Page 1

my future

role

.com

A guide to using LinkedIn Basic

2

Advanced

15

Why do I need a LinkedIn profile?

3

Account Settings

16

Creating a LinkedIn account

4

Advanced connection techniques

20

Fleshing out your profile further

10

Job Searching with LinkedIn Premium

23

Connections: why are they important?

11

Using mobile and tablet LinkedIn apps

24

Engaging via LinkedIn

12

LinkedIn Groups

25

Visibility beats shameless self-promotion

13

LinkedIn today

27

Dos and don’ts

14

SEO best practice

28

Personnel


my future

role

.com

A basic guide to using LinkedIn Social media sites can be powerful tools, but they can also be something of a liability for job searchers. myfuturerole.com has previously covered the need to manage your online reputation, but here we take a closer look at the wider issues surrounding the use of LinkedIn, the social media platform that is most obviously geared towards benefiting jobseekers.

LinkedIn already has 200 million users (as of January 2013. 11 million of these are based in the UK), and it’s never too late to join them, or indeed to return if you have created an account and don’t feel you’ve been getting all you can out of the service.

On LinkedIn, professional individuals create a personal account with a profile focused on providing CV information and professional connections, bringing the networking that is so important for securing employment into a digital space.

Personnel


my future

role

.com

Why do I need a LinkedIn profile? By making your skillset and previous experience available on LinkedIn, you may be approached by recruitment agencies or businesses directly. While this kind of passive job search is no substitute for a thorough look through myfuturerole.com’s own job listings, it’s easy to see how maintaining a LinkedIn profile could be beneficial to your career. We believe however, the most important aspect of LinkedIn engagement is that potential employers you approach outside of the service will go looking for your profile. LinkedIn should therefore be viewed as an all or nothing proposition. By this, we mean that it’s better to have no LinkedIn profile than an incomplete or poorly constructed one. Obviously, if you do not have a LinkedIn account, you may risk appearing as if you aren’t serious about your career, or that you aren’t serious about technology: potential employers may question why a digital marketing professional doesn’t have a LinkedIn profile for instance. However, if an employer comes across a poorly constructed, out of date LinkedIn page that doesn’t present all that a candidate has to offer, it will only negatively affect that candidate’s chances.

Personnel


my future

role

.com

Creating a LinkedIn account The first step is obviously to create a LinkedIn account. If you have completed this already, you may skip this section. However, it may be useful to review the points below to consider whether you have followed best practice for account creation.

Signing Up Create your profile by clicking ‘Join Today’ on the Linkedin.com homepage. You will need to provide your real first and last names, along with a password. Click ‘Join LinkedIn’ to proceed. You can also sign up using your Facebook login. We do not recommend doing so because of the privacy and identity management issues that may arise. It should go without saying, but you should always create a LinkedIn account using a personal email address. Your current work email won’t be of much use if you suddenly get a new job!

Personnel


my future

role

.com

1

The basics

Linkedin will then ask you to clarify where you live, your current employment status, and your job title and current employer (if applicable). Entering all of this information is necessary to create your account.

2 Your email

You will be prompted to enter an email address again, this time to help determine a list of LinkedIn users who you may already have some degree of business contact with.

Personnel


my future

role

.com

3

Initial connections

3

Social sharing

LinkedIn will then take the information you have already provided – email address, company and postcode especially – and use this to automatically generate a list of potential colleagues and acquaintances. Add as many or as few people as you need.

LinkedIn will create your professional profile at this point, and prompt you to share the news through your Facebook and Twitter accounts. This step is not essential, and simply pasting the URL of your profile into other services will mean you avoid linking them too explicitly..

Personnel


my future

role

.com

5

Basic versus Premium

6 Your work history

This step prompts you to name the role you took at any previous employers. Click ‘no more positions’ when you are finished.

LinkedIn offer a paid, premium service largely targeted at professionals in the recruitment sector. It is unlikely you will need these features, so click ‘choose basic’ to proceed.

Personnel


my future

role

.com

7

Your education

You will also be prompted to provide details of any schools, colleges and universities you have attended.

8

Add a photo

Add a profile image to your account. Obviously, a photo that has been taken professionally (or at the very least, depicts you looking professional) is preferable. No drunken snaps or cartoon avatars are appropriate here.

Personnel


my future

role

.com

9

Show off your skills

Finally, add skills and any software package or industry qualifications you have. The words in this field will auto-complete to give you the best fit with terms already used on LinkedIn.

