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Introduction to LinkedIn

By Meaghan Marshall, Jan 1 2015 10:30AM

We begin our introduction to LinkedIn assuming you have been out of the loop since 2003, when LinkedIn was first launched, and start with the very basics.

What is LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional networking site with 300+ million uses worldwide and over 4 million members in Australia.

LinkedIn is used for three main purposes:

• Establishing a professional online presence.

• Managing and building your professional network; keeping in contact with colleagues and establishing new professional connections.

• Discovering new opportunities; potentially you could find new a job, business deal or other new venture.

Why Should I Use LinkedIn?

We have covered before the importance of a professional online presence to your career and LinkedIn is the ultimate tool in creating a professional online presence.

A LinkedIn profile is like a modern, electronic ‘beefed up’ business card. It is at a basic level your resume online with the opportunity to include extras like testimonial and endorsements.

LinkedIn is particularly useful if you are a job seeker. You can search for opportunities via the LinkedIn job board section or create a compelling profile and opportunities might find you.

LikendIn is a valuable tool for professional networking. The importance of professional networking is well documented. We have written about professional networking previously here. Professional networking is about maintaining professional relationships with others for the purpose of mutual benefit in your work or career. LinkedIn allows you to manage this process.

How Do I Get Started on LinkedIn?

Step One: To join visit: LinkedIn

You will note there is a basic (free) and premium account options. A premium account will cost you a fee each month and give you access to more features. For most the basic option will be sufficient.

Step Two: Write Your Profile

Fill in the details of your past employment and education history. The more detail you complete the easier it will be for people to find and connect with you. Use the summary section to provide a concise overview of your professional self and achievements.

Remember that your LinkedIn profile is a powerful tool in building your online profile and establishing your brand. Keep it professional and as polished as your resume.

Writing a LinkedIn profile however is not as simple as cut and pasting your resume. Writing for LinkedIn does have some differences. We will be covering the key difference in a future post.

Step Three: Upload a Photo

Adding a photo increases the credibility of your profile. Make sure you use a professional photo to ensure a positive impression.

Step Four: Make Connections

Begin to grow your network by making connections. LinkedIn automatically recommends people you might know based on your details and existing contacts. You can also use the search function to find people you wish to connect with.

It is good practice when reaching out to personalise invitations and also explain the mutual value of your connection.

Step Five: Gather recommendations and endorsements

A well written recommendation adds great value to your profile. Get in touch with colleagues, current or former managers to gather recommendations and endorsements.

Step Six: Participate in Groups

Group participation is a great way to extend your networking activity. Joining groups can help you keep updated on industry news, join discussions, share insights and discover new opportunities. You can also gain further connections connecting with those in mutual groups.

Now you are introduced to LinkedIn we will begin to look more closely at writing a quality profile. My next post will cover writing a LinkedIn Headline.

Related Content:

LinkedIn Etiquette

Writing Your Linkedin Profile for Visibility

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