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Make LinkedIn Work For You

Put your best foot forward with a complete profile. Fill out your profile like it’s an executive bio—include past companies, education, affiliations and activities. Descriptions of roles, responsibilities and accomplishments dramatically improve your appearance in search results. By filling out past companies and educational details you increase the likelihood of being found by former co-workers and alums.

Build your network before you need it. Networking done well is about an exchange of value. Connections are one of the most important aspects of your brand—the company you keep is a reflection of you. Generally, you need about 30-plus connections to start seeing the value of LinkedIn. The quickest way to build your network is to import your address book from Outlook or your webmail account and see who you know on LinkedIn.

Give before you ask. If you find ways to help other people achieve their goals, the laws of reciprocity will work in your favor. LinkedIn helps you maintain your relationships by giving you a way to reach out and help your network when they are asking for advice, hiring or looking for experts.

Create a “professional permalink” and control your Google search. LinkedIn is one of the few ways you can influence what people find when they Google your name. To make your information available for search engines to index, create a public profile and select “Full View.” Customize your public profile’s URL to be your actual name. (Mine is Add your URL to your business card, website, email signature and anywhere else you may want to provide people with more information about you.

Use your network to get advice and solve problems. Next time you have a problem or just want advice, ask a question on LinkedIn Answers. These questions get broadcast to your network and the LinkedIn network of more than 22 million professionals, allowing you to tap into the collective knowledge worldwide. Ask for service provider recommendations, advice on what conferences are worth attending and questions on subjects you need information about.

Who knows you?

You may know a ton of people, but if the right people don’t know you, you are missing out on opportunities. When building your career, who you know often takes second place to who knows you . Make yourself known. Increase your overall visibility and your digital identity so decision makers can find you, and identify the people whose radar you’d like to be on. –Women For Hire

Own your name: Go to a domain registry like,, or to register your first and last name, followed preferably by dot com. If it’s already taken, try adding a middle initial or name.

Post a professional summary that outlines your key credentials. Ideally go a step further to showcase your best work. Add a smart blog on your area of expertise and now you’re really establishing yourself as a woman of substance. Commit to updating it regularly. It’s a turn-off to visitors when the last entry was months ago.

Expand your online network: In addition to using LinkedIn, check out Zoominfo, Facebook and even Myspace depending on your field. Find at least one industry-specific group within your field and join its online social network too. Identify the most popular blogs that are read by industry executives. Submit original entries and post intelligent comments that demonstrate your perspective on hot button issues. Offer to write content for newsletters and online publications that reach an influential audience. This gets your name noticed.

Reach back: When you spot great content, send a note to the writer offering your feedback. Everyone wants to know that someone’s reading their stuff. Take the initiative to let thought leaders know who you are and what you’re interested in.