Being a #girlboss these days means taking your career by the reigns. And part of furthering your career is networking. Thankfully, LinkedIn has been around for a while to help you make connections online. Recently, the social networking site was acquired by Microsoft, and they also went through a major redesign. Here’s four ways for you to become a power user!


1. Maximize your visibility. You aren’t going to have much influence on LinkedIn if you aren’t very visible, so you want to make sure you’re doing everything you can to get in front of prospective employers, clients and connections. You should always make sure you include images — in your profile (make sure it’s a clear and professional looking pic!) and in everything you post. People are a lot more likely to click on things you share if they include pictures. Using keywords is another great way to get more visibility. For example, if you’re a content marketer, you’ll want to include “content marketer” in your profile, because that’s something that the people you’re wanting to connect with might search for. This should go in your headline and your summary — but don’t overdo it!


Other ways to up your visibility include connecting your profile to your blog or website, adding your profile to your email signature, posting regularly to LinkedIn Pulse (posts focusing on your niche), and posting in specialized groups of like-minded people.


2. Use fancy searching to find what you’re looking for more easily. Believe it or not, you aren’t limited to searching just by name or company. Let’s revisit the content marketing example. If you type “content marketing,” you can see posts about content marketing, people who have the skill and jobs that require the skill. You can also use a fancy thing called Boolean search, which involves using AND, OR, NOT and quotes in your searches. x AND y will turn up results that have both x and y in them. x OR y will show you results that have either of x or y, and x NOT y will show you things that have x but not y. Use quotes when you want to search for an exact phrase, like “senior marketing associate.” You can even combine these — for example: marketing AND “public relations” or (marketing OR “public relations”) NOT content.


3. Connect with people — no InMail required. On the desktop, when you want to connect with someone, LinkedIn will ask you how you know that person. Chances are, you don’t know them personally (that’s why you’re reaching out, after all!). If you want a way around this, you can connect on mobile. You should still follow common decency rules though and not use this ability to spam people! Just offer to connect with people you genuinely are interested in connecting with.


4. Send personalized connection invitations from mobile. The easy one-tap connect can work for you if you think there’s a good chance the other person will accept your invite, but if you aren’t sure, it’s a good idea to send a more personalized note. Little-known fact: You can do this from your mobile device. Just go to the person’s profile and tap on the three dots in the top right corner. From there you can choose “personalize invite.” You’re a lot more likely to get a response if people don’t feel like you’re just spamming connections with anyone you find.

LinkedIn may take a bit of getting used to, but if you approach it with a giving attitude and a goal to simply meet people (rather than seeking things from them), we think you’ll find the career part of your life growing and expanding in ways you didn’t think possible. Who knows? You might even find your future billionaire business partner.

How do you use LinkedIn? Tell us @BritandCo!

(Photos via LinkedIn app)