There’s no denying it: LinkedIn has changed my life for the better. It’s given me the ability to discover opportunities, initiate conversations, and maintain relationships in unprecedented ways. Let me explain:

1. Discover Opportunities – shortly after college I applied for a Sales Associate role through LinkedIn with Wildfire Interactive, a small start-up in Silicon Valley. Two weeks later, I rolled up into Palo Alto with all my earthly belongings loaded up in the flatbed of a 1983 Isuzu Pup.

Wildfire has been one of the most enriching and rewarding experiences of my life. Case and point: breaking it down after an exhilarating team meeting. Love these amazing people! (Photo credit: Alain Chuard)

Smiling and dialing (Photo credit: George Lawrence IV)

2. Initiate Conversations – In 2011, I had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet and shake hands with the President through LinkedIn! As a bit of context, over the past 3 years I’ve frequently submitted product feedback and was therefore invited join the “Friends of LinkedIn” community. So when the LinkedIn team hosted a Town Hall with President Obama discussing job creation, I was honored to be allowed to sit in the front row – and learned that the President really is strikingly tall in person.

3. Maintain Relationships – LinkedIn has become one of the primary tools I use to manage relationships, whether it’s staying in touch with an old colleague/classmate or following up with a new potential business partner. Just like a CRM stays open in the browser I always have LinkedIn queued up to stay atop of industry news and updates from within my network. Something simple like a promotion, birthday, or new profile picture is a wonderful reminder to send a quick note celebrating in their success, share a relevant article, or to just take time to reconnect with colleagues/friends.

In summary, LinkedIn truly has altered the way I approach opportunities, conversations, and relationships.

Now there’s a fourth a way to leverage the LinkedIn platform: Building a Personal Brand. LinkedIn has introduced publishing/content creation, a new feature to empower members. At the end of February LinkedIn decided to grow their content generating machine even more by opening up the LinkedIn publishing platform to members. The initial launch included 25,000 members with plans to roll out the feature for more users over the next few months.

So naturally as a power-user of LinkedIn and overall digital marketing guy — I’ve taken my first crack at content creation. Now I would love to hear from you! How has LinkedIn impacted your career, and what unexpected connections or opportunities have you stumbled upon? Add your comments to my LinkedIn post.

Editor’s Note: This story was originally posted on George’s profile via LinkedIn’s publishing platform. If LinkedIn has helped you transform your career or business, please share your story with us. If you need more inspiration, check out our Member Stories blog series.