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Juliet McEwen Johnson
Of all the popular social media sites right now, LinkedIn is the one most purely focused on business. It was first set up as a way to billboard your resume; it remains the best way for professionals to find jobs and employers to find their next employees. So, when you come to LinkedIn imagine you have put on your best business suit and act accordingly.
When you first sign up you will want to get your name registered in your profile URL and then you should use as many of your target keywords as possible – in your one line description, in your experience listings and in your special skills section.
Go looking for coworkers in past jobs and ask for recommendations from each of them. It is often easier to write one for them first and then ask for something in return. The social media culture has long been based on reciprocity, and with recommendations, this can work nicely on LinkedIn. Actually, LinkedIn will help you find those people, once you have entered your work experience. The site will offer you who else has identified that company on their experience list and invite you to connect with them.
While you will want to connect with as many people as you know, you will want to be strategic about how you link up with new people. You do not want to necessarily connect with your competition as once you have, they then have access to everyone that you know, and can watch up close, how you interact with them. You can always follow someone without connecting with them.
Check out the Answers section on a regular basis. If a question arises for which you know the answer, then answer it as fully as you can. Then add a little personal note at the end of the answer that only the question-asker can see, inviting them to connect with you and follow up if you can help them further. This not only builds goodwill, but increases your reach (your network) with people that need you. You never know which one of those folks will turn out to be a client for you in the future.
While it may appear to be the most dry of all the social networks, the least visual and fun, LinkedIn for business is a great tool.
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