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LinkedIn is the premier business networking site for job seekers and professionals at all levels. There are some things newbies need to know about LinkedIn, though, before it will be valuable tool for their job search, networking strategy, and overall career growth.

In fact, whatever you're using LinkedIn for, you should follow these 10 tips.

1. Add A Photo

What do you think on LinkedIn if you see someone without a photo? Well, you might think that they're not a very experienced or serious LinkedIn user, and you probably wouldn't want them in your network for this reason. You might even get the impression that they've got something to hide. Either way, there is nothing good about not having a photo.

You want to seem approachable and professional on LinkedIn. You want to give the impression that you are active and invested in your career and an expert in your field—someone people would want to network with. Not having a photo automatically turns others off from your profile. So, don't skip it!

2. Join Groups

Man joins groups on LinkedIn

Groups are how you get things done on LinkedIn. They're how you build credibility and expand your network as a professional. If you're also creating content on LinkedIn, groups allow you to distribute that content in a more efficient and targeted way.

By joining groups, people can get to know you and your business. Join as many groups as you can manage, keeping in mind you'll have to be an active member in them to benefit and be seen as a valuable connection. Think about your skills, interests, and expertise and find groups that will help you achieve your career and business goals.

3. Post Discussions In Groups

Woman posts discussions in LinkedIn groups

What's the use of belonging to groups if you're not out there as an influencer? None, really. Don't be a vapid bystander. Participate! Post discussions in your groups on a regular basis. But, be careful. Make the discussion to be something of actual interest to the group.

Posting a link to your website to sell something will just make people avoid you like the plague. Post articles (that aren't self-serving), announcements, real events (not promoting or selling your product or service), requests for real advice, and discussions about a topic relevant to the group. Again, no selling!

4. Participate In Threads

Man participates in threads on LinkedIn

If you're just a poster and not a participant, it will become clear you are just in it to promote yourself, rather than be a fully participating member of the LinkedIn community.

Participate in threads with useful remarks. Again, no selling! And no "trolling," either! If you must make political comments, be polite. Don't attack people. Be civil and professional. Remember, your entire network can see what you post, like, share, and comment. This includes employers, hiring managers, and recruiters. Think about how you might be perceived as a professional before you post something to avoid hurting your career and job prospects.

If you participate in threads, follow the same rules as above. Be useful, not self-promoting.

5. Let It Be Known You're An Open Networker

Woman networks on LinkedIn

There are two philosophies on LinkedIn. One is more effective than the other. The first is you only connect with people you know well. That is LinkedIn's official philosophy, although they really speak with a forked tongue on this one. This will keep your connections pretty low, and it will not build your network. The other philosophy is to accept all or almost all connection requests, at least from individuals with a photo and enough information on their profiles to ensure it isn't fake. The second philosophy will build your network much more rapidly.

Here's the deal. You may have no interest in networking with the individual who invites you. But you might have an interest in someone in his or her network. Connecting gives you access to that network. The more connections, the more likely it is that someone you want to meet will be "in network." This makes your life on LinkedIn much easier.

LinkedIn is a very large networking party. Now, at a networking party you don't just go up to people you know and talk to them. Or, if you do, you're a lousy networker. You have an opportunity to meet very interesting and dynamic people on LinkedIn. So, connect and be an open networker!

6. Get Recommendations...Lots Of Them

Man gets recommendations for his LinkedIn profile

Recommendations are essential to your LinkedIn profile. Seek them proactively and seek them passively.

Proactive recommendation seeking involves reaching out and asking someone to recommend you. Passive recommendation seeking involves recommending someone, at which point LinkedIn asks them to recommend you back. The latter is actually a bit more effective.

Having recommendations on your LinkedIn profile makes you so much more attractive to recruiters and hiring managers. If other people are recommending you for the service you provide as a business-of-one, you must be an incredibly valuable employee, someone who could help a company reach their goals. Make that impression with lots of recommendations on your LinkedIn profile.

7. Accept Everyone, But Invite Strategically

Woman thinks about accepting an invite on LinkedIn

What are you trying to accomplish? Are you trying to build your business in a particular city? Then invite people from that city for the most part. Are you trying to go international? Make sure you invite people who can help you internationally.

Don't just invite everyone who pops up on "people you may know." Invite to build your network the way you want to build it.

8. Diversify Your Contacts

Man looks at his LinkedIn profile

As stated above, don't just connect with people you know on LinkedIn. Also, don't just connect with people in your industry. Invite people who have similar goals, interests, and career paths. Invite people who fascinate you and have really cool insights on topics that are relevant to your career.

The more diverse your network, the easier it will be to find a job and network your way into a company.

9. Use Your Network

Woman reaches out to her network on LinkedIn

If you have a question that needs answering, ask your network. If you have something stupendous, share it with your network. Whatever you do, make sure you're providing value to your network, and they will happily return the favor.

By actively engaging with your network and providing consistent value as a connection, no one will bat an eye when you ask for help with something. A strong network is all about equal give and take!

10. Update Regularly

Man updates his LinkedIn profile

If you go to your home screen, you can see a place to update your network. Use it frequently. This is like a tweet or Facebook post, but it goes to your LinkedIn network instead.

In addition to updating your network about any major career developments or sharing articles you found interesting, update your profile frequently. Your job responsibilities are changing and you are accomplishing new things at work all the time. Don't keep the same stuff in your profile. Update, update, update!


When you create a LinkedIn profile, you need to follow the 10 tips above if you want LinkedIn to be an effective job search tool, one that will also help you build your network and grow your career. Get started today and see how much of a difference being an active member makes in your job search!


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This post was originally published at an earlier date.

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