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Getting linked

It's a good idea to accompany your job title with a tagline or a headline that encapsulates your expertise and what you're best known for

LinkedIn is a US-based organization that provides a forum for professionals to network with a focus on building professional connections and business opportunities. It has over 200 million members worldwide.

The site has only been active in Australia since 2010 and, according to Caitlin Fitzsimmons from BRW already has over 4 million Australian users. It has really only started making a presence here and has the potential to disrupt and change the way organisations recruit.

Recruiters, employers and potential clients can use this facility to search for candidates using connections by industry or job. It's therefore important that you've optimized your profile with keywords or phrases that describe your job effectively. This way, your profile can be easily found through a search and potential employers and/or clients will know exactly what skills you have to offer.

When creating a profile, try to avoid writing your life story or a long, chronological list of accomplishments. Highlight your expertise and state clearly how the employer or client will benefit from employing you.

Your professional headline appears underneath your name. It's a good idea to accompany your job title with a tagline or a headline that encapsulates your expertise and what you're best known for. LinkedIn has a search algorithm, which is changed regularly. When your profile comes up in search results, a good headline can set you apart. The site has a tracking system, which tells you how often your profile has appeared in searches and who's viewed it recently.

When tweaking or updating your profile, a good tip is to always make sure you switch the activity broadcasts off. This ensures your connections are not bombarded with updates of minor changes. To do this, simply go into Account & Settings menu (top right), select the Privacy & Settings option, then click on Turn on/off your activity broadcasts (in the Privacy Controls menu). You can switch it back on to make recommendations, or follow companies.

Another trick is to customise your LinkedIn address so that your profile comes up in searches. You can do this by Clicking on "edit profile" and changing the URL to: www.LinkedIn.com/in/yourname. Ensure you include this in your resume as well as on the cover letter and the bottom signature line.

LinkedIn recently introduced "Professional Portfolio" which allows you to provide visual presentations to enhance your profile. You can upload things such as images, screenshots, slide share presentations, eBooks, blog posts and portfolios.

Join suitable groups that relate to your field and get involved by making comments in the discussions. This can lead to further connections and possible job offers. Being involved in suitable groups in your field gives you an opportunity to display your expertise to prospective employers.

LinkedIn is fast becoming a content platform where members not only spend time networking with peers, but reading news stories on the homepage. If you've read an interesting article, share it with all your connections as an update. It's surprising how many new connections you can make when you interact.