Finally, I’m on LinkedIn. So, now what?

January 2, 2013

If you join online networks like Facebook or LinkedIn, make it worth the effort. Follow these tips to get the most out of online networking:

Make your profile more powerful by adding links, a list of past employers, special skills and buzzwords for your field. Check out other people’s profiles to see what they include, and if you like what you see, try the same thing. Tip: Add a link to your profile in your personal e-mail signature.

Build your online presence by adding contacts. Both LinkedIn and Facebook can “sync” with your e-mail address book to find out who is already registered on the site (for those with a Microsoft Outlook, Yahoo!, Gmail or AOL account). You can then invite them to join your network.

Tip: Customize your invitation. Example: You might say, “It seems like ages since we worked at ABC Inc. Let’s reconnect and catch up.”

Feel free to decline an invitation. You may receive an invitation from a person you don’t know. You’re under no obligation to accept.

Receive and give recommendations. When someone thanks or compliments you, ask him or her to post a note on your profile page. It’s like having a good reference posted on a bulletin board.