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I’m sure you hear about people securing jobs through their networks all the time. In fact, if you look back at your own work history, you’ll probably recall that some of the vacancies you filled in the past were brought to your attention by people you knew. As an executive leader, you may also know that when you are trying to fill positions you first look internally and then as close to internally as possible, drawing on referrals of current employees or maybe people you’ve done business with.

As you know LinkedIn is the world’s largest online professional network. Therefore, you want to be sure your profile is a compelling and accurate portrayal of your professional brand. Whether you are actively seeking new opportunities or not, it’s important to maintain your LinkedIn profile to keep it fresh and up-to-date.

A few minutes a week is all you need to maximize your visibility and capture the attention of recruiters, company leaders, and industry colleagues. You wouldn’t want to present an outdated resume to a recruiter or employer. The same applies to your LinkedIn profile—especially since it’s so visible. A few easy ways to get started:

You’ve probably noticed LinkedIn is in continuous flux, with tweaks to the interface and new features rolling out fairly regularly – often with little to no warning. To make thing even more complex, rollouts occur in waves so one user might have a new feature while the other is left waiting. For job seekers and for those who value protecting their professional brand, there are four new features I recommend becoming familiar with that by now should appear on the desktops of all users:

 

1. New Setting Protects Your Profile from Plagiarism

The word “networking” conjures up negative images in my mind. It appears as if one is reaching out to others with purely selfish motives and with the sole objective of “taking” and not “giving”. Many people feel similarly – hence, the attempt to neutralize it by introducing synonyms such as “relationship building” or “connecting” without a real attempt to address the emotions/motives underneath the effort!

You wouldn’t embark on a cross-country road trip without the tools you need to reach your destination, would you? Maybe some maps, but definitely a good GPS system these days. While not infallible, GPS is nearly always helpful.

The same holds true for the tools you need to use in your high-level job search—loosely defined as VP and above. They must be as strong as possible, and you need to use them as wisely and effectively as possible. Like a GPS, though, they might not be perfect.

Which brings us to LinkedIn as a tool for your job search.

It is no secret that executives have hectic schedules and are often left with little or no time to allocate for social networking, both online or in person. But could a half-hearted approach to LinkedIn actually be harming your reputation, your brand, your organization and your future?

Here’s four reasons why it might be time to reprioritize and find time for LinkedIn:

 

In an increasingly digital world, most of us have ended up owning and taking up rent-free digital real estate on platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter et al. And queries from users range from the basics (how do I set up my profile well) to the advanced (how do I maximize my ROI)! In this context, a compendium of suggestions I share from time to time with folks who reach out to me is as given below:

 

Do not spam: The sheer number of invites I get from strangers, followed by an immediate request for help, is rather huge. People have become rather unabashed. This is certainly NOT recommended. The key is to be subtle, not over-the-top.

Executives who want to move to a new geographical area sometimes complain that they don’t have any good contacts in the targeted area. They assume, therefore, that they don’t have a strong launch-pad for their job search and post-job-search career progress. 

Sometimes their assumption is dead wrong. Often, though, it has at least some truth to it. However, the real issue is that they’ve waited until the last minute—or beyond—to build and nurture their network outside their current location.relocation network

Today’s generation is fortunate enough to have the power to leverage social media sites such as LinkedIn. Just imagine having to look up someone you were about to meet for an important business meeting in the absence of any database…which was the scenario a decade ago!

An impactful highly-optimized LinkedIn profile can be the gateway to new networking and executive job opportunities. But what will make you stand out among the other 450 million profiles?