Personnel


my future

role

.com

Fleshing out your profile further Once you have created and logged into your account, LinkedIn does a good job of guiding you through the steps necessary to optimise it. In a side-box, you are prompted to ‘import your résumé’, to seek professional connections as well as to add to sections focused on your current and past positions, skills and expertise, education and connections. •

Transfer information from an existing, up to date CV. If you haven’t updated yours recently, this is a good excuse

As with any content that is used in a job search, only provide information that is 100% factually accurate

When you add a current or previous position, you must enter the company name, title, location and the period of your employment. You’re also able to enter additional information on responsibilities and achievements

Older roles help flesh out your profile, but only include extra detail if the role was relevant to your current or intended career path

The education section prompts you to add institutions, fields of study, dates, grades and extra-curricular activity

Other fields include: websites, interests, groups and associations and honours and awards. Adding extra detail here isn’t essential, but will be helpful and will provide anyone who sees your profile with a more complete picture of your personality

You can volunteer further contact and personal details that add legitimacy to your profile and further paths for contacting you. If you do opt to include any of these details (including addresses, phone numbers and marital status) be vigilant about who you establish connections with

Other social media accounts can also be linked with your LinkedIn profile. You will generally network more efficiently if you do this, but you may consider some accounts inappropriate for this

Note also the field for a summary: this is especially important and should concisely state your career goals and specialisms, while also dropping in search terms you want to be visible for

Personnel


my future

role

.com

Connections: why are they important? Filling out your employment and education history isn’t just about attracting the attention of recruiters and ensuring background checks on you result in complete and high quality information. This information is also the primary avenue through which you will make connections to other users. You can connect with past and present colleagues, old school mates and anyone else with which you could feasibly have come into contact within a professional or academic context. Aside from the fact that the platform is primarily an online space for networking, it’s important to realise LinkedIn is built upon trust with a ‘gated access approach’. In order to contact anyone on the service, you need to have an existing relationship with that person, or to have an existing relationship with a third party who can recommend you to that person. If you don’t establish connections, you won’t be able to expand your sphere of influence and use LinkedIn to its full potential. Users to whom you are connected can also help you build your profile via the creation of ‘recommendations’. Recommendations are essentially publicly available referral letters, citing your good character and skillset, and are an invaluable addition to your profile. Obviously, senior, professionally significant referees are more effective. You can request a recommendation from a connection by clicking the ‘Ask for recommendations’ link in your profile.

Personnel


my future

role

.com

Engaging via LinkedIn Though LinkedIn’s major strength is the richness of its user profiles and the power of its networking offering, it remains a social network like any other. Though less active, and perhaps less broadly appealing than other social networks, LinkedIn is a great place to share content with colleagues and people in your industry.

Venues A LinkedIn user has several places available where they can easily share content with others. Current venues include status updates, groups and company pages. •

Status updates on LinkedIn are much like their counterparts on Facebook and most other social networks. You can share updates on your work, articles you find interesting and other content, and your connections can view that content and interact with you regarding it

LinkedIn Groups are free to join, though you may require membership approval from the manager of a group. These spaces are a fantastic way to make new connections with other professionals in your field, or with people with the same interests. As well as listing potential contacts, groups contain spaces for discussion and news feeds full of relevant articles.

Company pages are a place for employees and other interested parties to congregate and interact. If you’re applying for a role at a company, it makes sense to see if you can get on their radar ahead of your interview, so check to see whether they have an active LinkedIn company page

Personnel


my future

role

.com

Visibility beats shameless self-promotion No social media channel is a good place for telling everyone about how great you are, even one where you construct a profile intended to do exactly that. Don’t talk about yourself in a group or on a company page: these are spaces to bring up interesting topics of discussion, to promote debate. Give occasional updates on your dealings via status updates, but don’t turn your profile into a work diary. If you become a constant presence in people’s activity feeds for the right reasons, you will build yourself a positive reputation.

Consider also the value of engaging with companies and people in positions of power that you’d like to work with. Likes and comments put you on the radar and will inform the research you take to a subsequent interview. Remember though, LinkedIn is not just about serving professional self-interest: social interactions should be something you actually enjoy doing!

Other people’s content is more important than your own One rule to live by is that for everything you post in a group, you should share and engage with at least 10 things other people have posted. This allows you to avoid appearing self-important, and any company that stumbles across your participation in LinkedIn will be impressed with how engaged you are in your industry and interests.

Personnel


my future

role

.com

Dos and don’ts If you have been following this guide you will have a LinkedIn presence that will help your efforts to find the perfect role. In this final section, we offer a few final pieces of advice to ensure your time on LinkedIn is well spent.

