Question: I’ve been putting off using LinkedIn but the time has come! How should I get started?
Answer: Absolutely, LinkedIn can be a great online tool anytime but especially when ‘offline’ (person-to-person) approaches are just not possible. Being adaptable and looking for ways to keep moving forward is awesome – pat yourself on the back! Here are some getting started suggestions.
There’s kind of 2 major aspects to using LinkedIn, creating a profile and …. everything else! For some, your first step is to tackle your profile – go ahead, join now. Like a resume, your profile displays information about your skills, education and experience. It too reflects your professional self – but think of your profile as a resume with superpowers. There are lots of great resources available to help get you started or make updates to that dormant profile, here’s a few: our profile checklist, tips and of course, a YouTube video.
With your profile underway, there’s tackling the ‘everything else’ which includes connecting with others, joining groups and perhaps most importantly, job search. Making ‘connections’ is fundamental to the social networking intention of the platform. Think about who you know. Start with the obvious, first degree connections such as family, friends, co-workers and classmates then reach beyond to influencers, companies, professional associations and more. Keep up with connections through your feed and interact by using the like and comment functions. Likewise, you can share and create content for your network to learn from and enjoy.
Joining groups is an extension of connecting with others. Groups are hubs where professionals in the same industry or with similar interests ‘meet’ to share information, post content, make business contacts and even post jobs. To be a ‘groupie’ you will ‘request to join’ for access to other members and join conversations. Groups can be a great place to learn, share and be an active part of an online community.
Speaking of jobs, this functionality is likely the biggest evolution of LinkedIn. Just ask any recruiter if they use it to search for, vet and communicate with candidates and you’ll get a sense of the power of LinkedIn. As a job seeker, it can be equally useful:
- ask for recommendations or endorsements from your network contacts
- use the oh, so handy Jobs tab to see jobs recommended for you based on your profile
- set up job alerts
- learn from company profiles; keep track of their news and spot job openings
- build on relationships with your network and ask for referrals or set up an information ‘meeting’ over the phone or Skype.
So, put on your cape and share your superpowers with the LinkedIn world!