1. Jazz Up a Boring Headline
The headline appears directly under your name in LinkedIn and shows up whenever your profile comes up in search. Does it say something that will make someone want to click through to learn more about you? If it is a job title, it's not likely to be very compelling. Consider your headline an opportunity to pitch your unique value proposition – what is special about you – to anyone who comes across your profile. Include keywords that people will use when they search for someone like you as well as a promise of something you will do for them. For example: Leadership Development Management Consultant: Build effective work culture and accelerate employee performance.
Be sure you choose words for your headline that people will type into the search bar when they are looking for someone like you. When you incorporate a promise or a pitch, you'll be a step ahead of the competition.
2. Connect with Alumni
LinkedIn's most successful users engage and interact with colleagues and mine new contacts. One great tool is under the "Network" tab: Find Alumni. Click through and you'll be able to find information about alumni of your schools. You can see "where they work," "what they do" and "where they live." It's a great opportunity to easily find and connect with people who share your alma mater.
3. See Who's Viewed Your Profile
Under the "Profile" tab, scroll to "Who's Viewed Your Profile." Even with a free account, you can see the last several people who clicked through to your profile. If they allow you to identify them (some people are anonymous), you can ask them to connect with you or reach out to offer to network with them. Keep an eye on this tab and you may wind up connecting with someone who can make a big difference in your career.
4. Choose Your Groups
Maybe you joined some groups, but you aren't actively involved. Or, perhaps you're trying to decide which groups to join so you can be more productive? Did you know you can learn about groups before you join them, or check out some stats to decide if you should be active? Click into the group you want to investigate. Then, select the I (it's on the right side of the toolbar in the Group). You'll see another toolbar pop up below with information about the group, including "Group Statistics." You can learn what type of people are members, where they live and how active the group is based on discussions and jobs posted.
Once you pick the right groups for you and prioritize the ones best suited to your needs, you'll want to be active and post discussions and updates in your favorite groups. Also, be sure to request notifications from groups so you're aware when someone posted something you'll want to see and be able to respond.
Keep in mind...
Once you have a firm handle on how to use LinkedIn, don't miss the opportunity to use other social media tools -- including Twitter and Google+ to land a job.
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