The Most Effective Ways to Use LinkedIn

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LinkedIn is the top online site for professional, social and career networking. The site functions as an online directory of individual professionals and organizations and facilitates the process of professional networking without having to leave your office.

LinkedIn has millions of members in more than 200 countries, including executives from all of the Fortune 500 companies.

While individuals use LinkedIn for professional networking, connecting, and job searching, companies use LinkedIn for recruiting and for sharing company information with prospective employees.

You might use Facebook to connect with friends, family, and colleagues, while LinkedIn offers professional networking rather than connecting based on interests and personal relationships.

It's a terrific site for job searching, as well. You can learn to use LinkedIn effectively and understand the best way to use LinkedIn's resources for job hunting and building your career.

The following sections contain links to a great deal of useful information to help you take advantage of all the resources and tools LinkedIn has to offer.

Getting Started

You'll find it quick and easy to get started using LinkedIn. Start by signing up for an account and create your online profile. The site offers two main tiers of membership: Basic and Premium. The Premium tier branches into four subcategories including "Job Seeker," "Sales Navigator," "Recruiter Lite," and "Business Plus,” each with its own cost.

The basic account features such as messaging, profile creation, and ways to apply to job postings come with the free membership, while the Premium Account has added features and resources to expand your online presence and let you get more out of the service.

As soon as you log in, you can start using LinkedIn to connect, network, job search, and boost your career.

LinkedIn 101: Why Use LinkedIn?
LinkedIn offers useful resources for job seekers, providing information, acting as a billboard to highlight your unique value proposition, and making your information public for recruiters who may be looking for what you have to offer.

Signing Up
Ready to get started?  It's simple. Navigate to LinkedIn.com, enter your first and last name and email address in the indicated area, and create a password. Here's information on how to sign up for LinkedIn, how to create a strong profile, and how to log in once you have created a profile.

Choose a Professional Photo
Click on the paragraph header to read tips and advice on how to take and choose a professional-looking photo to use in your LinkedIn profile, including what to wear, what type of photo to use, and how to pick a picture that will make a great impression.

Write a Good Profile Summary
How can you write a good LinkedIn summary? Follow the link above for questions that will help you get the best result from those 2,000 characters, with examples of LinkedIn summaries that make the best impression.

Improve and Tweak Your Profile
Your profile deserves some focused attention since it serves to connect you with people who want to join your network. Your profile helps you get found on LinkedIn because it contains searchable keywords in the information you post about your skills and experience.

Your profile benefits from including relevant keywords that search engines and hiring managers alike look for in a candidate.

Including these buzzwords in your summary, interests, former job titles, and skills can really help you stand out from your competitors.

Request LinkedIn Recommendations
Follow the above link to see who to ask for a recommendation on LinkedIn, the best way to ask, tips for getting great recommendations, and how to manage the recommendations you get.

Use LinkedIn Endorsements
Endorsements help other users understand where your expertise lies. You may have good success requesting and receiving them from your professional contacts, considering how quick and easy they can endorse you on the site as opposed to writing a recommendation letter. Information on LinkedIn endorsements, including what they are, how to get them, and how to turn them off so they don't show on your profile.

Include Your LinkedIn Profile Address on Your Resume
You can easily create a custom LinkedIn URL and include it on your resume.

This makes it easy for prospective employers to visit LinkedIn to learn more about you and your skills and qualifications.

Building and Using Your LinkedIn Network

How Big Should Your Network Be?
How many people do you need in your LinkedIn network to make it an effective tool for job searching and career networking? No easy answer exists, because it depends more on your career objectives and goals for using the site. Review these guidelines for determining the best network size.

Guidelines for Sending Messages and Invitations
Once you sign up for LinkedIn and create a profile you can start to build a network of contacts, including people with whom you connect on a professional basis, an educational basis, or based on another common interest. Building your network will become a key part of using LinkedIn, and certain do's and don'ts apply.

While you want to build a network, send your contact invitations to people who you want to have as professional contacts. You will be able to send messages to others who have profiles on LinkedIn, and you'll increase your response rate the more you keep your messages on point.

Perform Your Job Search on LinkedIn

Applying for Jobs
Job seekers can search and apply for jobs directly on LinkedIn. In addition, you can view and contact your LinkedIn connections who may be able to refer you for the job. Check the link for step-by-step instructions for searching and applying for jobs on the site.

Job Search Tools and Tips
How can you ensure that you're using the full power of LinkedIn to assist with your search for a new job? It's important to effectively use your connections and all of the information available on LinkedIn when you're applying for new jobs.

Targeted searches such as the advanced people or company finders can sharpen your scope and help you find exactly what you are looking for. You can filter the advanced search by location, industry, alumni status, or number of employees to get more concise, specific search results.

Searching Company Profiles
LinkedIn company profiles make a good way to find, at a glance, more information on companies in which you have an interest. You'll be able to see if you have any connections at the company, new hires, promotions, jobs posted, related companies, and company statistics.

More Tips for Using LinkedIn

Update Your LinkedIn Profile
The more complete your LinkedIn profile, the more chances you will have to be found and contacted. Use your LinkedIn profile like a resume and provide prospective employers with detailed information on your skills and experience. You can customize your profile’s unique URL to make it easier to find and increase its visibility.

How to Update Your LinkedIn Profile When You're Unemployed
Updating your LinkedIn profile to reflect that you're unemployed can create an issue. Even though you might be unemployed, you must still present yourself in a positive light to prospective employers and to networking contacts. Click the link for tips on what to include in your profile when you're in between jobs.

Use LinkedIn Mobile

LinkedIn Mobile features include searching and viewing profiles, inviting new connections, access to LinkedIn answers, and actionable network updates. You can send and receive messages, look up user or company profiles, and even upload your resume to job openings all in the palm of your hand. Use it to keep your job search moving forward when you're on the road.

Avoid Being Scammed
LinkedIn has the same challenges as other sites, so watch out for scammers. Review how to spot a scam, and what to do if it happens to you.

More About LinkedIn: 9 Simple Steps to Build a Better LinkedIn Profile