When it comes to networking, the power of a traditional approach wins out in many cases. Being face to face with another person, and adding value directly, is incredibly beneficial. But what about digital networking? Can it be used as a tool to create leads, form relationships, find more opportunities, and gain mentorship?

Absolutely. And the best way to go about networking, digitally, is to use LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is an invaluable networking resource you can’t afford to ignore.

2017 was the year LinkedIn surpassed countless expectations. There are over 250 million active users on the platform, and 41% of millionaires use the platform as well. There are over 39 million students and recent graduates on the platform. And there are over 1 billion endorsements on LinkedIn as of right now.

But what does this all mean? It means that influential people–people who can help you on your journey–use LinkedIn.

It also means your peers are using the platform, and that endorsements are given out in massive amounts.

Endorsements show others that your skills are valued by a mentor, client, employer, coworker or peer.

Those are powerful statistics. And endorsements alone are incredibly valuable. They allow future potential employers, allies, and mentors to see just what it is you’re incredible at.

LinkedIn also has 3 million active job listings. Depending on your path in life, this is an incredible boon. Paired with endorsements, and the potential to reach out to influential people that can support you and lift you up, you can’t ignore the power of the platform.

How do I use LinkedIn for networking?

Make your LinkedIn profile stand out.

You’ll want to have a high quality portrait against a standard background (which is preferable) for your profile picture.

Make sure to have a summary that explains your goals, what you’ve accomplished, and who you are as a professional person.

List your current experiences in the work experiences section. It’s okay if you don’t have a lot right now, but you can include extracurricular activities, that you are partaking in LEAP’s programs, a study program, or any internships you may have.

Make sure to have a header image that helps show just what you’re interested in, and who you are as a person. You can use a platform like Unsplash to find a free image to use.

Post interesting content that gets people engaged.

Do you want to get seen by as many people as possible, have your ideas shared, and form relationships quickly? Consider posting status updates that ask questions, share your opinions, your successes, and even your failures.

Add as many valuable people to your network as possible, using something like Gmail, Facebook or Twitter to invite users to connect.

Then, when you make a post or a status update, tag them by using the @ symbol. They’ll see what you wrote.

Including a question, or perhaps providing a solution to a common problem, or even just sharing about your journey, can net you eyes on your professional life.

How do I use LinkedIn to build professional relationships?

LinkedIn is first and foremost a professional network. Be mindful of what you post and write, because potential employers, allies, and mentors will see what you’re making, liking, sharing, and commenting on.

When someone adds you to their network, or you add them, include a personalized message within LinkedIn’s messaging system. It’s always best to ask how or if you can help them, and use your knowledge of different personality types to bolster your messaging.

This will ensure you grow your network, and undoubtedly you’ll be able to leverage it to pursue and succeed in your professional goals.

Networking on LinkedIn is vital to your professional development.

Sharing your goals, connecting with others, and expanding your professional presence is easier than ever with LinkedIn.