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Using LinkedIn for professional development Enhance your professional network; let the world know your achievements!

Ευδοκία Ρόκα (MEd. in TESOL - HOU) Εκπαιδευτικός αγγλικής και γαλλικής γλώσσας (1. BA in English Language & Literature, (2. BA in French Language & Literature: National & Kapodistrian University of Athens)


No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form - except for teaching purposes in Greek State Schools with prior acknowledgement of the author/s.

Απαγορεύεται η αναδημοσίευση και γενικά η αναπαραγωγή του παρόντος έργου με οποιονδήποτε τρόπο - εκτός από τη χρήση του για εκπαιδευτικούς λόγους στα Ελληνικά Δημόσια Σχολεία μετά από προηγούμενη αναφορά στον συγγραφέα ή τους συγγραφείς.

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Contents

Page

Introduction

5

1. What is LinkedIn?

7

2. LinkedIn Glossary

8

2.1 Profile

8

2.2 Connections

9

2.3 Groups

9

2.4 Recommendations

10

2.5 Company page

11

2.6 InMail

11

2.7 Advanced Search

11

2.8 Alumni Tool

11

2.9 News

12

2.10 Applications

12

3. Use LinkedIn signal for prospecting

14

4. Fill out your LinkedIn “Interests” and “Skills & Expertise”

14

sections

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5. Languages

15

6. Take advantage of the “Who’s viewed your profile” tool

15

7. Tap LinkedIn company searches to find new business

16

contacts

8. Expand your group membership

17

9. Upgraded account

18

Conclusion

20

YouTube Τutorials

21

LinkedIn Resources

21

Bibliography

22

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Introduction “Web 2.0” refers to the new generation of web based services and communities characterized by participation, collaboration and sharing of information among users online. Web 2.0 applications include wikis, blogs and social networking sites which encourage user-generated content and social interaction online.

Social Web defines how Web 2.0 tends to

interact much more with the end user and make the end-user an integral part.

Social media are the outcome of what we call “web 2.0” i.e. the interactive use of the web. In contrast to web 1.0, the content/meaning is not just read, but socially constructed through online communities. It

includes

the

growth

of

social

networks

and

bi-directional

communication. Social media is a specific part of the Internet: it is not sending an email, buying an item from Amazon.com or enrolling in an online class. Social media is “user-generated”. This means that the public is able to change, alter and/or contribute while sharing in that application. The categories of social media that were created by Kaplan and Haenlein (2010) are:  Collaborative Projects (such as Wikis)  Blogs (such as BlogSpot)  Content Communities (such as Pinterest)  Social Network Services (such as Facebook)  Virtual Game Worlds (such as World of Warcraft)  Virtual Social Worlds (such as Second Life) Evdokia Roka

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Many people mistake social media for Facebook. However, Facebook is a specific application in the category of social network services under social media.

The top five social networking service websites reported by

eBizMBA (2013) were Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and MySpace.

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1. What is LinkedIn? This is one social network that has thrived on innovation in the last year, potentially being the only major site with high hopes for significant growth. LinkedIn is one of the most popular social media. Founded by Reid Hoffman in 2003, LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network on the Internet with more than 225 million members in over 200 countries and territories.

Thus, it is the world’s largest professional

network on the Internet, currently available in 17 languages.

The

opportunities the site offers its users is continually growing.

In a globalized and digitalized professional context where all of us are required to have an enriched, online CV with all our working experience and professional accomplishments available, LinkedIn is ideal for this purpose and can be used by everyone.

In fact, it is the ideal choice

because it allows you to show off your credentials to potential employers, colleagues, and people with similar professional interests. It is growing and expanding and its features are improving as well. Below is a top-10 glossary on “must know” LinkedIn features.

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2. LinkedIn Glossary 2.1 Profile

While a profile is one of LinkedIn’s most basic elements, users tend not to take full advantage of it.

Simply adding your current and past

positions is not enough: your LinkedIn profile is essentially a digital resume that allows other users to view a snapshot of your professional history.

Having a professional profile photo is a must.

