How to use Linkedin to boost your career

How often do you use Linkedin? My guess is not enough. You probably set it up a few years back for a new job then forgot about it once the interview passed, save for a couple of annoying email updates in your inbox. But if you want to network, grow a business, get a better job or find out what's happening in your industry, Linkedin is (or should be) your best friend.

Now boasting over 550 million users, Linkedin is the working world's social network, and you shouldn't underestimate its power in linking you with the right people (hence the name and all). Unfortunately, we all don't spend enough time on it to become Linkedin pro's - we may know which filter will hide a hangover on the 'Gram, but that won't help you much here. That's why we've come up with some easy tips to help you start using Linkedin like a real social network. Get scrolling.

Follow the steps

Linkedin is actually very user-friendly when it comes to setting up a profile, and you'll be getting found by recruiters in no time by simply following its guidelines. When you first sign up, it'll prompt you to add a profile picture, a snappy headline and your work history - all essential in making sure you show up in searches. Linkedin wants you to get something out of using the platform, so it's there to help. Once you've established the bare bones of a profile, get detailed in your descriptions of what you do and your skillset. The more information, the better.

It's not Facebook - don't be shy

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I found it a little jarring when I first joined Linkedin that I was getting connection requests from total strangers. They worked in similar industries but I'd never met them before, and, coming from the perspective of never adding someone I don't know on social media, I hit 'ignore' on each one. But Linkedin isn't an ordinary social network - it's about careers. You have to use it like a networking opportunity, and that means meeting new people and building relationships. It's also beneficial to your profile to have as many connections as possible - it boosts your rankings when searching and it's more appealing to recruiters. Add everyone you know, then start adding those you want to know - I promise you won't look like a creep.

Don't be afraid to self-promote

We Irish are a terribly begrudging bunch, and the idea of someone bigging themselves up is often met with widespread disdain or, even worse, being christened as having notions (shudder). Linkedin is not the place to fade into the background. It's essentially an online C.V and, especially if you're looking for a job, you're competing with thousands of other people with similar backgrounds to yours. Make sure any achievements, awards and exciting new projects are well-documented and don't use self-deprecating language. Let everyone know how fab you are.

Post updates on everything

On other social networks, you'd be mortified posting every little achievement or news you had at work on your feed. Friends would slag you off, peripheral family members would probably block you and everyone would think you were a bit up yourself. This is not the case on Linkedin. Believe it or not, people are actually interested in what you're doing at work, or your thoughts on the latest news in your industry. That's why they're all on there in the first place.

Be a sponge

Linkedin is full of information, and so much of it is so useful for your career. Besides their own blog, which has some great posts on recruitment and technology, there are a lot of interesting people on Linkedin and they share their thoughts and advice regularly. Read articles that are shared, ask advice from the comment sections, post your thoughts on an issue and have a discussion with others. Use the platform as the resource that it is.

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