By Breanna Banford, Social Marketing Specialist, Xerox Enterprise Business Group

I often reflect on how much the professional world has changed in just 20 years. I remember my mom’s address book, pages covered in eraser marks and scribbled with new addresses and contact information for her friends and colleagues who were moving from here to there. Now, we login to LinkedIn and all that information is conveniently at our finger tips. How easy is it to look up your old friend and see that he’s now CEO of his own company. You can drop him a quick note to see how he’s doing and find out something that you may not have learned had it been 20 years ago. I understand there may be downsides to all this because many people are lurking in the internet shadows, seeing the latest updates to your LinkedIn page and not sending that message. But, times change and we too must adjust.Connect with a network of professionals, colleagues and friends on LinkedIn

Clearly, I’m an advocate for social media and social networking. It’s what I do for a living. So, I say that LinkedIn is one of those great social networks that makes it 10 times easier to network and connect to colleagues and business professionals. You can stay up-to-date on people’s career paths, send former coworkers a message and learn about new opportunities that you may never have been aware of in the past. It only requires a little effort to get great results.

Here are a few LinkedIn tips for the business professional:

  • Keep your profile current. LinkedIn says that having a completed profile offers you a 40% greater chance for networking success. It also improves the likelihood that people will share job opportunities. You can give your network a glimpse into your talents, experience, interests and expertise. An added bonus is that you can add more details than you would in your resume.
    • Tip: Complete the summary section of your profile. You can describe who you are and what unique attributes you have that make you more marketable to employers.
  • Participate in groups. Search keywords related to your field or interests and you’ll find a plethora of groups that discuss those topics regularly. Follow industry news and join discussions that may help you expand your network.
    • Tip: Setup email alerts to receive the latest discussions in your groups so you can add your point of view early on.
  • Follow your favorite companies. LinkedIn is a great fit for business-to-business (B2B) companies. Many businesses create company pages on LinkedIn to share their corporate updates, latest news, and product information with their fans, customers and employees. Xerox recently joined the ranks too!
    • Tip: Recommend your favorite companies’ products and services to grow your presence on LinkedIn and share with your connections.

Are you logging into LinkedIn? Are you updating your profile?

Share in the comments how you’re using LinkedIn to expand your professional network and expertise.