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7 Surprising Things You Can Do On LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a rich networking environment that is getting richer all the time. We've put together a few suggestions for new ways you can use the platform.

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LinkedIn may be your go-to tool for professional networking, but are you using it to its full potential? Following are seven things you may not have known you can do with LinkedIn.

1. Get Found: Recruiters and potential employers often use LinkedIn to identify talent. Whether you are looking for a job or not, make sure that you are including words and terms in your profile that are current and compelling in your discipline and your industry. "You may not be looking for a job at the moment, but employers with great opportunities may find you if you fill your LinkedIn profile with the types of keywords employers might use to find someone with your expertise," said Wayne Breitbarth, author of "The Power Formula for Linkedin Success." He added that these keywords should be included in the Headline, Summary, Specialties, Experience, and Recommendations sections of your LinkedIn profile.

2. Demonstrate Expertise: Once you get found, you want to be able to demonstrate expertise. There are a great many ways to do this on LinkedIn, but one you may not know is that you can use Box.net to add documents to your LinkedIn profile. "The key to networking is freely sharing your knowledge and expertise with others. This builds trust. Once they know and trust you, they will want to do business with you," said Breitbarth. "Box.net enables you to post PDF, Excel, or Word files to your profile. This is a great place to post whitepapers, articles, company brochures, pictures of your projects or products, customer testimonials, and other documents that increase your credibility and helpfulness."

[Through savvy use of LinkedIn, IT pros may soon be on their way to a better job. Learn How To Catch Recruiters' Eyes On LinkedIn.]

3. Showcase Experience: Users can leverage tools such as Google Presentation and SlideShare via LinkedIn to post slideshows that demonstrate personal experience, presentations about your company, and/or pictures of projects you have been instrumental in completing.

4. Show Your Mad Skills: LinkedIn earlier this year added a section to profiles that enables users to promote their general skills and assets. "The skills section is searchable via LinkedIn, making it a great way to stand out," said Greg Hakim, account executive at PR firm Corporate Ink. "It's different from your specialty and summary sections. Most people don't have this on their profiles." Adding skills is as easy as tagging, and skills appear like tags before the Education section in your profile.

5. Plot Your Career Path: "One very useful function that's not too widely used is Career Explorer," said Hakim. "It allows you to take a look at others in your industry and see the path they took to get where they are today. It also helps you make connections with those in the positions you eventually want to reach-- ultimately helping you move forward."

6. Create A Printable Resume: While we do so much of our job searching and networking online these days, when you finally get the interview, you'll want to bring a hard copy resume with you. LinkedIn provides the ability to create a print-worthy version (with a couple of tweaks here and there) of your resume with just a push of a button. "Most LinkedIn users see the site only as an online resume and don't realize they can export their own resume for in-person meetings," said Hakim. "It just takes a couple of tweaks to the formatting and you have a nice, professional handout."

7. Alert Your Boss You Are Looking For Another Job: Yes, LinkedIn can let you do some things you didn't want to do. For example, if your current manager sees via LinkedIn updates that you are suddenly (and often) being recommended, he or she may grow suspicious that you are getting ready to jump ship. That may or may not be a bad thing, depending, but it's important to remember that your LinkedIn activity is broadcast to contacts unless you change some settings. "If you keep your activity settings in the default position, your connections can see when you make profile changes, get recommendations and add connections," said Michelle Metzger, president of Metzger & Associates, a marketing, communications, and social media consultancy. "A significant amount of activity will alert your employer that you are positioning yourself for a career move."

Got any LinkedIn tips and tricks to share? Please share your feedback in the comments section below.

Learn the secrets to getting your employees to share and collaborate with one another in this Enterprise 2.0 webcast. Here's a hint--it's not about the technology, it's about your people! It happens Oct. 12. Sign up now. (Free with registration.)

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