LinkedIn is the leading business-oriented social networking site. If you’re interested in making professional connections with other people in your industry that could lead to future work or partnerships, LinkedIn is the place to be. Aside from traditional connection and contact sharing, highlights include LinkedIn Answers for asking questions, LinkedIn Groups for people in similar industries, and a host of LinkedIn apps that live on your profile page.
1. Get introduced to people by using connection requests
If there’s someone you’d like to contact, but you don’t know them, you can request an introduction if they are connected to anyone in your network or even if they are two connections removed from you. To add this person as a connection, simply visit his or her profile and click “Get introduced through a connection,” then fill in a note asking one of your connections to make the introduction and another note to the person to which you want to be connected.
2. Show your connections where you’re going
If your business partners can see when you’ll be traveling to their cities, they can request meetings with you and all kind of opportunities can arise. To share your travel itinerary on your profile, click Add An Application on the profile edit screen and select the My Travel app. You’ll have to sign up for a free account with TripIt, but then you’ll be able to show your upcoming trips and see where your contacts are traveling.
3. Use LinkedIn Answers to ask questions
If you need advice, why ask just a handful of people when you can reach the entire LinkedIn community along with up to 200 of your contacts? To get started, just select Answers from the More menu at the top of the screen, then enter your query in the Ask a Question box. A new screen will appear that lets you add additional details and categorize your question based on topic. You can choose to only share the question with a select group or make it public so anyone on LinkedIn can see.=
In addition to asking questions and answering others’ queries, you can join discussion groups to network and discuss particular topics with others. To find new groups or manage your memberships, click the Groups button at the top bar. You can then see suggestions by clicking Groups You May Like. You can also search for stuff that interests you by visiting Groups Directory, or you can even create your own group.
5. Request recommendations to improve your reputation
When potential business partners and employers look at your profile, positive recommendations really stand out. You can wait and hope that your contacts will post recommendations without prompting, or you can politely request their help. To request a recommendation, select Recommendations from the Profile Menu. There you’ll see a list of all your jobs with the number of current recommendations under each. Here you can click the Manage link to delete or hide recommendations you don’t like or, better yet, click the “Ask to be endorsed” link and send a request for recommendation to coworkers and business partners.