In the past year, LinkedIn has made many changes.  As a public company, they have to strike the balance between keeping that stock price high (so far, so good) and maintaining a happy user base (remains to be seen).  In early 2014, LinkedIn is still the place to be for professionals with over 225,000,000 members and no immediate threats challenging their dominance.

Are you using LinkedIn effectively?  Here are three essential tips to keep in mind this year.

1. Update your profile – often.

Many people we speak with fall into the trap of only updating their LinkedIn profile when they lose their job or decide to start job hunting.  Make sure to keep your profile up to date with projects you are working on.

You may have also noticed the neat meter that LinkedIn provides.  Get to 100%!

LinkedIn Profile Meter

2. When sending a connection request -always  write a personalized note

This is an old one and not new for 2014.  What is new, is that the mobile apps of LinkedIn do not allow you to write a personalized note when making a connection request.  I suggest waiting until you are on the desktop version.  I’ve found this very effective when connecting with old contacts who I had forgotten about and who may have forgotten me.

Avoid this whenever you can,

“I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.”

3. When accepting a connection request,take it to the next step

We are all on LinkedIn and social networks to be social, advance our careers and increase our knowledge from networking with peers.  If someone takes the time to connect with you, take a moment to write them back and suggest a coffee or at least a phone call.  Connecting online is great, however your connections become much more meaningful and powerful after making some effort to go beyond adding a connection.

Do you have any to add to this list?  I’d love to hear tips and tricks on how you use LinkedIn.  Drop a note below!

If we are not connected on LinkedIn, let’s connect (but remember to write a short note!)