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v38_socialmediaSocial networking colossus LinkedIn can help journalists find sources, scoops and jobs. Some journalists, however, never get that far.

Krista Canfield leads LinkedIn’s free journalist training sessions, and she knows exactly where most people go wrong.

Mistake #1: Not Using LinkedIn Advanced Jobs Search as a Reporting Tool

Curious to find out what positions your beat company is hiring for? Want to get a sense for the direction companies you follow could be going in? LinkedIn’s Advanced Jobs Search lets you easily look for jobs that certain companies have posted on LinkedIn. If you work for a local network affiliate, you can use the tool to search for jobs by ZIP code to find out which businesses are booming in your area.

Mistake #2: Having a Lackluster Professional Headline

Given that journalism is your profession, you should have an attention-grabbing headline on your profile. If you don’t fill this portion out, the default displays your most recent job title and company name in search results. Take a few minutes to craft an enticing professional headline that will draw in other professionals. It could be “Freelance writer who’s interested in working with clients that have amazing stories to tell” or “Banking industry beat reporter who’s always looking for stellar scoops,” Canfield suggests.

Mistake #3: Using LinkedIn’s Basic People Search and Calling it a Day

When you’re looking for expert sources, you can use LinkedIn Skills to search for professionals with precisely the kind of expertise you need, from experts in bodybuilding, to Hadoop professionals. Remember to add the LinkedIn Skills you have (like headline writing and AP Style), to your own profile. LinkedIn Advanced People Search lets you search not only for editors who live in your ZIP code, but also for former employees of certain companies if you’re hitting a “no comment” roadblock on a big story.

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