LinkedIn is a very effective tool for professionals if used correctly. LinkedIn offers a way to gather social proof for business claims like nothing before it. LinkedIn creates an opportunity to advance your professional status through the tools that are available such as the profile, recommendations, and groups. LinkedIn has high standards, and so should you if you want it to perform for you.

Be Honest — Your profile on LinkedIn should be the most honest depiction of yourself that you have ever created. Your first connections and people who are going to recommend you are going to feel better about it if they see your profile and know that what you say is true. You want people who recommend you to be proud of their recommend, because it’s a public thing on LinkedIn to provide a recommendation. Their reputation is at stake.

Make Connections That Matter — Your connections are very important on, it’s not like Twitter where you need to follow everyone who follows you and that the more the merrier. No, on you want to connect with people for a specific reason. Connect with the people you work with, and the people you have worked with first. Build those relationships before adding in connections of people you don’t know unless you’re introduced by one of your connections.

Ask For Specific Recommendations — Ask anyone you’ve worked with for recommendations, but don’t use the generic request. Instead, ask each person separately and specifically for recommendations about specific tasks that you performed at your job. If you remind them of the specific tasks and what you accomplished they’ll be very likely to use those exact words in their recommendation. This can make each recommendation stand out as special, specific, and separate from the other recommendations even if the people all worked at the same company.

Grab Your Name URL — LinkedIn allows you to choose a unique URL with which to invite people to view your profile. It’s important to try to get your name or your business name URL if possible. This looks a lot better than the random characters that LinkedIn provides to you automatically. Plus, it can be an additional SEO measure since these are indexed in search results.

Fill Your Profile Out Completely — Don’t leave your profile unfinished. It can take a couple of hours to finish it properly but if you know what you need for it in advance of sitting down to do it, you’ll be able to complete it in one sitting. Having your resume nearby will help, as will having electronic versions of work samples. You can continually perfect your profile, but do finish it as soon as possible.

No other social media network screams business quite like LinkedIn. If you want to be taken seriously as a business leader and professional create a honest, and complete profile on Then, start asking for and giving recommendations, join and create groups, and become part of the LinkedIn community. You only get out of anything that you put into it. Plan to put a lot into LinkedIn because you will get a lot out of it in return.