Join the CIO UK LinkedIn community

Social media is a part of modern life now and many people are using it to further their careers, rather than post up their holiday photos for all to see.

The most popular professional social network is LinkedIn, which many people in the UK have used to source jobs or raise their profile to likely employers, many of which already trawl such sites for talent.

These are the simple tricks that will help maximize your profile on LinkedIn:

1 Upload a decent photo (make sure you look business-like; this is not a dating site).

2 If you meet someone new and would like to ask them to link to you using the invitation control panel, use the formal note provided but add a careful, personalized note yourself such as, ‘It was good to meet you at the seminar – let’s talk.’

3 Use your e-mail address or Twitter handle as an adjunct to your last name. On LinkedIn you can’t get people’s e-mail without knowing them already so giving your e-mail makes certain that they can contact you immediately.

4 Use keywords liberally. The profile you create will be scanned by the Google search engines, so if you are looking for a specific job, for instance in marketing, add the word ‘marketing’ to your profile, and any other keywords that will help lift you to the top of a search.

5 Make sure you use similar keywords for your website and blog. Remember that people can subscribe to your blog from LinkedIn.

6 Make sure you opt in for the update status so that whenever you update your blog or twitter account, the information will be distributed to those who are connected to you on LinkedIn.

7 Similarly, ensure that applications that you have created directly are fed back to your LinkedIn profile. If you have created a slide in Slide Share you can link it back to your profile, so all your contacts can look at your new work.

8 Look at the connections of people you know but haven’t yet linked to; look at connections of your good friends and link to them; browse to the ‘other connections’ of your friends and colleagues and link to them on your network.

9 Develop the ‘recommendations’ element of LinkedIn. When you ask people to recommend you, give them an idea of the area in which you are looking for work, and what skills you would like recommended. This will help others know what your skill base is.

10 Use the internal messaging – the private e-mail system within LinkedIn uses messages to send to your connections. You can send 50 messages to your designated connections on the regular LinkedIn membership.

11 Build your reputation by using LinkedIn Answers. This is a collection of different topics where LinkedIn members ask questions and answer them – you can get an RSS feed of all the new questions and do a quick scan of all questions that day. If you can answer any of them, you could have your name built into a profile as ‘best answer’ in the category. This is free publicity for your skill: when you answer a question, your name and address will be attached to it along with a summary of what you do.

12 LinkedIn Groups is a major feature of the site, so consider making your own group and invite members to join you; that way you can build your own professional network.

The above is an excerpt from by Cresta Norris, published by Kogan Page.

Cresta Norris is a former head of new media content at UKTV, a joint venture between Virgin and the BBC and an online marketer for the BBC and Freeview