2. Ask for recommendations "Your background needs to represent you in the best possible way," Ide says. "It's always hard to say great things about yourself, but you need to have those things up there, and that's where recommendations come in." It's most beneficial when people who can speak to the quality of your work are the ones who recommend you, Ide explains. While it's great if a college professor can offer their support, it's best if a former boss or direct report can contribute thoughts about their recent one-on-one experiences with you. Additionally, Brown says that targeted recommendations are the most beneficial. "It's not enough to have a recommendation that says, 'He is a nice person.' You've got to have one that highlights your transferable skill set." To ask someone for a recommendation, Ide says a simple approach is best. "Say to them, 'One of the things I am trying to be aware of is my social profile, and I'm trying to better my LinkedIn presence. I know you have a good idea of the quality of work I produce -- would you mind writing a recommendation?'" Of course, when you ask for a recommendation, be prepared to reciprocate, Ide says. "Before you reach out, consider whether or not you'd feel comfortable writing one for them, because there's a good chance they'll ask," he says.
3. Keep up your LinkedIn relationships and have a voice "One of the big reasons people use LinkedIn is to be exposed to different opportunities -- even if you're not currently job hunting and the timing isn't perfect," Ide says. "People are constantly evaluating one another on LinkedIn, so it's important to be engaged at times when you're not actively job seeking." One way to stay involved on LinkedIn is through groups. Depending on the business, Ide recommends joining somewhere between four and seven groups, allowing you to participate in discussions and demonstrate your knowledge of the industry. "Leverage the power of affinity groups," Brown says. "Everything from alumni associations to professional organizations are great ways to stay connected. You also want to look for professional associations and interest groups in the space where you want to be, even if you're not quite there yet."