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How to Use LinkedIn Powerfully: 10 Tips to Know

LinkedIn is a powerful tool for making business connections—but it is just that, a tool. Even the most active users miss on some simple ways to optimize the way they use LinkedIn.  This was true for me—I recently attended a seminar on LinkedIn by Colleen McKenna, and learned a few ways to kick my LinkedIn presence up a notch.

Now, I'm not going to give away Colleen's secret sauce (you'll have to head to one of her seminars for that) but below are a few tips from both my experience and Colleen's talk on how to make the most of your LinkedIn presence.

1. Think about your goals. Why are you on LinkedIn? To find new employees, partners, and contractors? To be found? A mix? Your goals should drive your entire presence.

2. Post a picture. Please. Of your face. You should have a professional looking headshot as your LinkedIn photo so people can put a name to a face.  If you’re uncomfortable with recruiters or prospective clients seeing your picture next to your professional credentials (a valid concern), you can change your privacy settings so only your connections can see your photo.

3. Use LinkedIn to remember names. LinkedIn can help you with offline networking too—simply checking out someone's profile after meeting them at a networking event, even if you don't connect, can help you remember their name and what they do. This is another reason why having a picture is important—it will help people remember you.

4. Make the most of your headline. Colleen really stressed this one—your headline does not have to be your job title alone. Job seekers, use "Talented [Your Profession] Seeking New Opportunity" not "Unemployed." Students, use "Aspiring [Your Profession] Seeking Internship." not "Student at [Your University]." Keep it concise, but make sure it communicates what you do and what your skills are. Here's mine:

5. Post statuses. Updating your status gives you visibility on your connections’ LinkedIn home page. If you have found something online your business connections would like, or have good news to share about your work, spread the word by posting it on LinkedIn.

6. Write a rich but concise summary. Your summary should be about you, not your company—don't just copy and paste the "about" page of your employer's website. Your profile should be about what you do at your company, not what the company does as a whole. Tip: use concrete details like results you have generated and tasks you do on a daily basis to show people how awesome you are, not tell them.

7. Explore LinkedIn applications. Colleen encouraged us all to add Amazon’s Reading List application to our LinkedIn profiles. I was skeptical—I wasn’t sure how the fiction I love would be relevant to my professional connections. However, Colleen got more comments on this list, she said, than anything else in her profile. Sure enough, a few hours after I added Reading List to my profile, in came a message from a connection. She had written her senior thesis on Steinbeck and wanted to know what I thought of East of Eden. If you’re not a big book person, you can still enrich your profile with apps like Slideshare for presentations, Wordpress for blog posts, and any number of others (the directory is here).

8. Add sections to your profile. LinkedIn offers several sections beyond the standards so users can showcase volunteer experience, projects, foreign languages, even test scores. This is especially helpful for young networkers who may not have extensive work experience, but adding more sections can add weight to any profile.

9. Connect with care. Your LinkedIn network is only as valuable as the strength of your connections.  For some professionals—like recruiters or salespeople—it is advantageous to connect generously, but personally, I favor being a tad picky. I'd like to think I could recommend—or at least answer questions about—anyone I am connected to on LinkedIn. If you  want to connect with someone and think it might be a stretch, be sure to personalize the message you send with the invite to explain why you want to connect—and why this person should want to connect with you.

10. Join and participate in groups. Some groups are full of spam, but others are generally valuable. For example, in the marketing industry, the Marketing Director Support Group is a great place to get and give advice. Do a little research, think back to your goals, and you’ll likely find a group that will help you reach them. If you can’t find a group, just start one! 

Did you find anything new in this LinkedIn advice? Have anything to add? I’d love to hear from you in the comments. 

Original article

Join The Conversation

  • tracycgold's picture
    Apr 18 Posted 4 years ago tracycgold

    Hi Leah, I haven't needed to upgrade, but it can be useful to send Inmails if you're not connected to people you'd like to reach. 

  • Apr 3 Posted 4 years ago Beth Jackson
    Another way you can promote yourself is to have more connections. Obviously, the more people you are connected to, the more doorways that will open up your profile to be found by others. This article helps give some additional useful information about buying Linkedin connections and why it may value your profile to add connections: https://www.socialfatboy.com/3-reasons-why-you-need-to-buy-linkedin-connections/
  • Oct 18 Posted 4 years ago leah.r.black

     I am new to linkedin, actually never heard of it till I asked my little brother for help me create a website for my company I am currently starting. I am realizing quickly that linkedIn can be a very powerful companion,  helping you in many different aspects of either creating a business, expanding a business and/or for new ideas on how to continue your business-career. I am always skeptical of buying into a website, money is very tight and I can handle the advertisments, also the scams or so good these days I'm not always sure if my "Upgrade" is asked from the actual site or someone hacking, looking to ripoff someone else's hard work. My questions are, Is it worth to upgrade from the "Free" package to something else (I am starting a healthcare consulting company)? Where can I find seminars around 44124 regarding LinkedIn?

