LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional networking, with over 500M users worldwide, and has become a must-have in the life of any professional and certainly for all job seekers.
Your profile serves as an online resume and the site is a powerful database to help you connect with like minded professionals, search for job openings, come to the attention of recruiters, and conduct research on people and organizations as you prepare for informational and job interviews. With a strong profile and a strategic approach to making connections, you will have a competitive advantage.
- Creating Your LinkedIn Profile
- LinkedIn Tips and Guidelines
- Making Connections on LinkedIn
- Using LinkedIn for Networking and Job Search
- LinkedIn Resources
Creating Your LinkedIn Profile
LinkedIn provides easy to follow instructions on how to create an account, develop your profile, and begin connecting to friends and colleagues. You can sign up to LinkedIn here. Follow these guidelines as you create or update your profile:
- Use your computer rather than the LinkedIn mobile app
- Turn off “Notify Network” while creating or updating
- Use the name you use in your professional life
- Use an email that is professional (may or may not be your current work email)
- Get a Personalized LinkedIn URL (see LinkedIn’s help section for instructions)
- Make sure your profile is public.
- Start with the basics and build content over time
For additional support and suggestions, utilize LinkedIn’s help page to answer questions.
Is it worth paying for a Premium LinkedIn account?
Having a free account on LinkedIn allows you to access a wide range of tools so until you have exhausted all of the free resources, it is probably unnecessary to pay for a Premium account.
LinkedIn Tips and Guidelines
Before building out your own profile, read the profiles of others in your profession to get ideas about how to describe your experience, what skills to add, industry groups to join, and companies to follow. Follow these basic tips and guidelines to begin creating an effective profile:
- Ensure your resume and LinkedIn profile mirror each other but include additional details on your accomplishments and projects on LinkedIn.
- Fully develop your profile, using as many sections as are relevant to your experience. This will maximize your chance of showing up in a hiring manager’s search.
- Upload a professional looking head and shoulders profile picture in which you are looking at the camera and smiling.
- Create a professional headline that sums up your professional identity in a short phrase or with a few key words.
- Have a clear, concise summary that communicates your brand and focuses on your experience, career goals, and interests.
- Make social impact a part of your professional identity by adding your volunteer experience and causes you care about.
- Add and prioritize relevant skills.
- Seek Endorsements and Recommendations and give them in return.
- Follow companies that interest you and maximize group affiliations (industry, school) that match your experience and interests.
- Publish status updates, comment on posts, ask questions in groups, engage with your connections and the companies you follow. Keep your profile up to date.
Making Connections on LinkedIn
Your LinkedIn connections should consist, primarily, of people you know although you may want to add some industry leaders or others who you may not know but who are engaged in work similar to what you are currently doing or would like to do as you move your career forward. Consider connecting with:
- Current And Previous Co-Workers And Supervisors
- Industry Leaders
- Teachers And Professors
- Fellow Alumni
- Friends And Family
Always, customize the message for any connection request you send by adding a sentence or two describing why you want to connect with the person. For example, “It was a pleasure meeting you at the training class yesterday and I would like to connect with you on LinkedIn.”
Using LinkedIn for Networking and Job Search
- Begin with your first-degree connections to see whom you might want to network with to learn about a career path or industry.
- Leverage your first-degree connections to broaden your network by asking if they will make an introduction or if you can use their name in reaching out to have a conversation with second-degree connections.
- Make connections with employees at companies that you might want to work for or that you admire.
- Join and tap into connections within relevant LinkedIn Groups such as professional associations, alumni groups, or groups related to your field of interest.
- Follow companies or organizations for which you are interested in working.
- LinkedIn is becoming a “go-to” site for companies to post job openings so incorporate reviewing the LinkedIn Jobs section into your regular job board review.
- Under the “Jobs” tab, set up job alerts and update your preferences to match your ideal industry, job title, and skill set.
- If you are applying for a job, search your LinkedIn connections to see if you have a first-degree or second-degree connection to someone at that organization who may be able to provide you with some insight into the position, help you make a connection to someone at the organization, or perhaps even put in a good word for you.
- If you are interviewing with a company, review the LinkedIn profiles of their employees to get a feel for the background and experience of their staff. Also, research the organization and gathering information about the background and experience of the people with whom you will interview.
- Set up a LinkedIn account
- LinkedIn’s Help Page will provide you with tips for developing your profile.
- LinkedIn offers several helpful webinars on setting up your profile and getting the most out of LinkedIn.
- LinkedIn’s Official Cheat Sheet for Attracting Great Opportunities.