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How to become a LinkedIn power user in five easy steps

Sarah Jacobsson Purewal | April 8, 2013
Use our guide to squeeze maximum value from the career networking service.

You might also want to edit your peer-endorsed Skills & Expertise section. While you're in Edit Profile mode, scroll down to that section, click the pencil icon, and add or remove areas of expertise and manage your endorsements. If you're on the market for a new job, this is a great place to add skills that hiring managers will be seeking.


Don't underestimate the value of cataloging your skills and expertise.

Your profile is a living résumé, so keeping it up-to-date is critical. Add a reminder to your online calendar prompting you to review your profile every month. You should also update your profile every time you undergo a major work shift, whether it's earning a promotion, moving to a new job, or changing careers. Tout your new work experience, revise your summary (which is one of the first things people see), and don't forget to update your contact information. In fact, if you're logged in to your account, click that button now--it's in the right corner of the first profile box, beneath your number of connections--just to make sure the information displayed there is current. To edit your contact information, go to Profile > Edit Profile > Edit Contact Info.

A job move or a promotion is one of the best times to tap current and former bosses, clients, coworkers, and other people you know--and who know your track record--for endorsements and recommendations, according to Jessica Bedford, a recruiter and account manager at Artisan Creative. "Make sure you really know the person, and be specific about what you want them to share," she advises.

Step 2: Get connected--and stay connected

LinkedIn's most valuable feature is its ability to connect you with other professionals. Whether they're people you work with now or worked with years ago, met at a trade show, collaborated with, or did business with, your relationships can be highly and mutually beneficial--but only if you stay in touch with each other.

LinkedIn has a service that will scour your email contacts to find potential connections. To use it, go to Contacts > Add Connections. Select your email provider and enter your email address in the designated field. Once the service finds all of your contacts who have LinkedIn accounts, it will ask which ones you want to connect to. This can be a lot of people, especially if your email service is like Gmail and adds every person to whom you've ever sent an email to your contact database. Don't just hit Select All--you probably don't need to add your tech-savvy grandmother or the guy who bought the couch you advertised on Craigslist. Spend a little quality time choosing the people who will form your network.

 

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