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How to Get the Most out of LinkedIn

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With over 300 million members in over 200 countries, LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network.

It can be a brilliant way to start a new career, find a new job or simply expand your existing client network, and it provides access to potential customers and business partners all over the world. Professionals are currently joining LinkedIn at a rate of more than two members per second, meaning that there has never been a better time to broaden your career prospects by making the most of your LinkedIn account.

Optimise Your Profile

Setting up an interesting and attractive profile is essential if you want to use LinkedIn to advance your career. Use the heading of your profile not as a place to put your job title, but as a place to communicate exactly what it is that you do. Keep it as brief and interesting as possible, and try to include key words that people in your industry are likely to search for.

Your profile picture should be a recent head shot of good quality, and should communicate professionalism and approachability. Instead of using your smartphone to take a selfie, use a camera with social media functions, such as one of the digital cameras from Clifton Cameras. Including high-quality images, videos and audio will make your profile richer and give potential connections a better idea of your knowledge and experience.

Use the summary section to demonstrate why it would be beneficial for others to link with you by explaining what skills, interests and experience you have. Link to your Twitter and Google+ accounts – providing that you use them in a professional manner – and include your personal and business websites. It is important that you improve and update your profile as often as possible, as this will get you noticed by prospective clients, partners and employers.

Start Communicating

In order to really expand your business prospects, it is important that you interact with your LinkedIn network. A simple way to do this is to post statuses and updates, as this will make you more visible to your connections. You can also post directed statuses to make sure that your messages are reaching the right people.

Joining groups is another great way to communicate on LinkedIn, and can help you to maximise your connections by engaging with other users. Search for fields that you’re interested in and join at least ten related groups. Once you are part of a group, join in discussions and try to be helpful to those asking questions. You never know the opportunities you might gain from giving useful advice.

Make Connections

The ability to connect with potential partners, clients and employers is one of the main advantages of using LinkedIn, but it’s important to do so in a way that builds lasting professional relationships. Be a bit picky about who you connect with and consider how your connection could be mutually beneficial. If you decide not to accept a request, be professional and explain your decision in a reasonable manner. Being aggressive or rude to those who reach out to you can impact negatively on your reputation, as some users have learned the hard way.

Don’t forget to use LinkedIn to make the most of your face-to-face relationships too. When you meet a business contact in person, add them on LinkedIn as a means of developing your relationship. If there is a particular company or organisation you would like to work for, find a contact that is already in your network and ask your mutual contact to introduce you. By using LinkedIn in this way you can broaden your career prospects and maximise your business potential.

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