[VIDEO] Linked up on LinkedIn?

If you haven’t joined LinkedIn yet, it’s about time you did. This social media platform hosts the biggest business network in the world — an astounding 135 million members in over 200 countries, with a new member joining every second!

You gain access to your network, your network’s network, and your network’s network’s network – whew! For example, a personal network of 600 connections opens the door to 60,000 contacts (your network’s
contacts) and, one degree of separation higher, to a stunning four million!

Step one: Open an account, but – here’s the tricky part – resist the next logical step: don’t start filling in the blanks. You’ve only got one shot to make a killer first impression: you don’t want anyone to view your profile until it’s polished and perfect.

Open up the Profile and Status Updates section of your security settings. Click ‘no’ to both publishing your profile updates and notifying your contacts of status updates. If you signed in using your primary e-mail address, change it temporarily to a non-published address. Then hide your full name by showing only your first name and last initial.

Now you can fill in all the blanks. Take your time and get it right. Market yourself with a detailed description of your current and past positions, listing the company and noting the industry. Include education and volunteer work. Don’t forget to load in your website and other social media channels.

Finish it up with a compelling summary. This is your chance to make yourself memorable: be professional, but don’t be scared to give future colleagues, clients or employers a clear idea of exactly who you are.

LinkedIn also offers some neat apps: include a PowerPoint, a poll, a portfolio. Display a reading list. Import your blog. LinkedIn gives you plenty of options.

Finally, fine-tune your verbiage to make sure that your name comes up when someone wants the service you provide. The “Skills” and “Specialties” area are a great place to boost your searchability. Take some time to brainstorm what words potential clients might search when looking for you.

Ready for business? Get back into your settings and re-publish your blog. Restore your primary e-mail address and full name. Then, network, network, network. Start with sending invites to your closest colleagues. Ask
a few of them for recommendations. What’s the best way to get a recommendation? Give one.

Import your database and invite new contacts a few at a time, always with a personal note. Mention how you met or reference a common experience to help them place you in context and remember you fondly.

Tap into your network and discover who’s waiting to meet you!

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