So you’ve created a LinkedIn profile – you listed your work and education experience, uploaded a photo, wrote a personal summary. That’s pretty much it, right?
Not so fast.
With some 65 million users in the U.S., LinkedIn can be a powerful tool to advance your career – but you have to be an active user to reap the benefits.
Consider these six ways of making the most of LinkedIn.
1. Be a Follower
Is there a particular company you want to work for? Chances are it’s on LinkedIn. Search for companies that you’re interested in and then opt to “follow” them. Being a follower is a great way to keep track of changes and developments in a company (and the more you know, the better you’ll do come interview time), scope out open positions, see who works for the company, and see who else follows it. You can also get yourself noticed by prospective employers by commenting on their posts.
2. Network Through Groups
Whether you’re interested in aerospace or zoology, there is a LinkedIn group for you. Groups are a great place to network with like-minded professionals and stay abreast of the latest trends in an industry.
And when you’re part of a group, you can contact other members directly, whether or not they are in your professional network – so groups are a great way to build new relationships and expand your professional network. Here’s a tip: Don’t join so many groups that you aren’t able to participate in each one a few times per week.
3. Be an Active Participant
LinkedIn is a great platform for getting noticed as either an authority in your field or an up-and-comer to keep an eye on. Contribute to industry discourse by commenting thoughtfully on other people’s (and company’s) posts and share relevant articles and blog posts with your network and groups. If you keep a personal or professional blog, use LinkedIn to drive more traffic to it.
4. Get Introduced
LinkedIn’s introduction feature can help you expand your network and connect with key contacts at companies. If you have a second or third degree connection, you can request that one of your first degree connections introduce you.
When you click on your connection of interest, there will be an option on the right of the screen to “get introduced through a connection.” Choose that option and follow the instructions. Using the introduction feature increases your odds of making the new connection.
5. Get Recommendations
Recognition from other colleagues speaks volumes. LinkedIn’s recommendation feature lets you reach out to connections and ask them to sing your praises (or at least say you did a solid job when you worked with them).
Go to the profile tab at the top of your LinkedIn page and choose “recommendations” from the dropdown menu. From there, you can send requests to connections to comment on specific positions you’ve held. Tip: It’s OK to recommend a connection in exchange for a recommendation, but if all of your recommendations are reciprocal, they will carry less weight.
6. Find a Job – or Get Found
Click the “jobs” tab at the top of a LinkedIn page, and you’ll get a list of open positions LinkedIn thinks you might be interested in based on your education, past jobs and profile information. You can also set up job alert emails. Recruiters and companies also use LinkedIn to find job candidates – so make sure to keep your profile updated and relevant.