Everything a first time user should know about LinkedIn

LinkedIn

Katy Young’s Guide to… LinkedIn Everything a first time user should know about LinkedIn. Read the e-book here.

After the first ten minutes I spent on LinkedIn, I was converted. It is perhaps the easiest to navigate and understand of all the social media sites I have used.

The ethos of LinkedIn is designed around networking. It acts like an online address book and personalised CV which are both available for any other user to view.

The professional nature of LinkedIn means that there are no gimmicky titles for functions, a group is a group and a post is just that. Your profile is divided in to a simple structure of sections, ‘Summary’, ‘Experience’, ‘Education’ etc.

Whilst it may be more straightforward to understand, as with any social media site there are still hundreds of hidden rules and etiquettes to abide by. The danger with LinkedIn is that it is more high risk. Get your LinkedIn persona wrong and every potential employer who searches for you in their recruitment process (and believe me, most of them do) will be put off.

During my research for this guide I came across two strands of thought amongst LinkedIn gurus. The first advocated a more clinical approach – use up every last character on your profile; stuff your information with keywords so that you appear right at the top of searches; you need to get 500+ connections and as many endorsements and recommendations you can lay your hands on!

Whilst this method may get you to the top of LinkedIn searches for your profession (and is one way of getting your name on people’s radar) once users click on your profile you are at risk of appearing to play the system.

The alternative method is more about subtly establishing yourself as the leader in your field, through your use of LinkedIn groups and posts of relevant material. The focus is on quality not quantity. Instead of ‘keyword stuffing’ on your profile, you should be trying to convey charm and personality.

As you may already be able to tell, I would place myself in the second camp. However, that does not mean there aren’t things to be learnt from the first approach, there is still a time to be pro-active and push your profile under someone’s nose, its just not all the time. In my guide I have tried to strike the balance between the two.

My guide is split in to two sections. The first section, the ‘Beginner’s Step by Step Guide’  follows through the process of setting up your account, choosing your profile photo and designing your CV.

The second section, the ‘Expert Guide’, refers to clever more advanced ways to get the most out of LinkedIn. These include statuses, introductions and ways to use LinkedIn in your job search.

Throughout the entire guide there are handy ‘Key Tips’, things that I wish I had known from the beginning when I was setting up my account.

To see the full guide in e-book format.

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