This not only

allows people to quickly identify you, but it lets other users know that you are, in fact, a real person. Profiles with photos are seven times more interactive than those without a photo. So, take the time to enhance your personal brand via LinkedIn to achieve better results.

Many

employers use LinkedIn to search for their prospective employees. It is a fact that the better your profile is and the more professional it looks, the higher your chances of getting hired or more widely connected.

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2.2 Connections Connections are everything. LinkedIn views connections as someone you actually know or a trusted business contact. Unlike other social media sites, LinkedIn urges users to only connect with users they know and not complete strangers. This platform has policies set up to try to mediate users from “spamming” others on LinkedIn. If 14 or more users reject your invite to connect claiming they do not know you, LinkedIn requires you to provide an email address for each new invite you attempt to send. The best thing about connections on LinkedIn is that one connection can link you to thousands of other users through 2nd or 3rd connections. When requesting connections on LinkedIn, it would be a good idea to change the default template that says “I’d like to add you to my

professional network” to something that really identifies you and your reason for wanting to be connected with that person.

Once you are

connected to someone, they can introduce you to others in their network. If you use this feature correctly, it’s very easy to grow your LinkedIn network.

2.3 Groups Groups offer like-minded users an opportunity to share news, ask questions, and post opportunities. They are filled with people who share an interest in a certain industry or topic. Groups can also be used as a knowledge base; users can ask a question and, within minutes, have experts providing answers or suggestions.

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LinkedIn has several

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interesting groups where educators share educational resources, tips, and discuss issues and topics of educational relevance.

2.4 Recommendations Recommendations help build credibility for users. This is a useful feature that allows you to gather short excerpts from past or present colleagues and peers around your work.

This feature offers recruiters the

opportunity to “reference check” users without picking up the phone.

There’s a newer feature called “Endorsements,” which is a simpler way for users to recommend your work. Instead of writing a paragraph or two, a user can just click “endorse” to recommend a certain skill or expertise you have listed on your profile.

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2.5 Company Page LinkedIn recently rolled out a new company page layout.

The page

features are largely the same. The company page gives users an overview of a company, its services and its career opportunities. A LinkedIn page can serve as a condensed version of a company’s website, something which allows users to learn about a company without having to leave LinkedIn. There are several advantages to a company page—like the “Careers” page. It allows you to post jobs, showcase employee testimonials and view stats on the current staff of a company.

2.6 InMail InMail is LinkedIn’s version of email. Users send InMails to all of their current connections, and can attempt to send InMails to users they’d like to connect with. It’s a great tool for following up with someone you met at a networking event; InMail can also be used as a stepping stone to sending an invite to connect.

Users can reach out to prospective

candidates, clients or connections with an InMail, explaining why they’re interested in connecting.

2.7 Advanced Search Are you looking for a candidate with a specific skill set? Or, are you looking for a mentor in a specific industry? The advanced search tool allows you to go way beyond the normal search by entering in specific

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criteria for your search. A LinkedIn user can search for those who work at a specific company, live in a certain geographic location or hold a specific title.

2.8 Alumni Tool The Alumni tool specifically showcases users who share an alma mater. If a user is trying to get an “in” with a certain company, the Alumni tool is a great way to find out if you have a connection with anyone who currently works at that company. It’s also just fun to check in on what your peers are doing after graduation.

2.9 News We all have our preferred news outlets, but have you ever considered using LinkedIn? At the top of your LinkedIn newsfeed, you can find a variety of news stories from different sources. The News tool uses your profile, status updates and groups to determine what your interests are, and then targets news stories that fit into those categories.

2.10 Applications The first nine features discussed are just a small list of the things you can do with LinkedIn. To receive more benefits as a LinkedIn user, check out the number of Applications available. These applications range from

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Tripit to Reading List from Amazon. No matter what your objective is on LinkedIn, there’s a host of applications that can enhance your experience. One of my favorite applications is SlideShare; it allows users to show off presentations they have given. In addition, your likes from SlideShare (the world’s largest community for sharing presentations) can appear in your LinkedIn updates if you choose so in your SlideShare account settings. This is an added bonus for those selling a service or looking for new career opportunities.

