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LinkedIn 101: Putting the Working Professional’s Site to Work for You

If you’re a professional in the working world, chances are you’ve got an account on LinkedIn. If that’s the case, it’s time to learn how to put this social networking tool to work for you. There are all kinds of unique features on the site that you should take advantage of to get ahead professionally. Some of the strategies you should start implementing include:

1.    Using the Contacts Page to Stay in Touch

Like a command center, you monitor all of your connections on your contacts page. This is also where you see tags and alerts. Alerts, which let you know when one of your connections has a work anniversary, career change or a birthday, will show up in boxes above the rest of the page. Take note of these alerts when you see them, and send the person a brief note to congratulate them on their achievement.

As you scroll further down your contacts page, you’ll see a list of all your contacts. Hovering above a profile gives you the option to send that person a message, add them to a tag (with tagging, you can organize your contacts into lists), hide their profile, or delete them as a contact altogether.

2.    Making Media a Part of Your Profile Along with Your Notes About Others

In today’s competitive marketplace, having a decent headshot on your LinkedIn profile just isn’t enough to cut it anymore. Sharing videos, images, PDF files, and SlideShare presentations can be a very effective way to upgrade your profile. If there was ever a question as to whether media really matters, perhaps it will interest you to know that more than 10 million presentations, videos and pictures have been incorporated into LinkedIn profiles already.

Media is also important to keep in mind when it comes to your contacts’ page. Here, you’ll find a relationship tab that displays a timeline beginning with the date you first connected and began an association with them. You’ll also be able to see a record of conversations you’ve had with that person on LinkedIn. Use this section to write your own notes, document how you became acquainted with them, and give that person a tag. One of the greatest things about this feature is that the person won’t be able to see any of the information you record here, all of it is for your own purposes.

3.    Monitoring Your Messages

In your inbox, you’ll see new messages that you’ve received, messages that you’ve sent and invitations you’ve received. For example, say you’re planning a party and you need to contact the attendees about party supplies. When you go to send a message, you have two options to choose from. You can opt to send a message by using the compose button — just type in the name of the designated message recipient. Or, you can select the recipients for your message through your contacts page. If you’re sending a message to a large group of people — LinkedIn lets you contact a maximum of 50 people at once — using the contacts page is a much better option

4.    Engaging in Groups

If you want to make new connections within your field and build your reputation as a thought leader, you should be participating in LinkedIn groups. When you search for groups that you might want to join, consider the discussions and who the biggest contributors to these discussions are. Look for people who you’d be interested in meeting. Contributors are evaluated on a daily basis; those who post and comment regularly experience a raised standing.

Once you’re part of a group, you can see your status right below the box for the Top Contributors. Here you can track all the discussions you’ve initiated along with discussions that you’re currently involved in. Interested in finding your name in the Top Contributors Box? Then you should be making a consistent effort to post frequently and offer content with relevance to the group’s interests.

In order to get the most out of your LinkedIn account, it’s essential to know about and take advantage of the great functions the site offers. Start using the strategies listed above today, and you’ll be “linking up” with people — and networking like a pro — in no time!

Savannah MarieSavannah Marie is a social media junkie, online marketing wizard and consultant for SEOcompanyGo. Catch up with her on Twitter and Google+

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