Linkedin.com is different from other social networks. This site was developed for the sole purpose of professional interaction.  Registration is free and only takes a few minutes. However, if you want to build a complete profile, it may take longer. Also, if you would like premium services like being able to connect with people who are not in your network or whom you do not know, you can pay a monthly fee to upgrade your membership. For job searchers, a monthly investment of $20-$50 may be worth it to find a great career.

People from all types of industries and at all levels of technical, professional and managerial responsibility are using it to keep abreast of new developments in their field, to share information with others and to further their career aspirations.

  • Build a Strong LinkedIn Profile:

The more complete and robust your profile, the more professional contacts will find you, the more opportunities will come your way. 

    1. Include keywords in your summary statement.  The summary statement gives you a chance to share the highlights of your bio in your own words.  Be sure to include keywords and phrases that someone might type into a search engine to find a person like you.  Not sure what words are most compelling and search friendly?  Check out the profiles of other professionals in your field.
    2. Post a friendly photo
    3. Write for the screen.  This is not the place for long-form prose.  Present your summary statement in short blocks of text with lots of white space.  Bullet points are great, too.
    4. List all experience.  One of the most valuable aspects of LinkedIn is the way it connects you with former colleagues and classmates, who are some of our best networking contacts. LinkedIn prefers that you list at least 3 positions.
    5. Add skills, professional associations and interests to your profile. 
    6. Collect diverse recommendations.  Nothing builds creditability like third-party endorsements.  The most impressive LinkedIn profiles have at least one recommendation associate with each job a person has held. Think about soliciting recommendations from colleagues and teachers. It’s best to phone the individual first, and after they have agreed, send a request through LinkedIn for a recommendation.
    7. Share your news.  A great way to stay on other people’s radar screens is to update your “status” at least once a week.  Tell people about events you attend, major projects completed, books you are reading, successes you are celebrating, or any other news that you would tell someone at a networking reception or on a quick catch-up phone call. Again, keep it professional. This is not the place to share information about your child(ren) or your recent vacation.
  • Once you have a great profile, you will want to start building new connections and getting involved in valuable conversations in LinkedIn Groups (www.linkedin.com/groupsDirectory).  These are communities of professionals based on common interest, experience, affiliation and goals.  Join a few and you will find areas for discussion, job postings, event announcements, news dissemination and more.

Once you become a member of a group, you can access the other group members’ profiles even if you are not directly connected to them. This is a great resource for finding the individuals who are involved in hiring for an organization.

  •  Tips about networking and finding jobs on LinkedIn:
    1. Build a strong professional profile.
    2. Connect with friends and family.
    3. Ask for answers.  The answers feature on LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com/answers) is a place where students can ask a question to the entire LinkedIn network.
    4. Research companies and career paths.
    5. Find additional guidance in the LinkedIn Grad Guide (http://grads.linkedin.com). 

 

 Excerpted from “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About LinkedIn” by Lindsey Pollak (NACE Journal, November 2009 Edition)