By Linda Van Valkenburgh, MS, CCMC, CJSS, CSMCS, CELDC

[email protected]

LinkedIn is one of the most popular social networks for professionals.

Networking plays an important role in finding new career opportunities, connecting with industry influencers, uncovering future partners and vendors, and more.

How should one go about using this powerful platform to network? How can you make valuable connections inside and outside your industry?

Complete Your Profile

One of the first things you will want to do is fill out all the details of your profile.

A profile that is not fully filled-out is often overlooked or ignored, because it appears to be underutilized or neglected entirely.

This means adding a profile and background picture, summary, experience, and so forth. You can also add links to your website, social profiles, portfolio, and other relevant sites, so take advantage of this feature.

It can be worthwhile to optimize your profile for SEO as well, including relevant keywords and terms you want to be found for.

With this information in place, you will have an easier time getting a response from those you connect with.

Keep An Eye On Network Updates

Network Updates is essentially LinkedIn’s version of the Facebook News Feed.

Checking these updates allows you to see what your connections have shared and to engage with them.

You can also share your own updates to interact with your connections.

If you would like to keep a closer eye on everything that is happening in your Network Updates, you can also sign up to receive email notifications.

Take Advantage Of LinkedIn’s Job Postings

If you are looking for a job, take advantage of LinkedIn Jobs. You can use its advanced search feature to find jobs by title, keywords, industry, location, company, and more.

As you apply to more jobs and save your searches, LinkedIn will also begin sending you recommendations for jobs you might be interested in.

Get A Premium Account

By default, LinkedIn does not allow you to connect with anyone but first-degree connections. Does this mean you cannot send messages to people you are not connected with?

If you get a premium account, you can take advantage of Open Profile to message any LinkedIn member.

Granted, this feature will not do you much good if you are not effective in connecting with others. Learning to write professional messages should be one of your top priorities when networking on LinkedIn.

Keep An Eye On Those Who Have View Your Profile

Wouldn’t it be great if you could see exactly who has viewed your profile? After all, if there is anyone worth connecting with, it is probably those who came across your profile.

Fortunately, LinkedIn has built-in functionality that allows you to do this very thing. All you need to do is navigate to Who’s Viewed Your Profile under your Profile dropdown menu.

As with sending messages to people who are not first-degree connections, however, you will require a premium account to unlock this feature.

Grow Your Connections

When sharing updates on LinkedIn, the updates you are sharing will only go out to those who are connected to you. So, why not grow your list of connections?

LinkedIn now has several tools that allow you to grow your network. For instance, you can “Manage Your Synced and Imported Contacts” and sync up with your email contacts to see who else you know and you have not connected with on LinkedIn yet.

Final Thoughts

It is now easier than ever to connect with people on LinkedIn. You could be missing out on a lot of great opportunities if you are not taking advantage of it already.

Use the above tips as a starting point and spend a little bit of time growing your LinkedIn presence daily. You will begin to see results from a concentrated effort.

Let’s get to work!

If you have questions about your executive career search, please contact me at 203-323-9977 or [email protected].