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 and create and maintain an online profile you can then use to build a professional network.
How 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, apply these steps:
Fill out your LinkedIn profile.
Check for former colleagues and classmates who are on LinkedIn by using specific LinkedIn search tools.
Import your Outlook contacts.
Import your Webmail contacts.
Check for people who share a group or affiliation with you.
Go through your business cards for potential contacts and search for them on LinkedIn. Send them an Invite or Request to Join.
Search through your 1st degree network connections.
Advertise yourself through LinkedIn Answers.
Use the People You May Know feature.
Meet people on LinkedIn (through LinkedIn Answers, Groups, Jobs, and People Search) and then invite them to your network.
How to Enhance Your LinkedIn Profile
Your LinkedIn profile page is your personal home page to the business world. To enhance your profile, log into your LinkedIn account, click Profile, choose Edit from the top-left navigation menu 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 as many past employers as you have had so the most amount of former co-workers 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 will show up in Web search results.
Add links from your LinkedIn profile to Web sites you are trying to promote, like your blog, e-commerce store, or company Web site.
For Web site links that you add to your profile, select Other and rename each link to include meaningful keywords, so instead of it saying My Blog it would say 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; they simply keep your e-mail addresses on file when someone tries to connect with you.
Fill out the Summary field of your profile with all of 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 professional photo to your profile (something classy).
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, to stay updated, and to enhance your professional life, keep these helpful LinkedIn tips in mind:
Start leaving recommendations for 1st degree network connections that you feel have earned a great one.
Invest a good amount of time up front 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 or her 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.
Get some free market research by posting a question on LinkedIn Answers.
Scan through your Network Updates to stay aware of what your network is doing.
Use the LinkedIn Status Update function (Share an Update) to keep your network apprised of your business.
LinkedIn Job Searching Tips
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 2nd or 3rd degree network connections that work at a desired target company. Request an Introduction to that person and ask for advice or an informational interview.
Advertise your skills and knowledge by answering questions posted in LinkedIn Answers.
Connect with everyone you have worked with, since these people know your professional capabilities well and could potentially recommend you on LinkedIn.
Make sure your profile highlights as many measurable accomplishments that you did at your jobs. For example, instead of saying that you managed the sales force, it would be better if you stated that I managed a 37% growth in revenue in the last four quarters.
Do a search and connect with as many recruiters you can find that 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. Currently, 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 him or her and make a great impression!