How to network online

Learn how to make the most use of professional networking sites like Linkedin.

Like a professional version of Facebook, LinkedIn can help you get the inside scoop on job listings or catch the eye of a recruiter.

Make your profile: Create a profile on LinkedIn by uploading your résumé. To complete your profile, add any special skills, certifications, honors, awards and affiliations, as well as your contact information. More information will allow LinkedIn to better connect you to former colleagues and classmates, and to suggest targeted job listings. This will also make your profile more likely to be found if a company is looking for someone with your experience.

Build your network: Download your e-mail contact list and use LinkedIn’s form to ask your contacts to “connect” with you (like “friending” on Facebook). Establish as many connections as possible.

BONUS TIP: “Clean” your profile’s link so that the page will be easily searchable. Select the Edit Profile tab, then edit the URL link to your public profile to delete the string of letters and numbers that follow your name. It should say: linkedin.com/yourname.

Solicit recommendations: Make your profile shine with endorsements (positive reviews of you and your work). Select “Recommendations” under the Profile tab, then click on “Request Recommendations.” You can ask former colleagues who are connections to contribute.

Look for work: Under the Jobs tab, search by job title, company name or keyword (such as “assistant” or “health care” or “school”). Refine your search by criteria, like your location, experience level and industry.

BONUS TIP: Interested in a specific company? Have updates sent to your e-mail about new job postings, recent hires and any news by using the job seeker’s toolbox to “follow” that company.

Find the connection: The real power of LinkedIn lies in its transparent network, which allows you to expand your contacts and get closer to the jobs you want. If there’s a job or company that you find attractive, do a LinkedIn people search to see if you have a “1st connection” inside the company. If you don’t have one, check to add 2nd connections to your search (the people your connections are linked to) by asking a 1st connection if she will introduce you.