Cheat Sheet

LinkedIn For Dummies

Signing on to LinkedIn means you’re part of the largest online professional network in the world. Look here for helpful guidelines for using LinkedIn, especially when job searching. LinkedIn helps you create and maintain an online profile you can then use to build a professional network.

10 Steps to Build Your LinkedIn Network

The more you do, the more contacts you could have in your LinkedIn network! If you want to build and expand your LinkedIn network, follow these steps:

  1. Fill out your LinkedIn profile.

  2. Check for former colleagues and classmates who are on LinkedIn by using specific LinkedIn search tools.

  3. Import your Outlook contacts.

  4. Import your Webmail contacts.

  5. Check for people who share a group or affiliation with you.

  6. Go through your business cards for potential contacts and search for them on LinkedIn. Send them an invitation or Request to Join.

  7. Search through your first-degree network connections.

  8. Advertise yourself by joining and participating in LinkedIn Groups.

  9. Use the People You May Know feature.

  10. Meet people on LinkedIn (through LinkedIn Groups, Jobs, and People Search) and then invite them to join your network.

10 Tips for Enhancing Your LinkedIn Profile

Your LinkedIn profile page is your personal home page to the business world. To enhance your profile, log in to your LinkedIn account, click Profile, and choose Edit Profile from the top navigation bar that appears. Then follow these tips:

  • Create a customized URL. For example, you can set up your LinkedIn profile to be found at www.linkedin.com/in/joelelad instead of the default, which could be www.linkedin.com/in/4JPA678.

  • Add a professional-looking head shot photo to your profile (something classy).

  • Add your past employers so as many former co-workers as possible can find you.

  • Make sure your professional headline emphasizes any keywords you want to use to promote yourself.

  • Make your profile public and set it to Full View so your LinkedIn profile shows up in web search results.

  • Add links from your LinkedIn profile to websites you are trying to promote, like your blog, e-commerce store, or company website.

  • For web site links that you add to your profile, select Other and rename each link to include meaningful keywords. For example, instead of calling it “My Blog,” call it “Joel’s E-Commerce Product Blog.”

  • Include all of your main e-mail addresses in your profile so people can connect with you. LinkedIn does not display your e-mail addresses to the public; it simply keeps your e-mail addresses on file when someone tries to connect with you.

  • Fill in the Summary field of your profile with your critical skills and important career-related keywords, and be sure to fill out the Skills section with your skill list as well.

  • Add a link to your LinkedIn profile in your e-mail signature file.

General LinkedIn Tips

To make effective use of the functionality and advantages of LinkedIn, stay updated, and enhance your professional life, keep these helpful LinkedIn tips in mind:

  • Start leaving recommendations for first-degree network connections that you feel have earned a great one.

  • Invest a good amount of time upfront to create a great, detailed profile.

  • Spend a small but productive amount of time, on a consistent basis, to update and maintain your LinkedIn network.

  • Use lots of search terms in advanced search to find the right person. If you get no results, remove one or two words and try again.

  • Research someone on LinkedIn before meeting him in a job interview or business meeting.

  • Do a reference check on any potential job hires using LinkedIn before you make an offer to candidates.

  • Scan through your network updates to stay current on what your network is doing.

  • Use the LinkedIn Status Update function (Share an Update) to keep your network appraised of your business.

Using LinkedIn to Search for a Job

LinkedIn is a great way to help you use professional networking to job search. Here are some helpful hints when using LinkedIn to look for employment:

  • Make sure your profile is up-to-date, accurate, and matches whatever you provide to a hiring manager or recruiter.

  • Stay on top of your network updates so you know if someone in your network has been promoted or switched jobs to a company where you would like to work.

  • Use Advanced People search to find second- or third-degree network members who work at a desired target company. Request an introduction to those people and ask for advice or an informational interview.

  • Connect with everyone you have worked with, because these people know your professional capabilities well and could potentially recommend you on LinkedIn.

  • Make sure your profile highlights measurable accomplishments you achieved at your jobs. For example, instead of saying that you “managed the sales force,” say “I managed a 37% growth in revenue in the last four quarters.”

  • Do a search and connect with as many recruiters you can find who look for jobs in your target industry or job focus.

  • Use LinkedIn Company pages to see which of your network connections works at a particular company, has recently been promoted at that company, and specific information about the company that you need for your cover letter and interview.

  • Don’t forget to use LinkedIn’s job board. As of this writing, there are millions of postings available when you search the web on LinkedIn’s job board.

  • If you find and apply for a job using LinkedIn’s job board, see if the job poster is someone in your extended network. If so, ask for a referral or introduction to that person so you can connect with her and make a great impression!

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