LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional networking site with over 250 million users globally. It is a great tool to showcase your professional career; keep up to date via network discussions and connect with people who you have worked with in the past, and who may help you in the future.

LinkedIn is a great platform to seek opportunities locally or globally and users are constantly increasing their networks to find the best possible talent or opportunity. So why do some insist on using this professional networking site as if it were Facebook? Potential employers or any other person in your extended network doesn’t want to see selfies from last Friday night, nor do connections want to count how many jelly beans are in a jar! What is professional about counting jelly beans in a jar – unless you of course worked for an organisation who made jelly beans!

The line between a professional networking site and a social networking site seems to be getting muddled. Professional networking sites such as LinkedIn provide a great opportunity for you to seek employment, engage with sector professionals on important topics, or connect with old colleagues. It’s a site you don’t have to use every day, and it doesn’t matter if you don’t – but using it in the right way could be very valuable to you.

Here are my top tips:

1. Have a profile picture: if you really want to engage with people, they want to know who they are engaging with. But please, no sunglasses, glasses of wine in the hand or holidays snaps.

2. Make your contact details obvious in your profile if you do want to be contacted.

3. Don’t regurgitate your CV. LinkedIn and your CV are two different things. LinkedIn should be more of a snapshot demonstrating key skills and experience. The CV is where we’d want to find the detail and now refer to point #2.

4. Ask for recommendations but ensure they are from your client group or management relating to your line of work that demonstrates your ability to deliver.

5. Keep content up to date and make the most of your headline; use statements such as ‘HR Professional – seeking new opportunities’, rather than just unemployed, or leaving it blank.

Michael is a consultant in London and suggests we leave our personal lives at the LinkedIn door.

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