You’ve heard your colleagues talk about LinkedIn. You’ve heard that it is indispensable to your professional career to be on LinkedIn. So you gave it a shot, signed up, put your profile up and connected with some people you know.

Now you’re sitting back and asking yourself - “Is that all there is to this? I don’t understand. There must be more.”

There is more.

However, the most important question you need to ask yourself is: What do I want to accomplish on LinkedIn? If you only want to be on LinkedIn just to be able to say that you are on LinkedIn - Stop Here - you’ve done all you need to do. However, if you want to build your personal brand, there are other things you can do to make the most out of your LinkedIn experience.

Seek out those you know.

Who you work with: LinkedIn works well in keeping in front of the people you know and want to stay connected to professionally. In your career, you deal with people inside and outside your organization - these people are ideal to request that they Link In with you.

Who you used to work with: There are people that you used to work with that remember you in a positive light, and would happy to reconnect.

How to find them: You can:
  • import your contacts from your Microsoft Outlook email program,
  • download the Outlook Toolbar to integrate into your Outlook,
  • manually add people by searching for them, and requesting to connect,
  • look at the connections of the people you are connected to see who you know.

Who you know says a lot about you. You can read our previous blog on this topic here.

Complete your profile.

If you haven’t added all your previous work and volunteer experiences, you should. This will allow others who used to work with you to find you. There is an indicator on your profile page provided by LinkedIn that lets you know how complete your profile is. This indicator should not be less then 90%.

Join Groups.

We all have areas of interest at work. LinkedIn has thousands of groups. There most certainly are groups that may be of interest to you. You can browse around the groups, or even click on the “Groups You May Like” tab in the Groups section.

Add Applications.

There are many applications you can add to your profile page that allow you to interact with others. My favorite applications are:

  • Reading List by Amazon - allows you to share with others the books you have read, whether you like them or not, and you can review them as well. Others knowing what you are reading gives them a sense of what your interests are. Knowing what others are reading allows you to have conversations with them about their interests, or find something that might be interesting to read.
  • Slideshare - if you have presented on topics that you think others would be interested in, this tool will share your brilliance with others.
  • Events - this lets others see what events you will be attending, and allows you to see events being attended by others that might interest you too.
You can look for other applications that will allow you to enrich your profile.

Differentiate yourself.

If you want to differentiate yourself on LinkedIn and stand out in a positive way, it is highly recommended that you contribute to the conversations on LinkedIn.

You can do this by:
  • Updating your Status - this is where you ask a question, share a thought, or post an article. It allows your connections to know what you’re thinking of, and keeps you top of mind.
  • Comment on other people’s Status updates - by “Liking” someones update, or adding your comment to it, you are engaging others and adding value to them and to yourself.
  • Discuss topics of interest in your Group - sharing an article, asking a question or commenting on other people’s discussions allows you to ‘speak’ with people you are not currently connected with and share your point of view.

Continue coming back.

Setting up your LinkedIn profile and forgetting about it will not bring you value. Coming back on a regular basis to check out what is happening with your network, adding to the conversations and updating your profile for regular changes will help you get the best out of LinkedIn.

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