1. Build your network: Invite everyone you know into your network: current and previous colleagues, business partners, friends and family. Before you know it, you'll be connected to most people in your career circle by three or less degrees of separation. Also, make sure to accept invitations to connect with people even if you don't think they can be helpful in your career. You never know where they will be in a year, two years or five years down the road. Continue to expand your LinkedIn network with new colleagues you meet at networking events.
2. Create a compelling headline: As a default, many people resort to using their current job title as their headline and that's okay, but if it doesn't contain the key words of the positions you are aspiring to, then consider changing your headline. Look at your colleagues' headlines for key word clues but remember to make your headline slightly different to convey your own unique competitive advantage.
3. Stay active on LinkedIn: Unlike the social media addiction that people get concerned about when they log onto Facebook at least once a day, logging onto LinkedIn daily is actually a very good professional habit. It shows your network that you're staying current by posting links to interesting articles, commenting on others' posts or posting about professional development activities you're engaging in.
4. Join groups relevant to your career: By joining such groups, you can stay current with what's happening in your industry, contribute to discussions, pose a question, and brand yourself as a thought leader in your field. Sometimes it can be daunting to figure out which groups to join so I suggest looking at the groups that your colleagues are in as a start. Also pay attention to the number of members in a group and join the ones that have the largest membership.
5. Tap into the power of LinkedIn: There are so many powerful ways you can leverage LinkedIn. For example, when you're applying and interviewing for jobs, do an "advanced search" to see who in your network works or worked at that company and reach out to them to get some insider information. Look up your interviewer the night before your big interview - recruiters say they love that! Lastly, more and more companies are posting jobs on LinkedIn and you can follow your favorite companies on it.
As you can see, LinkedIn is a great resource which, if used effectively, can be a tremendous asset to you and your career