  • Kelsey Arnold's picture
  • Courtney Hunt's picture
    Sep 12 Posted 4 years ago Courtney Hunt

    @Robin - Indefatigable, huh? I'll take that as a compliment! : ) - Courtney

  • tracycgold's picture
    Sep 12 Posted 4 years ago tracycgold

    Great, thanks Robin!

  • Robin Carey's picture
    Sep 12 Posted 4 years ago Robin Carey

    Yes, as always, but just responding now.  As soon as the archive is up (today I think) you can download the convo.  Just got to "best thinking" on the nav bar above and scan the archive.

  • tracycgold's picture
    Sep 10 Posted 4 years ago tracycgold

    Thanks Robin, and Courtney! I'm sure the webinar will be great! Can we download after if we register now?

  • Robin Carey's picture
    Sep 10 Posted 4 years ago Robin Carey

    Great conversation and kudos to Tracy for getting it started.  Many thanks to the indefatigable Courtney Hunt, as well.   For more on LinkedIn, please join us tomorrow for our webinar with Neal Schaeffer, Chuck Hester, and Viveka Van Rosen.  Here's the link: http://socialmediatoday.com/linkedin-value

  • Courtney Hunt's picture
    Apr 1 Posted 5 years ago Courtney Hunt

    I've written two "how to" posts on LI profiles that have been pretty popular and well received. Here are links to each:

    Not all of my advice agrees with the above, which demonstrates that there is no "one best way." At their core, though, all the best recommendations reinforce the need to keep the focus on your professional brand and to have your decisions and actions be guided by your goals and objectives.

  • Mar 29 Posted 5 years ago Jerry Jodice

    Great ideas, Tracy. I'll throw in one more:

    As a Creative Services provider I used to maintain a fairly elaborate portfolio website where potential clients could see samples of my work as well as an extensive list of clients I'd done business with over the years. But keeping it up was a chore, and there's nothing worse than a professional's website that hasn't been updated in ages.

    So I took it down and had my domain -- http://JerryJodice.com -- forwarded to my LinkedIn profile page (keeping the domain name showing in the address bar). That allowed me to keep a unique web address on my business cards and email signature without having to maintain a separate website, while still letting potential (and current) clients see my experience and skillset as well as some of my current work.

    The upshot? A professional web presence with a minimum of upkeep by piggy-backing on the LinkedIn platform. And if you Google me today, guess what comes up in the top position? My Creative Services "site" name leading to my LinkedIn page. For me, for now, that's all I need.

  • tracycgold's picture
    Mar 29 Posted 5 years ago tracycgold

    A great example of a different goal that LinkedIn is a fantastic tool to help you reach. Thanks for stopping by and commenting! 

  • tracycgold's picture
    Mar 29 Posted 5 years ago tracycgold



    You're absolutely right--giving, and not just asking for, recommendations is key. I'd love to see a post about navigating the waters of when (and when not) to ask for recommendations. Up for the job? (: 


  • Mar 29 Posted 5 years ago Stephen Shooster

    I think we need to make room in the top 10 list for one of my favorite aspects of LinkedIn.

    Recommendations - writing something about your friend or associate so they can post it on their profile has multiple values not to be overlooked.

    1. Writing something nice about others will make you feel great. And when they read what you write, they will smile too.

    2. There is no other public place on the web where you can make public glowing statements, except possibly a eulogy.

    3. Writing, albeit thinking positive thoughts about your peers and associates reflects very well on others.

    4. The things you share about your peers can be insightful upon both parties.

    5. Recommendations build links, making it easy to click back to the writer.

    I could go on and on. Needless to say I take and take time whenever I'm reflective about my peers and associates to write something ageless and well meaning. The creative writing exercise, combined with knowing they will be intiguiged and happy to read what I wrote about them, makes it more rewarding. 

    In fact, this belongs in the top 5.




  • Mar 28 Posted 5 years ago sljones

    Since I blog as an expert on new and emerging careers for Career Thought Leaders, I use LinkedIn to identify connections who may be good to quote due to their job title, employer, or industry expertise.

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