LinkedIn has become one of the most powerful tools on the Internet. It’s a platform that people use for networking, job searching, hiring, connecting with like-minded people, and more. LinkedIn profiles are now as relevant and common as Facebook profiles, and arguably more useful. If you’ve ever worked a job, chances are you have a LinkedIn profile.

But the LinkedIn platform can do so much more than simple job searching, hiring, and networking. You can

  • join groups based on topics you enjoy
  • follow your favorite companies for updates and deals on their products and services
  • research job leads and potential places where you might want to work
  • get endorsements or recommendations from previous colleagues
  • and you can even use it as a bonafide blogging platform platform

This is just the tip of the iceberg. LinkedIn offers plenty of other cool and interesting features that most users aren’t even aware of.

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And what a shame!

Leveraging LinkedIn and properly applying all of its power is a great way to get ahead in your career, grow your business, or even expand your group of friends and followers . Whether you are a business owner or job seeker, LinkedIn has plenty of resources to offer help you achieve your professional goals.  Taking the time to engage in these resources could help you find new clients, expand the reach of your networking efforts, or help you land you a new job.

If you’re ready to delve further into the LinkedIn experience, here are 15 tips, conveniently broken down into 3 levels, to get you started. (Motorcycle and determined Homer Simpson may not be included)

 

Level 1: Upgrade Your LinkedIn Profile (Basic User)

1. Customize Your Public Profile URL –  Besides the basics (like having a good LinkedIn summary), changing your LinkedIn profile URL is a simple (but rarely used) tip that makes it easier to stand out and make yourself easily searchable. Instead of having a URL that ends with something such as “0fsheu3isns,” have your profile’s link end with your full name. If it’s already taken, feel free to add a number on the end.

2. Include a Background Image in Your Profile – A professional profile picture is important for LinkedIn. However, it isn’t the only photo that the platform allows. In addition to your profile picture, you can also set up a background image, similar to Facebook’s timeline photos.This background image should be something that lets your personality shine. The platform is for professionals, sure, but that doesn’t mean you can’t add your own flair to your personal profile. In fact, many people welcome the unique addition to a professional network and think of you more favorably if you have a fun or edgy background image.

3. Dial in Your Profile’s SEO – Did you know that your personal LinkedIn profile is just as searchable as any website on the Internet? Yes, it’s true. However, many people treat their profile as if it was something that someone had to specifically come across in order to see. Google, Bing, and other search engines have bots that crawl over your profile and look for keywords that can help you show up in organic searches. If you’re a freelance blogger, for example, optimizing your SEO by rewriting the copy on your profile so it shows up when someone is looking for blogging services is a great way to be found.

4. Highlight Previous Work Examples – LinkedIn, in addition to allowing for text copy such as summary and qualifications, also allows people to display previous work examples. These can be almost anything you can imagine: Videos, images, documents, links, and more. In fact, you can add these examples directly to the written sections of your profile, such as your summary section, education section, or even your experience section.This allows you to really shine.

5. Customize Your Profile by Rearranging Sections – Most users accept the predetermined sections of their LinkedIn platform, but you can actually switch up the look on your page. Arranging sections allows you to draw more attention to the areas that you want to shine a spotlight on. All you have to do is click on the arrow to the right of the section and drag it to your desired location.

Level 2: Upgrade Your LinkedIn Content  (Intermediate User)

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6. Use Saved Searches-Saved searches are a great time-saver for employees and employers alike or anyone looking to benefit from their professional network. For job seekers, saved searches allow LinkedIn users to keep tabs on potential job leads, delivered right to your inbox. If a job seeker happens to find the perfect company, LinkedIn can also tell you if you have any connections that work at a certain company, which may be helpful in getting an introduction. Recruiters and freelancers can also use saved searches to keep tabs on potential candidates now and any new LinkedIn members in the future.

7. Convert Your LinkedIn Profile into a Resume –The use of resumes is changing (in part, because of LinkedIn), but they are still an important tool in a job seeker’s arsenal. LinkedIn makes it easy to regularly update your resume. All you need to do is convert your LinkedIn profile into a resume using the resume builder’s tool. With the platform’s resume builder tool (Go to “Edit Profile” and then click on “View Profile As” which you will give you the option to download your profile as a PDF.

