Having a strong LinkedIn profile won’t help you as much as you would like if you fail to take steps to find connections and to increase the odds of them finding you. Here are six ways to use LinkedIn features to improve your network:
Search Email Contacts
LinkedIn enables you to search through your email contacts to determine which of them are on LinkedIn. The search defaults to the default email address LinkedIn has for you. But you may use other email addresses, both web-based and desktop-based, to find potential contacts.
Find Past or Present Colleagues
LinkedIn tells you how many colleagues from each of your current and former positions listed on your profile are on LinkedIn, up to a maximum of 50. You can view the whole list of names along with how many shared connections you have. You can then view individual profiles as well as what connections you have in common.
Find Past or Present Classmates
Setup is similar to finding colleagues, but with some schools leaving you with potentially thousands of classmates, LinkedIn provides filters to narrow your search. The filters are in three categories – where they live, where they work and what they do. The choices for each filter are in descending order of how many classmates fit that description. Choices for where the live are either greater metropolitan areas or countries. Choices for where they work are often individual companies, but could also be an educational institution, nonprofit or something in government. Choices for what they do are general job classifications such as “information technology.”
Join Industry Groups
If you join a LinkedIn group geared toward your industry, you will be able to connect with group members by participating in online group discussions and starting your own discussions with the group. You can also post comments or create a poll. LinkedIn also has a jobs button on the group page for members to share job postings.
Become a LinkedIn “Expert”
LinkedIn’s “answers” pages allows you and members of your network and 2nd and 3rd degree contacts to post questions and answer questions that have been previously posted. You can browse through questions to find topics with which you have knowledge. The best answers earn “expertise” and LinkedIn will feature experts on the answers home page and in each question category.
Add Skills to Your Profile
In the “Skills and Expertise” section, LinkedIn will create a list of skills and expertise based on what is already in your profile. Adding these traits to your profile via this section will enable your profile to come up when others search on these skills and expertise.