How to Make LinkedIn Work for You

Work + Money

Wendy Brache, Co-creator,

By Wendy Brache

Recently, you’ve begun to pay more attention to your online presence.  You’ve Googled yourself.   You’ve joined LinkedIn.  You may have even started your own blog.  Now what?  How do you maximize the benefits of your online network? How do you reap tangible results in the form of relevant opportunities and direct, personal reward?

Here are 5 easy steps to help you get the most out of your online networking efforts by leveraging LinkedIn:

  1. Make your LinkedIn profile easy to find and use.
    • Add relevant keywords and authoritative content to any remaining areas of your LinkedIn profile.  Areas most often overlooked are the “Education” and “Past Experience” sections.  Take the time to add descriptive detail indicating how your past positions and education make you the perfect match for your target clients today.
    • Make it easy for people to learn more about you.  Add quality links to the “Websites” section of your profile. How? Click on “Edit My Profile”, click on “Websites”, click on “Edit” next to “Additional Information”.  Under “Websites” where it says “Choose,” click the down arrow and choose “Other.”  Add your blog, your professional website and even your social media profiles – listed as “Jane Doe on Twitter”, etc. Add the appropriate URL’s to the right.
    • Instead of directing people to a URL filled with random characters, personalize yours by clicking on “Edit My Profile”, and clicking “Edit” next to your “Public Profile” section.  Type your name in the space provided to customize your URL.
    • Double check that all of your past and present email addresses – work and personal -- are included in your private account profile. This way, even people from your past will be able to find you.
    • Instead of simply using the default template, commit to personalizing the introductions, invitations, and thank you notes you send through LinkedIn.
    • Have an impartial judge look at your profile and give you their honest first impression. 
  2. Use relevant LinkedIn applications.   LinkedIn has a unique set of applications you can add to your profile.  Choose the ones most relevant to your business--you can add a presentation to your profile, connect with others attending events, attach your blog to your profile, use collaboration tools, and even share your reading list with visitors. 
  3. Find the gold in groups.   Join as many relevant groups as possible—you can belong to 50.  Invite members into your network and become a part of key conversations.  Here’s a hint:  Always check out and invite the group’s creator—they usually have quality connections that then become a part of your second-degree network.
  4. Use “advanced search” methods to find a job.  There are over 90,000 recruiters currently on LinkedIn, and they want you in their network.  Use the advanced search methods to find them in groups, companies, locations, and industries and you’ll begin to receive their job posting messages.
  5. Use “advanced search” methods to find new clients and customers.  Create a list of target companies to add to your client base.  Use the advanced search methods within company profiles to find current and past employees of that company, and data mine within company profiles, industries, and locations to find the best contacts.  Here’s a hint:  If you can’t connect to a specific person because you don’t have their email address, find out which groups they belong to, and join them.  You can send direct invitations to group members. 

Remember -- all forms of social media, including professional networking, come down to one common purpose: to connect a person to another person and generate a conversation.  Do your part to make the conversation interesting and helpful.  Nothing beats consistent, personal contact.  Nothing.  Be someone who provides those things to your network and the rewards will follow.

Wendy Brache is the co-creator of  Sales Force Branding is a comprehensive program that differentiates corporate sales executives from the competition.  As a senior consultant at Access Marketing Company, Wendy specializes in B2B Corporate Social Media.  Her freelance writing has been featured in newspapers, magazines, trade journals, corporate blogs and newsletters, and on renowned websites, such as Chopra’s and Denver’s

More from Wendy Brache:

30 Days to a Killer Online Presence

5 Steps to Building a Killer Network

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  • This was a helpful article...especially your advice to find the "gold in groups." I've discovered LinkedIn to have value as part of my overall online business presence.

    Posted by LindaCSmith, 13 February 2010.

  • Hi Wendy!
    All of your tips have been super useful! Thank you for sharing! I have shared with others on :)

    Cheers! Misty Gibbs
    Founder of

    Posted by myinspirationlounge, 12 February 2010.