Most professionals recognize the value in setting up a LinkedIn profile, but are you using LinkedIn effectively?  Here are a handful of tips for getting the most out of your LinkedIn experience:
1.  Use a Professional Profile Photo. 
Save the pictures of your puppy or kids for your Facebook profile, and make sure you are using a professional headshot for your LinkedIn profile.  Ask your employer if you can use the headshot from your company website if you have one or spend a little money and have one taken. 
2.  Fill in the Details.
Make sure you fill in your background, skills, education, experience, and publications.  Use links and upload documents to make it easier for potential employers, clients, or customers to learn more about you.  Link to your website and any other professional social media site (blog, company Twitter or Facebook) but avoid linking to personal social media sites.  Think about LinkedIn being an extension of your resume. 
3.   Connect.
LinkedIn is about connections, so make them. Invite people you recently met at a conference or discussed business with at your kids' school to connect with you. Make sure your clients or customers are connections - they are your best source of recommendations or endorsements. LinkedIn is not a popularity contest, so you can (and should) be a little more choosy in your connections - remember, this is a professional networking site. 
4.  Join Groups.
If you aren't joining groups in your field, you may be missing out on making valuable new connections.  LinkedIn will provide you with recommendations of groups based on your profile and summary information in "Groups You May Like."  But, you may need to dig a little deeper.  Search for organizations you already belong to and see if they have a LinkedIn group - they probably do.  Join your company group.  See what groups your connections belong to and join those.  
5.  Keep it Current.
Every couple of months, or immediately after a significant professional change (i.e., new job, promotion, publication), review and update your profile with new skills, activities, publications, etc.  In addition to keeping your profile current, it also keeps your connections informed of new activities.  

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