Are you in the market for a new job? If you are, you will find LinkedIn to be an essential tool for job searching and connecting with other individuals in your profession. LinkedIn was founded in 2003 and as you know, it is a social network for individuals in professional occupations. You should never have the “set it and forget it” philosophy (creating a page and then letting it be) if you want to use LinkedIn’s services to your advantage in the job search process. Here are 6 tips to running a successful account on LinkedIn that will help you maximize your efforts on the site:

1)  Never hesitate to endorse former coworkers, clients and bosses

As employers screen potential applicants on LinkedIn, the quantity of endorsements on your LinkedIn page can sometimes be the deciding factor as to whether or not you get a phone call for that coveted interview. There is no better way to encourage others to leave endorsements on your page then to leave endorsements on their page! So go ahead, make someone’s day by letting them know what strengths they have on the job.

2) Connect with Friends

Create a LinkedIn profile, and begin connecting with your friends, classmates, colleagues, co-workers, business partners, both past and present, and others—even strangers—who would serve as beneficial connections. LinkedIn offers a great way to reconnect and begin fresh connections.

Some tips:

a) Download your email address book so that LinkedIn can find your friends who are already using the site.

b) Use the “Find Colleagues and Find Classmates” functions to find people you know from school and past jobs; and

c) Encourage friends who aren’t already LinkedIn users to join the network—you’ll be helping them get connected at the same time you grow your own network.

3) Don’t become an invitation spammer

It’s tempting to start sending “connect to me” invitations to every John, Steve, and William you find on LinkedIn. I would advise against this! If you want to reach out to someone whom you’ve spotted because he/she has an enticing profile, send that person a contact request rather than an invitation to join your network. Your contact request could say something like, “I’ve already viewed your LinkedIn profile and thought you would be a great connection because you work for (insert company) and are in expert in (insert expertise) and I’d like to know more about your expertise.”

4) Rarely make assumptions.

Do not indicate to potential connections that you expect them to link up with you. Just because you served on the same committee or because your cousins are best friends doesn’t guarantee a connection. Don’t be offended if people forget where they met you. It can be embarrassing for them, so you may want to extend a professional courtesy by including a subtle reminder when you send the invitation to connect, such as, “I’m happy to see you on LinkedIn and I’d like to connect with you. Several years ago, we attended a dinner party for the ….”

5) Keep Your Profile Current

Be sure to keep your profile current. It’s only fair because you expect others’ profiles to be current, too (hence the reason for connecting on LinkedIn). If you change jobs, then update your LinkedIn profile. Some people may request to connect with you because you work for a specific employer. If you continue your education and earn a higher-level degree or even if you learn a new skill, update your profile.

6) Regularly Post Industry Related Updates

Employers don’t know you (yet). A simple way to show that you care about your craft and that you are regularly sharpening the saw is to post articles that you read on a regular basis. In the school system, who do you think the teacher is going to me a little more lenient with the grading on… a student who goofs off after class or a student that is regularly reading the text book and studying it on a daily basis. You guessed it. The same thought is used in the workforce. You want to show you care about what you do for a living? Prove it.

About the Author Scott Redgate is a marketer, specializing in online sales and lead generation sites. Recently he has been working to leverage his knowledge about career services and resumes by writing articles similar to the one you just enjoyed.

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