Finally, a bonus tool for all of the iPhone users out there! CardMunch allows LinkedIn users to snap a picture of a business card and quickly connect with that person on LinkedIn. The application reads a business card and finds its owner on LinkedIn to connect.

It also serves as a

business card repository on your iPhone.

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3. Use LinkedIn Signal for prospecting “Signal” is a feature on LinkedIn that is rarely talked about, but it is powerful. You can access it by selecting “Updates” in the master search menu or by selecting “Signal” in the drop down menu on the “News” tab.

Basically, “Signal” is an aggregated feed of all the status updates, groups’ posts, and any other content posted on LinkedIn. Why is this powerful? Because you can essentially see every status update from every person on LinkedIn; not just your connections, or those within a couple degrees of you, but every person on LinkedIn.

You can then use a targeted keyword search to sort through the statuses to find people talking about topics with which you want to engage. You can even sort the results by company, location, and many other parameters.

4. Fill out your LinkedIn “Interests” and “Skills & Expertise” sections The “Interests” and “Skills & Expertise” sections are two areas that are commonly glossed over by people building their profile. LinkedIn’s search algorithm is fairly basic, which means that if you have the right keywords on your profile (enough times) there is a good chance people will find your profile when they’re searching for those keywords. The “Interests” and “Skills & Expertise” sections are great places to load up on your keywords. In the latter section you are allowed 50 keywords. Use all 50. Don’t just list four and move on. Evdokia Roka

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In the “Interests” section you should do the same thing, take advantage of the space that LinkedIn gives you. Some people use this area to say they like “knitting” or “eating barbeque.” While this is a fine approach, we prefer to use this area to focus on the keywords that will drive appearances in search, profile views, and conversions.

Keeping your “Interests” and “Skills & Expertise” sections rich with keywords is a great way to improve your position in LinkedIn’s people search rankings.

5. Languages In the “Languages” section, you can mention which languages you speak as well as your level of proficiency. The level descriptors may seem puzzling to you as they are not those of the CEFR. To be more specific, they are based on the Interagency Language Roundtable scale (ILR), which included representation by the United States Foreign Service Institute; it consists of descriptions of five levels of language proficiency, and it is the standard grading scale for language proficiency in the Federal service.

For

more

information

about

these

descriptors,

see

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ILR_scale. Consult the relevant descriptors carefully before specifying your own foreign language proficiency level.

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6. Take advantage of the “Who’s Viewed Your Profile?” tool Developing business is all about being seen and staying in front of your prospects. The “Who’s Viewed Your Profile?” feature on LinkedIn is a great way to make this happen and most of us regularly check it.

Here’s how to take advantage of this in a targeted manner: 1. Make a list of all the prospects you are trying to stay in front of. 2. Once a month, open up their profile in your browser. 3. When your prospects view who has been looking at their profile, your name has a very good chance of popping up. It’s just another way to keep in front of your prospects.

Do this simple three-step process once a month and you are guaranteed to increase name recognition.

7. Tap LinkedIn company searches to find new business contacts Lots of people search for prospects on LinkedIn. That’s nothing new. But how you search for them is another matter.

A great tactic to find prospective clients is to search through the companies listed on LinkedIn that you are targeting. Evdokia Roka

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search tab you can pull down the “Company” option and start finding the companies on your target prospect list.

Often, people will perform a keyword search for something more positionfocused like “procurement” or “purchaser.” By taking it a step further with the company search, you can find lists of employees to connect with on LinkedIn.

Not only can you connect with the “purchasers,” but also with many of the other people who work at their company, thus improving your sales chances.

8. Expand your group membership If you don’t post in many groups or join group conversations, you need to start.

You can join up to 50 groups on LinkedIn—unless you use this little trick. Many groups have smaller subgroups associated with them. Sometimes there might only be one or two subgroups belonging to the master group, but other times there might be a dozen or even more.

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You are allowed to join all of them regardless of whether you have reached your limit of 50 groups. In other words, you can essentially join unlimited subgroups. It should be noted that you do not increase the amount of people with whom you are connected, since all subgroup members are already connected in the master group. But you can post content to each group individually, improving your chances of prospective clients seeing your posts in less crowded subgroups.

