I am frequently asked questions about how LinkedIn. Here is the first installment of a three part series on using LinkedIn for networking and as a strategy for relationship management.

If you take a quick look at LinkedIn, it may seem similar to Facebook: it's a list of who you know. Here's an overview of LinkedIn and how it can help you on "the surface":

  • An estimated 80% of mid-to-senior level job offers are the result of Networking. LinkedIn helps you expand your network.
  • Your chance of success increases with an introduction: Just as your friends can help you get a job, so can your “friends of friends.”  LinkedIn provides a transparent way for you to see how people are connected to one another so that you can build strong relationships—and request appropriate introductions for networking.
  • A complete LinkedIn profile allows you to develop a snapshot of another individual’s job history and interests. LinkedIn helps give you an opening.

Dig a little deeper and you'll see several not-so-obvious features that you can use to present yourself:

  • LinkedIn allows you to be a snoop—and make the information work for you. Evaluating other people’s profiles allows you to see how others with your skill set present themselves—a cheat sheet for resume writing since it may provide you with an additional perspective on your work.
  • LinkedIn is a safe place to search for answers to the questions you may have—but are afraid to ask. Search the Question and Answer section for previously asked questions and how they were answered.
  • LinkedIn limits the number of characters you can write in your profile summary as well as each job description. As such, LinkedIn is a guaranteed tool for resume development—it forces you to be concise and to have a consistent tone.
  • LinkedIn is a shortcut to resume writing. Your profile becomes an abbreviated resume as you write it. Note the PDF icon in your LinkedIn account—it is a pdf version of your profile that can easily be sent to others.

Are  you an active LinkedIn user? If yes, do you have any other tips and strategies you'd like to share?