DON’T add skills that don’t appear in LinkedIn’s skills drop down. Be sure to look for how your skill is already being described (and therefore, where the search volume is for that skill)

DO spellcheck your profile as thoroughly as you would your CV. Either use the built in spellcheck on your browser, or if this is unreliable, copy and paste everything into your word processor

DO leave your account set to ‘looking for job opportunities’. While you may see more spam as a result, this is preferable to having your employer realise that you’re suddenly searching for jobs

DON’T send un-personalised LinkedIn connection requests to anyone but your closest friends and colleagues. People need to know why they should log in to their account and add you to their network

DON’T lie about your skills, education or your previous employment. LinkedIn will place you within a circle of people who can verify any fraudulent claims.

DO create a unique LinkedIn URL (settings > ‘edit your public profile’). You’ll be easier to find, and the URL will look professional should you choose to use it on a business card or email signature

DON’T add anyone with which you have no real connection to: tightly control who has access to information about you and avoid the few spammers abusing the service

DO get another person to take a look at and critique your profile – just as you’d do with your CV

Personnel


my future

role

.com

An advanced guide to using LinkedIn Over 200 million people use LinkedIn, and the possibilities the platform offers for job searching and networking are not easily dismissed. In this guide, myfuturerole.com goes beyond the information covered in our basic guide to LinkedIn, to cover features and concepts that advanced users may find useful.

Issues covered in this guide include privacy and account settings, advanced connection techniques, optimising a profile for search, the creation of company pages, LinkedIn Ads, and the use of LinkedIn Premium. Some elements may not be relevant to all users. However, understanding how the service is used by other types of user will help provide you with a better understanding of general best practice.

Many users treat LinkedIn as something of a passive space: a place to leave an up-to-date CV in the hope recruitment agents visiting the site may come across it. While our basic guide touches on how to engage via status updates, LinkedIn groups and company pages, this guide aims to help users become an even more active presence on the service.

Personnel


my future

role

.com

Account Settings Your LinkedIn profile contains many pieces of information that, while useful for the purpose of creating connections establishing your presence, are often very sensitive. Changing how information is displayed to others is important, as is keeping your general usage settings relevant to how you wish to use the service. Your account settings can be found by hovering over your name on the top bar and clicking ‘settings’. This will present you with the screen provided on the opposite page. In the top half of this dialogue, you have a number of options you’d expect to see (email and password changing) and details on your account’s status. If you have invested in a Premium account, there will be extra controls here, including the option to display a LinkedIn Premium badge on your profile. The more in-depth options located in the bottom half of this screen are sorted into four areas: 1. Profile 2. Email preferences 3. Groups, Companies & Applications 4. Account

Personnel


my future

role

.com

1

Profile If you find LinkedIn or its users intruding unnecessarily into your life, this section contains many of the most useful controls. Turn on/off your activity broadcasts When you make changes to most aspects of your profile, anyone who can see your activity feed will be able to see what has been changed. This can be a problem if, for instance, you start job searching and your employer notices your profile has been switched on to the ‘job searching’ mode. Job searchers with Premium accounts should also know that a ‘job searcher’ badge may be displayed on their profile – another dead giveaway that you’re thinking of moving on. As mentioned above, this can be turned off. Click the ‘show more items’ option found in the upper half of the settings page to find this control. Select who can see your activity feed You can control who can view the aforementioned feed here. By default, all of your connections are able to see your feed. You can relax controls so unconnected individuals in your network or globally can see your activity (the latter being especially not recommended). You can also choose to make your feed private.

Select what others see when you’ve viewed their profile When you view another person’s profile, LinkedIn lets them know (in the ‘who’s viewed your profile’ section of your profile). With this option, you can control how much information you reveal: opting for total anonymity, or revealing your industry and job title alone. However, selecting either option prevents you from seeing who is viewing your profile. Select who can see your connections LinkedIn is built upon connections, and therefore, any one you are connected to can see everyone else you are connected to. You can choose to dial this back to ‘only you’ if you are tired of being asked for referrals to significant contacts, for instance. Change your profile photo & visibility Having a professional photo on LinkedIn is important, but if you’d rather not share your likeness to everybody you can choose to restrict access to your entire network, or just your connections. Show/hide ‘Viewers of this profile also viewed’ box Relating to a trail of profiles people have viewed available on your profile, you may wish to remove this if you’re attempting to completely anonymise your connections or if you’re simply hostile to the idea of making it too easy for potential recruiters to find similarly qualified individuals. Manage your Twitter settings You can use this screen to integrate Twitter accounts with your LinkedIn presence. This is only advisable if you use Twitter for similarly professional uses.

Personnel


my future

role

.com

2

Email preferences Complaints about LinkedIn emails aren’t uncommon to see on other social networks: its creators seem to be keen on fostering a more active community, but the default notifications can be rather heavy handed. This page allows you to restrict LinkedIn’s ability to send you updates about new connection requests, activity among your connections and the extent to which others can contact you. You can also turn off LinkedIn’s marketing emails – ‘LinkedIn Communications’ regarding new platform developments and third party products.

