LinkedIn 101: Getting Started

LinkedIn 101: Getting Started

by Kerry Scott on 13 July 2009

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It’s LinkedIn Week on Clue Wagon.  I’ve received a lot of questions from readers and friends lately on how to effectively use LinkedIn to connect with people who can help in your job search.  It’s been over a year since I used LinkedIn from the recruiting side of the desk, so I wanted to talk to some experts who are currently using this tool to find candidates.  Two people very generously offered to spend time answering a bunch of questions from readers.  They are:

Today we’ll focus on the very basics.  On Tuesday, we’ll talk about managing your connections.  Wednesday we’ll focus on the effective use of LinkedIn Groups.  On Thursday we’ll wrap up with information on some of LinkedIn’s other features, like profile pictures, recommendations, and status updates.

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Let’s get started!

How much detail about my various positions should I include in my profile?  Should it be the same as my resume, or just the title and dates of employment?

JENNIFER: If you’re trying to be found, then you’ll want to include enough information to be of interest to those searching for you. Use keywords throughout your Profile and think about the words or terms someone searching for you within LinkedIn would be using. Including much of the same information from your resume is okay, but I’d suggest using a more narrative form to appear approachable and interesting. Your LinkedIn Profile is your “on-line marketing brochure”. If you were handing a brochure to someone describing your product (you), it hopefully wouldn’t be written like a resume. It would be written to engage the recipient and entice them to “buy”. Write your LinkedIn profile like a marketer would.

BETSY: Tell enough information to pique someone’s interest, but don’t give it all away!  I think you should include company name, your title and dates of employment (month/year) and then include 2-3 of your major responsibilities.  Keep it short enough that people will read it, but juicy enough that they want to read it.

KERRY’S NOTE: Keep in mind that people will compare the resume and your LinkedIn profile to make sure they sync up.  Kris Dunn at HR Capitalist had a great piece on why LinkedIn profiles are more accurate than resumes.

I’ve spent a whole week connecting to people, joining groups and setting up a rock star profile.  Now what?

JENNIFER: Spend some time with LinkedIn each day or a few times a week. Check the Status Updates, Profile Updates and activities of those in your network on your Home Page. Respond to their Status Updates, congratulate them on their new job when they update their Profile, etc. You can also see who the people you know are connecting to and you may find some contacts that you’d also like to connect to or get an Introduction to them from your contact.

In general, don’t create your LinkedIn profile and neglect it. Use LinkedIn as a way to stay connected to those in your network, share what you’re doing, and to find contacts, resources and information.

BETSY: Now, it’s time for you to help your network.  You know the saying, “Give and you shall receive.”  Well, I find that is true for LinkedIn, too.  If someone in your network asks to be introduced to someone, introduce them.  If they ask you to forward a connection request, forward it.

Log in to LinkedIn daily, check your networks’ status updates – if you notice someone got a promotion, or took a new job, congratulate them.  Each time you initiate contact you increase your goodwill with your connections.

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