According to the LinkedIn site, “Over 90 million professionals use LinkedIn to exchange information, ideas and opportunities.”
Why should you use it? It’s a great online resume if you are job hunting. It lets you connect to business partners and current and former colleagues. LinkedIn says you can find the people and knowledge that you need to achieve your goals. And you control your professional identity online.
Getting Started If you aren’t on it, it’s easy to get started — go to www.Linkedin.com. Enter your name and email address and create a password. Now you are on LinkedIn.
Complete Profile You’re going to want to create a profile that is 100 percent complete. LinkedIn makes that easy by informing you how you are progressing. Start by adding your current position. Then add at least your two past positions. Include details about your education. Write a summary of your background/experiences.
Profile Photo Add a professional photograph so that people can identify and connect with you. If you introduced yourself to a dozen people at a conference, your photo will help them remember the conversation.
Build Your Network Then begin building your network of relevant connections. You can grow your list of LinkedIn connections through webmail contacts (email contacts who are already on LinkedIn), colleagues and classmates, and through networking on LinkedIn groups.
Recommendations Recommendations are an important part of your LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn suggests that users with recommendations are three times as likely to get inquiries through LinkedIn searches. To initiate a recommendation request, go to the Profile tab and select Recommendations. There you will find a list of your jobs and education and you can choose what you want to be recommended for, decide whom you’ll ask, create your customized message and send from within LinkedIn. Don’t hesitate to offer guidance on what you would like them to highlight in their recommendation. If possible, return the favor by recommending them.
Next time I’ll write about how to maximize your LinkedIn experience.