Every once in a while I am stunned by how well someone is using Linkedin.  I have using Linkedin for 7 years and have seen nearly every kind of user.  Here are some of my recommendations for creating a stellar Linkedin account.  Notice I did not say PROFILE.  Your Linkedin Profile is just one of the many facets of a well-rounded Linkedin account.  But let’s start there.

    1. Create a 100% profile.  Linkedin rates your profile in terms of how complete it is using a % complete measurement in the upper right hand corner of your profile page.  You make your profile complete by including your chronologic history of positions and companies, your skills and expertise, educational history, recommendations from past colleagues and other items.  Continue to work on your profile until Linkedin gives you a 100% rating.  Use a professional picture of yourself.

    2. Join groups. To begin, look for alumni groups for your college and companies you have worked with in the past.  Look at the profiles of others you are connected to and find any relevant groups they belong to that make sense for you as well.  Once you start to hit your limit of 50 groups, you can always thin out groups if you wish.

    3. Enter into conversations.  Go to the discussion pages of your groups and add comments to items that you can write thoughtful responses to.  The goal is to be seen as regularly giving insight and help and perhaps to have one of your comments voted as “the best answer” – which will give your profile credibility and higher visibility.

    4. Follow companies of interest.  Click on companies you would like to work with and follow them to get information on their statistics such as the average number of years experience their employees have, degrees and locations.  Start to dig into the connections at the companies you are interested in and ask for introductions.

    5. Make a group. One of the most rewarding things I have done with Linkedin is create a group.  The Best Buy Alumni Network now has nearly 6000 members and is an active community within Linkedin.  You can create a group as well if you can identify a group with a common interest and market to that group using your social media and Linkedin connections.  Some of the best have names that invite participation like “Lead Change” and “Data Driven Marketers.”  Create your group, Invite people to participate and start discussions that are meaningful or post links that are helpful.  Soon your group will flourish.

    6. Use your profile creatively. Rather than listing yourself as “Looking for opportunities” or “Self-employed” use your profile heading to say something like Management Consulting, Auto Service Expert, or Freelance Writer with Pen.  Your profile will at least be more memorable than most.

    7. Connect your other social media.  Include the blog updater, twitter feed or Facebook group feed into your profile to make it both more robust and more interest in real time.

    On days that I work at it, Linkedin is my most active link into my website – drawing a larger audience than Google or direct address connections.   Linkedin users are engaged and interested in professional relationships.  The perfect place for calling attention to yourself and your skills.