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There aren’t many among us who don’t know about LinkedIn and use it to maintain an online presence for our professional persona and job searching.  With over 150 million users, LinkedIn remains, according to Entrepreneur, “the most powerful business intelligence knowledge base on the Internet.”  Gaining maximum benefit from LinkedIn, however, requires more than simply setting up a LinkedIn profile.  LinkedIn provides tools that can drive traffic to you personally, thereby increasing your visibility and, in so doing, strengthening your personal brand.

LinkedIn Answers and Job SearchingFor those engaged in job searching, perhaps one of the most valuable LinkedIn tools is LinkedIn Answers.  This component of LinkedIn allows you to get fast and accurate answers to your questions.  It also provides a forum via which you can demonstrate your knowledge and expertise by offering information to your network and beyond.  Remember that unlike other social networking sites, LinkedIn is all about projecting a professional online image.  When it comes to your career, your online personality should be strictly business.

So, why is LinkedIn Answers a key component of your job searching?  Well, although society constantly tells you “it’s not about you,” job searching is, in fact, all about you.  LinkedIn Answers provides you the ability to place your business acumen, professional expertise and problem-solving skills on constant display.  Using LinkedIn Answers also gives you the opportunity to stay in touch with your Connections while growing your network (if you are diligent and regularly refresh your content).

There are 20 categories in which you can use LinkedIn Answers to both ask and answer questions.  Effective use of this tool provides you with a supplement to your resume and enhance your job searching activities.  Think of it this way:  LinkedIn Answers is, essentially, a way for you to provide examples of your work product, decision making skills and/or thought process in real time and on an interactive basis.

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Job searching using LinkedIn Answers is actually a subtle way to do so.  Whether you are unemployed, underemployed, or are looking to change jobs, LinkedIn Answers allows you to build a professional reputation and learn about job opportunities without going through the usual methods of onsite listings, job board postings, and the like.  in other words, the questions and answers you post on LinkedIn Answers allows you to get noticed without having to worry about whether your resume has made its way to the desk of someone who might actually read it.

Before you utilize this great tool, however, a quick refresher about LinkedIn is probably in order:

  • If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, create one.
  • Make sure you complete all the steps necessary to post a full profile.
  • Have someone you trust critique your LinkedIn page.  Tell that person to review it as if you were a stranger.
  • Establish as many Connections as possible.  The key to LinkedIn success is making as many Connections as possible because they, in turn, have Connections.

Now that you’re set to share your professional personality on the Internet, you are ready to utilize LinkedIn Answers to its fullest.  When you post thoughtful, well-written questions that require detailed answers, you’re likely to receive thoughtful, well-written answers.  And if you, in turn, provide answers to questions, this example of your work product will be read by scores of business people to whom you can demonstrate your expertise.  Done well, this effort can create for you an online reputation as an expert in your field.  Once you’re known as a “go to” guy or lady, your job searching prospects will look much brighter.

Is using LinkedIn Answers to demonstrate your expertise and build your personal brand is great when job searching a good idea?  Without question.