Using your time on LinkedIn well starts with what you want to accomplish and who you want to reach, which I explore in my post, To Make Your LinkedIn Impact, Start with Why. Here are pragmatic tips to maximize your profile and get the most out of LinkedIn once you know your goals and audience.

Does your profile match what your ideal audience will search for? Does your profile position you with the right keywords and accomplishments to appeal to the right people in the way you want to be viewed?

Use your headline as your personal brand and emphasize concise highlights of your results and impact in your summary and the rest of your profile.

A professional photo shows who you are. Don’t skip a photo or use a less than polished photo. In addition to a profile photo, you can also use a banner photo that reflects your business or personal brand.

Highlight your accomplishments and expertise throughout your profile. Complete your profile sections such as education, certifications, honors and awards, volunteer roles, projects, and interests to reinforce your expertise while also showing that you are a well-rounded person.

Regularly share useful information related to the expertise you want to showcase, such as links to insightful articles, data, or research. Give an update about an important project you completed or that you are giving a presentation at an upcoming conference. Publish an occasional article using LinkedIn’s publishing function.

Test using live video to share your expertise, give behind the scenes look at your organization, or provide updates from a conference or professional trip.

If you’re job hunting or exploring, set up job posting search parameters and indicate that you’re open to sharing your profile with recruiters.

Search for your ideal connections and set outreach goals regularly. After thinking through who you most want to connect with as specifically as possible such as job title, organization, interests, and specialties, make a goal to reach out to at least 3 to 5 people a month. Enter an organization you’re interested in the search bar, select the organization’s name from the search results, then click on “See all XXX employees on LinkedIn.”

Congratulate connections on work anniversaries, new positions or wish them a happy birthday. Like or comment on posts they make that interest you.

Combine the Power of LinkedIn with In-Person Networking. It’s easy to get caught up in the many features of LinkedIn and the simplicity and ease of online and email outreach, but it’s at its most powerful when you combine it with in-person networking. Send periodic personalized emails to colleagues whether valued friends you’ve known for years or new contacts you want to cultivate and occasionally invite people for coffee or to join you at an industry event or to hear an interesting speaker.

Stay up to date on the latest LinkedIn changes and approaches by connecting with social media strategists/consultants. My favorite sources for LinkedIn news are experts Melonie Dodaro with Top Dog Social Media, Viveka von Rosen with Vengreso (@LinkedInExpert on Twitter), and Social Media Examiner.

Nurturing your professional network on an ongoing basis is so important yet easy to put aside amidst endless daily tasks. LinkedIn gives you an invaluable tool to make it easier.


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