How to Maximize Your Use of LinkedIn

Of all the social networking sites that people frequent, LinkedIn is possibly the most under-appreciated and misunderstood. That might be because it’s considered to be a strictly professional site where people go to network with other professionals and post or find jobs. While all of that is true, there is so much more to LinkedIn than that. LinkedIn has real communities that, when used regularly, offer enjoyment and social enrichment as well as enlightenment.

Thanks to Steve Kovach who uncovered 13 things that people can do on LinkedIn that most of them probably never even knew about, you can start to enjoy the time you spend on LinkedIn almost as much as you enjoy the time you spend on Facebook. I’ve listed some of my personal favorites below.

LinkedIn Today: A lot of people might know about this daily news feed, but how many people actually use it? If you subscribe to it, headlines that are tailored to you, based on your connections, the groups you’ve joined, etc., appear on your home page every day. This one can come in handy for people who like to keep up with current events in their industries. LinkedIn Today can also be accessed through the News link at the top of your home page.

LinkedIn Updates: To access the latest comments or shared links from others in your industry or areas of interest, simply go to the search bar, select Updates in the drop down box and voilà. You can use the filtering options on the left side of the page to laser focus your search by company, location, industry, topics, groups or network (connection to you).

Custom URL: You change the URL for your LinkedIn page from the generic version that LinkedIn issues to something more personalized. You can do this by clicking on the Edit Profile link at the top of the page and then clicking the small Edit link beside the Public Profile URL.

Groups: This is another nice LinkedIn feature that a lot of people may already know about. You can search for groups that are relevant to your industry or interests by clicking on Groups in the drop down box beside the search bar. LinkedIn also recommends groups. You can find LinkedIn’s recommendations on the right side of your home page.

Maximize Google: People Google each other all the time, especially when they’re thinking about hiring or doing business with someone. So, make sure you have an informative, up to date profile. Although you have to add a photo in order for your profile to be 100% complete, you don’t have to use a photo of yourself. If you’re job searching and don’t want to open the door to possible discrimination, you can use a photo of your favorite place or favorite animal.

LinkedIn is definitely a marketplace for professionals to engage and interact with each other. But it’s also definitely more than just an online résumé. You can use LinkedIn groups to start discussions and find resources for articles or blog posts. LinkedIn Answers offers a forum in which you can get trustworthy answers to difficult questions.

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