Whether you are currently job hunting or not, getting started with LinkedIn will help you be ready when you need it. This post is a follow on to our earlier post about signing up with LinkedIn. It provides details of what to do next, and ways to make your LinkedIn account more professional.
What is LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a social networking site oriented to professional relationships. Each person can list information about their work experience as well as personal details. People can also connect with business associates, friends and other people, creating a network of relationships.
Once your network has been established, you can use LinkedIn to find other professionals to connect with. If you are looking for work, you can see who in your network is connected to people who might be related to your job hunt. If you are looking for a candidate to fill a job, you might find people in your network have referrals for you.
LinkedIn is also the most common site used by business people to look up someone they don’t know. This might be for a future job, or as the result of some action on your part. It is important to have a LinkedIn presence, as it presents a professional curated view of you.
Getting started on LinkedIn to help you be ready
To begin, you will need to create an account on LinkedIn.
Completing the sign up process will bring you to your LinkedIn page. The column on the left is about you. The wider column in the middle is your news feed, which contains information posted by people you are connected with. On the right is a column of additional information LinkedIn thinks you may be interested in, and a pop up box for sending personal messages to people.
When you click on your name, you will be able to view your profile. This is where you will curate the information about yourself that you want others to see.
There are several sections to a profile in LinkedIn. You should fill out as much information as you can in these sections.
Once you have the basic profile set up, there are still a few areas you should look at to help your profile stand out and look more professional.
Personalize your URL
The standard URL for a LinkedIn page includes a name and some random characters.
Set this URL to include your name and perhaps your industry, role or company name.
- Click on the head in the upper right corner of your page
- Choose View Profile
- Edit public profile and URL (Top right of page)
- Click on pencil next to Edit your custom URL (top right corner)
- Must be unique, and between 3-100 characters with no spaces or special characters)
Make sure that you upload a headshot photo, and a picture for your background. For both of these, click on the camera icons to upload or choose the photo you want to use. These give your LinkedIn profile a unique appearance that should that you took time to show yourself off.
Now connect with people, post articles, and comment on other people’s posts. In other words, interact and make yourself seen.
Connecting with People
Search for people you work with. Then request to connect with them by clicking the blue CONNECT button. This will send them a request to connect with you. Build from here and connect with a few more people. This takes time, don’t be in a rush. Some people are not on LinkedIn very often and may take some time to respond to you. Do not badger people.
When you look up people, you can see how many steps there are between you. If you are connected to them, then that is 1 – a direct connection. 2 means that you are connected to someone who is connected to them, and 3+ is anyone with a less direct connection. You can also see how many connections each person has. You will likely have an easier time getting people to connect to you who show that they use LinkedIn fully, by having many connections themselves.
Post links to articles that you have written or found helpful in your work. People you are connected with will see them and will be able to comment. This shows the kind of work that you do.
Link or comment on relevant articles that others have posted. By interacting with other’s articles, anniversary dates and posted information, you make deeper connections with people and keep your name at the forefront.
Be respectful of others’ time and attention. Don’t spam people or request connections with people that you have no real connection with. Provide value!
One resource that we recommend to help you get started on LinkedIn so that you are ready for that next job hunt is Kathy Vines Career Coach blog post.
The LinkedIn Blog also has a lot of good articles to help you get started.
If we can help you further, please call for an appointment. We are happy to help!