As a machine is only as clever as its user, a LinkedIn account is only as productive as the person in the profile picture.

As a machine is only as clever as its user, a LinkedIn account is only as productive as the person in the profile picture.  

Although most users know by now that simply inputting your name and occupation into the allotted spaces won’t bring in a deluge of opportunities, many don’t know enough about the benefits to go the extra step.  It takes courage to press a button sometimes.  Here are 10 reasons to increase your account’s productivity.

1. Increase credibility:

Forgive me, but I’ll begin with a no-brainer: the more connections you have, the more credible or at least engrossed in your career you appear. This is good. People like hard workers and are more likely to hire someone who’s earnest and has a strong network presence than someone who doesn’t appear to want to get to know people they already don’t know. Remember that who you know can hold the keys to who you want to know.

See more at How to Connect with New People on LinkedIn.

2. Increase visibility.

The number of connections also increases (or decreases) the likelihood that people searching for someone will find you first.  Moreover, LinkedIn profiles get pretty high PageRanks on Google.  If you want to take it a step further, customize your public profile’s URL to be your brand or name.

3. Be selective with your contacts.

Not to contradict myself, but s/he with the most friends does not win.  Sometimes, it’s better not to connect with someone you know or don’t know on LinkedIn.  As with our physical lives, excess entities in our virtual lives can create distracting clutter.  On the other hand, it doesn’t really pay to be a snob, either.  A good start for any new LinkedIn user is to allow LinkedIn to access your email contacts.

Check out 3 Ways to Network on LinkedIn for further reading.

4. Believe in karma.

LinkedIn, while perhaps not as flashy as Facebook or Twitter, is a network like any other: karma exists here.  Someone pats your back, pat them back by promoting them, linking to them, connecting with them, and the like.  You can begin with good karma by teaching someone the benefits of LinkedIn and showing them the ropes.  You can even look up an individual and get an idea for what they need to perform better.  You never know when someone from the past will drop a gold mine on your lap.

5. Break the ice:

Go into a job interview more confidently by looking up your potential employer’s LinkedIn profile.

Maybe you two both worked at a Starbucks once upon a time?

Maybe you went to the same high school?

You get the picture.

READ MORE: How to Prepare for Your Job Interview.

6. Evaluate your evaluator:

This is your chance to decide whether or not you want to work for said potential employer.  You can even look up individuals who have previously held the position for which you’re being interviewed and see what they have to say about the job and its future.  Uncheck the “current titles only” box when doing so.

More on this at How Professional is Your Recruiter? LinkedIn Will Tell You!.

7. Effortlessly make announcements.

When your business has overcome a hurdle, launched a new venture, or undergone some manner of change, update your LinkedIn profile to notify your contacts.  This is more seamless and casual than email notifications, which can seem spammy.

Further reading at 10 Tips to Using Your LinkedIn Status Update.

8. Know your competition.

Sneak around the network to get an idea for what the competition is up to, who they’re targeting, and what you can do to one-up them.  Less maliciously, you can gauge the status of an industry in which you’re thinking about investing by checking in with succeeding companies from time to time.  On the other hand, you can check in with companies who have failed.  They can offer you just as much wisdom as those who’ve succeeded.

See more at How to Conduct Employer Research on LinkedIn.

9. Narrow your search.

Searching through LinkedIn can help open-source vendors understand who’s already worked with their software and how.  As an employer, you can hire someone whom you already know is familiar with your code.  You also get to find out what people find practical about your product and what you can improve about it.

See 3 Great Ways to Finding People to Connect with on LinkedIn for more.

10. Ask and you shall receive.

Not only can you request advice from experts by using LinkedIn’s Answers feature rather than a mere open forum, you can look forward to becoming (and becoming known as) an expert, yourself.  This adds to your credibility.  As an inquirer and not an expert, you might make a new contact or two, or even a job.  If someone is answering your question, obviously you two have something—at least an occupational interest—in common.  You might be able to fix each other’s problems; you never know who you’ll stumble across in such a vast network.

LinkedIn has been touted for years as not only a useful tool but also a satisfying experience. It turns your résumé into a living, breathing entity that has, like you, undergone evolution for potential employers and employees across the globe to see.  Perhaps least observed is its use in giving ourselves perspective about where we excel, where could use improvement, where we’ve been, and where we’re going.

Author: Alexis Bonari is currently a resident blogger at College Scholarships, where recently she’s been researching medical school loans as well as calculates student loan costs. Whenever this WAHM gets some free time she enjoys doing yoga, cooking with the freshest organic in-season fare, and practicing the art of coupon clipping.

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