Now instead of

posting to 50 groups you can post to 60, 80 or even 100.

There are many tactics you can use on LinkedIn to build your business. Spending a few minutes each day on these five is a great way to start. Stick with these activities for a few months and you will see a spike in the number of relationships you are building and the number of real prospects that are seeing your name on LinkedIn.

9. Upgraded Account Once you’ve explored LinkedIn Free, you may choose to upgrade to a LinkedIn account with more features.

Starting at $15.95 per month,

LinkedIn has premium subscription plans for businesses, job seekers, recruiters and more.

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One of the distinguishing features of most upgraded accounts is the ability to send InMail to anyone. InMail is an internal LinkedIn message sent to a person with whom you are not connected.

You can message

people you are already connected with free-of-charge, but you can’t message non-connections; you must InMail them — and those InMails are limited. The Basic Business premium account allows you three InMails per month, while the Business Plus plan allows 10, and the Executive 25 per month. So, choose your InMails wisely.

Upgraded accounts also have access to more search results, which can be a huge bonus for LinkedIn recruiters. You also have access to additional tools for saving and organizing profiles and you can view the full list of people who have viewed your LinkedIn profile.

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Conclusion For job seekers and professionals, LinkedIn can offer the chance to network with people in your field.

For recruiters, LinkedIn can help

identify and contact the right candidates for job openings.

It’s more

than a social network—LinkedIn can be the most useful professional tool you have in your Internet arsenal.

Since LinkedIn is strictly a professional network, it would not be a good idea to connect it to your accounts of other social media. For example, are you sure that you want companies’ representatives to check your facebook account, twitter profile, or even your personal website? You should know that you are what you tell them online until they know otherwise. Do not give them the opportunity to dig deep in your other social networks or website unless you are absolutely sure that this will only make you look better.

A LinkedIn account is a very important tool allowing you to build your own personal learning network (PLN), i.e. useful and real people who benefit your learning. More specifically, in the current Greek context of financial hardship, degrading of State education, and general disdain originating from the mass media and authority figures deciding about education matters towards all teachers alike, professional networking through LinkedIn offers us the opportunity to become extroverted, to come out proudly, show off our studies and achievements, not just locally, but at a European and even global level. For this reason, it is highly recommended Evdokia Roka

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that we structure our profiles in English, so that they can be accessed and appreciated by all colleagues around the world and not just ELT practitioners in Greece.

YouTube Τutorials You can find some useful tutorials about LinkedIn in the following link: http://www.youtube.com/user/LinkedIn

LinkedIn Resources More detailed information about LinkedIn can be found at: http://blog.linkedin.com/

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Bibliography Dodaro, M. (2013, February 27).

21 Steps To The Perfect LinkedIn

Profile. Retrieved from http://topdogsocialmedia.com/linkedin-trainingcreating-the-perfect-profile/

Kaplan, A. M., & Haenlein, M. (2010). Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of social media. Business Horizons, 53(1), 59-68.

Kharbach, M. (2012, May). Social Networking Part 3: Teachers’ Guide to the Use of LinkedIn. Retrieved from http://www.educatorstechnology.com/2012/05/social-networking-part-3teachers-guide.html

Lepi, K. (2013, July 13). Networks.

How To Effectively Use The Top 4 Social

Retrieved from http://www.edudemic.com/2013/07/how-to-

effectively-use-the-top-4-social-networks/

Presley, P. (2013). 3 Ways to Use LinkedIn for Professional Development. Retrieved

from

http://www.edudemic.com/2013/07/3-ways-to-use-

linkedin-effectively-for-your-own-professional-development/

Roth, J. (2011, May 11).

Ultimate LinkedIn Guide.

Retrieved from

http://interactyx.com/social-learning-blog/linkedin-guide/

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Top 15 most popular social networking sites. (2013, July). eBizMBA: The ebusiness knowledgebase. Retrieved from http://www.ebizmba.com/articles/social-networking-websites

U.S. Department of State Careers Representing America: Language Proficiency Definitions. Retrieved from http://careers.state.gov/gateway/lang_prof_def.html

Wikipedia: The free encyclopedia. (2013, July 17). IRL Scale. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ILR_scale

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