By Linda Van Valkenburgh
In my last post, I promised to provide further information on social networking in career transition.  This post will discuss the use of LinkedIn and how to maximize your productivity with this tool.

LinkedIn is the social networking site that is designed for you to post your professional persona for the business world to see. It is one of the most widely read professional networking sites on the Web.  Almost every employer will try to find you  there.

At LinkedIn, you have the ability to include all of your business triumphs, links to whatever information you feel is relevant in this arena, a brief bio, obtain recommendations from relevant business associates and affiliations as well as past and present co-workers, link to blog postings, point to your Tweets, and display work samples, among other things.

At the very top of your profile is where you get to advertise yourself and your abilities, so take advantage of the space offered. Many people just include their job title. Be creative to grab the attention of visitors to your profile. You can write a short promo to start people thinking about who you are and what you do.  For example, I wrote the following under my name to get my LinkedIn visitors thinking about me:

Linda Van Valkenburgh
“Creating extraordinary career campaigns one client at a time! In transition? Call me 203.323.9977”

Through this medium, you get to take advantage of the concept of Six Degrees of Separation to the highest level by finding connections to people in the business community through “Inviting them to join you on LinkedIn.”  You can search for people and see your connections by using the “People” search box at the upper right corner.
You can also search for a lot of useful information by clicking on the “More” tab. You can locate companies and view their profiles. You can also find out a little bit about the employees and the culture of a company by clicking on the “Answers” drop down.  Join discussion groups pertaining to your industry.  Get involved and try to establish yourself as an expert. Link to things that other people might find of interest.

LinkedIn also provides you with the opportunity to give recommendations to others and to receive them as well.  Write recommendations to people you know. Perhaps they will recommend you, too!

Visit the LinkedIn site and play around with it. Explore all of the different things that LinkedIn has to offer. Take a webinar that goes into the intricate details of using LinkedIn. Here is the link to a webinar that I have found useful for my clients. Mention my name to Ms. Scott. It will be well worth it!