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How to Use LinkedIn Effectively -- and Efficiently -- for Your Professional Gain

If you work in almost any professional field, developing and maintaining a LinkedIn profile has become a key to your personal success and career advancement. It is essential to proactively maximize your time and effort on the site.

Will using LinkedIn get you a new job? Perhaps, especially if you use the job-search feature. Will using LinkedIn help you get an interview? Yes. Most prospective employers now Google a job candidate's name while doing a background check, and LinkedIn profiles typically appear as one of the top three search results.

But LinkedIn should not be used only when actively job-hunting. It is a fantastic tool for growing your network (both in and out of your industry), as well as for learning new trends and other information when people in your network (or whom you are following) post articles, research studies, and other invaluable information.

So, given that you should probably be doing more with LinkedIn, what are some key ways to use the site more effectively? Read on.

Five Ways to Use LinkedIn More Effectively

1. Develop, update, and enhance your profile. Do not set up your account and forget about it. Keep your profile current. Your profile should be your resume on steroids -- including everything on your resume, but also including work samples and other details that won't fit on your resume. Just remember that your wording should be the same -- the key is a consistent brand. Use a professional-looking headshot on your profile -- and ideally, use the same picture for all your social media and website/blog postings.

2. Regularly like and comment on other people's posts. LinkedIn is a community, and as such, it relies on members commenting on other people's posts. Spend time daily reviewing the newsfeed and liking posts -- and where you are so moved, write appropriate and useful comments.

3. Share insightful posts and articles related to your industry and profession. You add value to the LinkedIn community (and to your career brand) by sharing what you consider valuable, whether others posts, or articles from outside of LinkedIn. Remember to share YOUR articles too, including those that quote you as a source. Remember too, that you can write full articles on LinkedIn if you do not currently have a website or blog.

4. Build your network systematically, finding key players in your profession, but also other people that interest you. LinkedIn, of course, will offer you suggestions, but go way beyond those; seek out industry leaders and other key players. A neat trick for finding new people for your network is going into the network list of your current connections and finding people to add. Just remember to always send a personalized note when seeking a connection; do not use the site's generic wording.

5. Get endorsed for your skills and ask for recommendations. Build your reputation by asking people in your network to endorse you for certain key skills; and for closer connections, ask them to write a short, but specific recommendation that can be published on your profile. Just remember the cardinal rule: if people in your network ask you to do the same for them, you must reciprocate.

Final Thoughts on Enhancing Your LinkedIn Networking Experience

One other useful tip: research and joins groups that interest you, including alumni groups, and follow key companies and industries.

Also, remember to get a personalized URL for your profile -- and share that URL on everything, from your resume to business cards to any online profiles or bios in articles you publish.

One final tip... connect your Twitter account to LinkedIn and every time you post something on LinkedIn, it will also send out a tweet. Do like I do, and connect your Twitter to Facebook, and then you get three hits for one update -- on LinkedIn, on Twitter, and on Facebook.

Finally, do NOT neglect meeting, connecting, and networking with people in person, which is always the most powerful platform for positively interacting with others.

EmpoweringSites.com CEO Dr. Randall Hansen Dr. Randall S. Hansen is an educator, author, and blogger, as well as founder and CEO of EmpoweringSites.com, a network of empowering and transformative Websites, including EmpoweringAdvice.com. Dr. Hansen has been helping empower people to achieving success his entire adult life. He is also founder of EnhanceMyVocabulary.com, MyCollegeSuccessStory.com, and EmpoweringRetreat.com. He is a published author, with several books, chapters in books, and hundreds of articles. Dr. Hansen is also an educator, teaching business and marketing at the college level for more than 25 years. Learn more by visiting his personal Website, RandallSHansen.com. You can also check out Dr. Hansen on Google+, as well as Dr. Randall Hansen on LinkedIn.


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