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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.

Free LinkedIn account holders can purchase up 10 InMail messages per month, but they're expensive at $10 each. Premium account holders can send between 10 and 50 InMail messages per month as part of their subscription; they can also buy up to 10 additional messages per month. InMail messages are useful in that they present opportunities to connect directly with top influencers. They're also somewhat risk-free, because LinkedIn will give you an InMail credit for any message that doesn't receive a response within seven days. The upside of InMail messages' high price is that people use them judiciously.

Visibility regarding who's looking at your profile: With a free account, you can see some information about who's checking out your profile. Go to your LinkedIn homepage and look for the box on the right side labeled 'Who's Viewed Your Profile?' Click it, and you can see a few of the people who viewed your profile within the past several days.

As a premium subscriber, you can see everyone who has viewed your profile--or at least everyone who lets themselves be seen. Besides satiating your burning curiosity about who has been stalking you online, knowing who is interested in your profile could open your eyes to new job opportunities. If you're a recruiter, you might discover a prospect that didn't surface in your other searches.

If you'd prefer not to tip your hand this way, you can change your settings to remain anonymous. Hover your mouse pointer over your username and choose Settings from the drop-down menu. Provide your account password. You'll find your privacy settings in the middle of the lower half of the screen. Click Select what others see when you've viewed their profile, and you can then choose to show your name and headline (your title and employer, by default); show anonymous profile characteristics, such as industry and title; or stay anonymous if you don't want to leave any evidence at all.

Advanced search: Premium account members are entitled to better search functions, including the ability to search by company size and seniority level. This is a great feature for recruiters looking to fill jobs at certain levels, or for researchers seeking experts in particular fields. Lifetime Television senior producer Carri Levy found experts for her TV series Behind the Mystery: Rare & Genetic Diseases by using LinkedIn's seniority and function search features.

Do you need a premium account?

Most LinkedIn users--even the newly minted power users who just finished this article--will be fine with a free account. If you're engaged in a job hunt, you might find it worthwhile to subscribe for a month or two to take advantage of the extra tools available to Premium subscribers. That's much less expensive than signing up for a full year of service that you might not need.

Do you have any LinkedIn tips you'd like to share? Hit the comments section below and help us all out!


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