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For those that have never needed to use the social networking site, getting to grips with LinkedIn best practice can be a tad confusing.

Although profiles can be just as private or open as Facebook, different rules apply to what you can share, who you communicate with, and how you present information.

With that in mind, here is a nifty guide to LinkedIn in 2016:

Customise your profile URL

It’s good to imagine your LinkedIn profile as your online CV.

It’s often the first place that interviewers will look after receiving your application – so it needs to be as perfect as possible.

When you first set up your profile you will be given a LinkedIn ID that will look something like:

http://www.linkedin.com/pub/job-seeker/0/000/832

This is temporary however, and can be changed fairly easily.

Simply sign in, select edit your profile, locate your current LinkedIn ID in the options, click edit and go to customise your public profile. Within this there is a box for your public profile URL.

You can then customise your URL appropriately.

Just remember to ensure that it is timeless and professional, as you never know when your job role might change in the future.

Connect with people you don’t know

Although it is sometimes considered strange to connect with people you don’t know on Facebook, the same doesn’t quite apply on LinkedIn.

Quite often, people will connect with those who are second or third degree connections.

That said, it is important to build your connections strategically, and when you do, ensure that you add your own personal message when sending your request.

Additionally, explain to the person why you are wanting to connect with them – be up front and honest.

If you’re starting out in sales, and this person is head of sales at a company you’re interested it, it’s absolutely fine to admit your interests.

Join new groups

Being in a group enables you to view the profiles of other people within the group – without being connected.

This gives you a huge advantage if you’re looking to spruce up your profile or to see what other people with the same kind of job are doing.

What’s more, being in a group will give you a great insight into what’s happening in your industry and job area, giving you the opportunity to scoop up insider knowledge and top tips from a great range of people.

Just remember that groups are now private and membership will have to be approved, so it might take a couple of days for you to be accepted.

Boost your profile with clever anchor text

If you want people to be able to find you via Google or Bing, try and imagine the search terms that someone will use, and subtly place them within the text of your profile.

For example, if you’re working in car sales, and you’re a car salesman working in Leeds, try and write something like “having worked for many years as a car salesman in Leeds”, to help direct people to your page.

Google is clever enough to be able to fill in the blanks and should be able to get the right people to the right areas of the internet.

Understand LinkedIn endorsements

Much like the emoticons that have just been released on Facebook, LinkedIn endorsements are something of a controversial topic.

Intended at first to give credibility to a person’s skills and professionalism, it was soon realised that the endorsement feature was near limitless, leading to fast and monstrous abuse so that they quickly became irrelevant.

That said, LinkedIn has now added features so that you can use them cleverly and at your own discretion.

As well as only being able to accept endorsements from people that you are connected with, since 2015, you can now edit and manage the ones that you receive.

You can even opt out of them completely, giving you the ability to get rid of pointless and all too similar skillsets.

What’s more, if you do choose to clean your endorsements, you’ll give your profile more integrity and you’ll look more honest as a result.

Ask for recommendations

There’s nothing wrong with asking old colleagues and bosses for recommendations, even if you worked with them in a completely different job role or field.

Being able to prove that you are capable, professional and likeable is a great boost for anyone who happens to be searching for a job.

On the other hand, it’s also worth your time to write well thought out recommendations for other people too, as people will also be able to view who you have written for – which should reflect well on the both parties.

Remember to post at least once a week

Like Facebook, LinkedIn enables you to post external articles and news stories.

This is a good way of showing that you’re engaged with your job and the world around it.

Although it is quite common for people to post quotes and images that they find inspiring, it is worth sticking to relevant and professional posts that people in your industry will find insightful and memorable.

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