First of all sign up if you have not, today! The basic service is free! And fill out the entire profile. Include as much information in your profile as you can. This includes simple hobbies, interest, and associations that are important to you. Those profiles show up in Google searches, so others will be able to view the information. If you understand “personal branding” of YOU, then you know the benefit of this. The more positive points of reference to you on the web the better (as long as they are real).
Here is the conundrum. In a world where the number is never done and bosses or stockholders are breathing down your neck, when do you find time to network? You cannot find it, you must schedule it. As a first hint, I challenge you to find 5% of your week, every week, just to connect. You already know who is falling out of your network. You also know those that you really need to retain. Call them, tell them you care, send them a card, and reconnect. The worst time to reconnect is always when you need something. Ever get a call from a long lost collegue with a resume in his hand? Don’t be that person.
A referral group can be one of your best resources for developing new business. The steps are simple; however, the execution requires an investment of time from you.