8. Remain Active with Your Network Updates – These updates of the people in your network, influencers, and companies you choose to follow are essentially the same as Facebook’s newsfeed and live on the home page of your LinkedIn account. While it is one of the oldest features in LinkedIn, it still provides a great opportunity to find noteworthy content on your career or your business’s industry. Further, you can interact with your network and remain relevant in their minds, so that when an opportunity arises, they think of you first. (Note: It’s possible to filter your network updates by top updates or recent updates so you always get relevant information.)

9. Join LinkedIn Groups – Linkedin Groups are a great way to connect with interesting people and add them to your network.There is literally a group for everything on LinkedIn, so connect with any group that offers value and connection around your interests. As a side benefit (which even many experienced LinkedIn users don’t know about), if you’ve been a member of LinkedIn for at least 30 days and a member of a group for at least four days, the platform allows you to send 15 messages to group members per month. This helps you get around the need of having their contact info to connect with them or spending money on a Pro account so you can send Email.

10. Post Company Updates – If you run a business, it’s extremely important that you use LinkedIn to publish company status updates. Keeping a fresh supply of relevant and consistent is an important way to grow your company’s brand and reach. You can, however, even take it one step further. LinkedIn has the ability to segment your company status updates so that you can target specific updates to specific followers. You can target people based on company size, industry, job function, geography, sonority, and more. If your company is offering a discount for people in the United States, for example, you can segment your update so that it only distributes to people within the U.S.

11. Leverage LinkedIn Pulse to Track News in Your NicheLinkedIn Pulse is an amazing feature of the platform. It is a personal newsletter tailored to your particular professional interests. With LinkedIn Pulse, you can browse top posts and use the “discover more” feature to find influencers, contributors, publishers, channels, groups, and more. If you run a business, this is a great tool for staying up-to-date with your industry’s news and keep track of your competition. To make it easy, LinkedIn allows for pulse emails to be sent directly to your inbox, where you can consume the content at your leisure.

Level 3: Upgrade Your LinkedIn  Platform (Power User)

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12. Use LinkedIn Ads and Sponsored Updates – If you need to generate leads for your business, LinkedIn provides one of the best platforms to do so. LinkedIn ads are very similar to the PPC ads you’ll find on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, but the targeting options are amazing for businesses. In addition, if you already post company updates to your business’s LinkedIn profile, you can sponsor the updates and boost the posts so more people see them. This allows you to widen your company reach and attract new customers and interested users.

13. Take Advantage of Company Analytics – When you create a company page on LinkedIn, you’re given access to a company analytics tab. This area allows you to evaluate the performance of your company page, including information on status updates, engagement, reach, as well as data on your followers. Make sure you’re analyzing your LinkedIn performance! (While you’re at it, don’t forget that you can do some competitive intelligence on your competitors!)

14. Use LinkedIn CareerPages to Recruit Employees – Your company page also gives you access to a careers section where you can create and promote job openings. If you purchase a careers package, you can customize your job posting so that it stands out in a crowd and helps you attract top talent. The best way to do this is by using your company logo as a clickable button to learn more about the job. This logo as a call-to-action is an effective way to have people click and dive deeper into your posting.The careers package gives you access to analytics regarding your job posting, such as who’s viewing the post, where they’re coming from, and more.

15. Publish Content on LinkedIn – Whether you’re a business or an individual, one of the best ways to grow your brand is through published content. But what if you don’t have a blog or you don’t want to create one? Well, LinkedIn is here to help! As of 2014, LinkedIn now allows for people from anyone with a LinkedIn account publish blog posts directly to their profile or company page. This is the number one way to stand out on LinkedIn. Make sure that above all else you’re doing at least this. Original content can create some amazing opportunities.

Hopefully, one (or more these tips) can provide a little insight into some ways that you can refine and optimize your LinkedIn experience, whether you are a business, job seeker, recruiter, or just want to grow your professional network. Most of the tips can be completed immediately, so if you find a tip that seems interesting, dive back into your LinkedIn!

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