linkedinImagewebPeople tell me all the time that they only use LinkedIn as a contact management site where they keep the links to business connections and little else. Wow, way to miss an opportunity.

LinkedIn is an amazing resource for information and it’s really easy to establish yourself as a resource to boot.

As with all networks you need to set up your public face before you dive in. Linkedin has a lot of tools to give you ways to let people know who you are and what you stand for.

Start with your profile. Upload a business friendly picture, fill out the forms about your personal and business history. Remember, recruiters use this site a lot so speak to them and potential connections in a businesslike manner but give them a reason to read beyond the first few lines of your profile.

LinkedIn is crawled by the search engines too, so get some good keywords in the description tags but don’t make it too obvious. Make a special effort to write a well-crafted summary of what you do. This should cover your skills and strong points so someone looking to hire you or connect with you sees a clear value in connecting.

Once you’ve got this set up, go to contacts and add connections. You can enter a list of emails or just one and send invitations, import your email contacts, search for colleagues and classmates based on the profile information you shared, or do a search for specific people to connect with.   Linkedin will send an email to your connections with a link to your profile and ask if they want to connect. They can accept or just ignore you as they wish.

If someone doesn’t connect after a few weeks it’s OK to either contact them by other means or retract your invitation. Some people rarely respond to these emails or check their accounts so they may have just missed the connection.

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