Submitted by: Mike Lemons, MBA, CCC Volunteer Career Coach


Not that long ago “networking” meant going to events and exchanging business cards. While in-person networking still happens today, the social networking site LinkedIn has emerged as a crucial tool for anyone wanting to grow his or her professional network.

Whether you want to use LinkedIn to stay connected to grow your professional network, get job leads, expand your thought leadership or build your personal brand, follow the five tips below to make the most of your time on LinkedIn.

To start, like it or not, if you are looking for a job your LinkedIn profile is your resume. Rest assured that recruiters will view your profile before they talk to you. Use the opportunity to showcase your experiences and boost your profile by doing these things:

1. Make sure your profile picture is the best it can be by investing in a professional headshot. This is important because a good headshot helps convey confidence and composure. It is well worth the price!

2. Update your work experience. A dry recitation of work history, degrees and dates may be factually accurate but does not convey your successes. Include specific accomplishments at each role that are as tangible and metric-based as possible. Something like “Drove sales X% over a target of $X across a period of X in a cross-functional team environment” is much stronger than “Achieved sales targets.”

3. Once you have updated your profile picture and work experience, you are ready to use one of the most powerful LinkedIn features - Recommendations. They help others see your value from a perspective other than your own, and they can help boost your confidence. After all, recommendations are the Yelp for You!


Another important aspect of LinkedIn is community. Remember that growing your network is like growing any other community – it requires time, attention and effort. What you put into it is what you get out of it. To use LinkedIn to its fullest you need to be active, which means you are actively engaged in the LinkedIn community by participating in discussions, mentorship, posting and more.

4. Participate in discussions in industry trade groups and other special interest groups on LinkedIn. Ask questions in the groups and respond to group questions. Even seek-out best practices from other members.

5. Get involved in the mentorship program on LinkedIn. The network will pair you with members that are asking for mentorship in your work area. It can really help someone shape his or her career and it feels good to give back. It’s a win-win!


We hope these tips help you get the most LinkedIn! If you have not checked-out our other job search resources, please visit our website today at

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