3 Groups,

Companies & Applications This section contains a number of self-explanatory controls regarding the use of groups and companies you have involved your account with. However, particular attention should be paid to the Applications listed here: if you have linked your account with any third-party website, programme or a service within LinkedIn itself, you’ll be able to revoke that access here. You can also find privacy controls relating to that access. Don’t want third parties to get hold of your details or for LinkedIn to know what you’ve got up to via said third parties? There’s opt out options for both of these here.

Personnel


my future

role

.com

4

Account This final section groups together many of the big settings available elsewhere: changes to your account in the form of upgrades, email addresses, passwords, language and even one or two options from the above menus. Unique settings to note include the option to close your account, manage your security settings and advertising preferences. Manage advertising preferences In addition to offering you the option of opting out of all advertisements from third-party websites, this subsection explains how advertising is used on LinkedIn. Manage security settings This subsection allows you to opt into browsing using a secure connection (https) where available. This secure connection is used on parts of the LinkedIn site regardless of whether you check this option (for example, on the settings page you are currently viewing).

Personnel


my future

role

.com

Advanced connection techniques Using Google to fill in the blanks Starting out on LinkedIn is arguably not as easy as it should be: you have to accrue connections to even see the surnames of people you’ve worked with in the past, and it may be a month or so before your digital connections resemble your actual real world network. Things improve and connections tend to start finding you once your network is large enough. The connections system does mean that users with Basic accounts will find it hard work to cultivate outreach opportunities and connections to industry experts. Meet someone important at a conference, and LinkedIn won’t know that you’ve had a genial chat and talked about working together.

1

Company Search Search for the company employing your contact. The search bar is located on the lower section of the header: switch the dropdown from ‘people’ to ’companies’.

2

Employee list Navigate to the list of employees in the ‘how you’re connected’ listing. On the results page, the first name and first letter of the surname of all employees is typically all that you will have access to (in addition to their position, industry, location and employer).

The key to success here is to operate outside of LinkedIn also. Follow these steps and you’ll be able to find almost anyone on the service provided that you have a third degree connection, are in a group they also use, or have some other level of tangential relationship with th em via the service.

Personnel


my future

role

.com

3

Google reveals all

Copy and paste the name as provided into Google, along with their job title and the name of the company. This will almost always result in this person’s LinkedIn profile appearing at the top of the list, complete with full surname.

At this point, you’ll have everything you need to send a connection request, and if you have made a genuine connection you can tailor that request to remind them of when and where. Alternatively, if you want to use this method to establish a connection via Twitter, keep following this guide.

Personnel


my future

role

.com

4

Further details

Search for the person’s full name with the name of their employer and the word “Twitter” in Google, and there’s a very good chance you will find their Twitter account. Engage with them, develop a relationship and eventually, pop the LinkedIn question. In a job searching context, this can be particularly useful even if you don’t know either the first name or surname of an influential person you need to contact. Simply look for relevant job titles in a search of their company.

Personnel


my future

role

.com

Job Searching with LinkedIn Premium Though LinkedIn Premium is generally considered most useful for recruiters and sales professionals, it does offer a number of reduced price plans aimed at job seekers. Key advantages include: •

A monthly allowance of ‘response guaranteed’ InMail messages (if you don’t get a reply, your message credit will be returned), allowing you to contact any recruiter on LinkedIn regardless of connection status

Preferential treatment as a ‘featured applicant’ in search results

A Premium badge on your profile and search results

A more comprehensive list of people who have viewed your profile

Membership of the Job Seeker Group and access to a support and advance webinar

The job seeker plan is offered in distinct tiers that govern how many InMail message credits you receive every month. You can choose either an annual or monthly subscription, therefore making it easy to subscribe for a short job searching period and then quickly unsubscribe once you’ve found a new position. If you want to more actively pursue recruiters, by all means subscribe for a few months and enjoy full InMail access. If you fancy being extra visible on the service while not actively job searching, an annual subscription may also work in your favour. However, LinkedIn Job Seeker Premium plans are useful but by no means essential to landing a good job – note, for instance, that InMails can actually be purchased by users of LinkedIn Basic.

Personnel


my future

role

.com

Using mobile and tablet LinkedIn apps Perhaps unsurprisingly, mobile and tablet users can find the LinkedIn experience via the mobile website (touch.linkedin.com), or the app available for Android, Blackberry, iOS and Windows. If you’re planning on clearing your email inbox of LinkedIn notifications, the apps provide a less obtrusive, more immediate way of interacting via the service. In practice, certain features may not be available via the app. When this guide was created (April 2013) some users complained about a lack of group management options, for instance. Nevertheless, having a streamlined route to connect to any new acquaintance when at a networking event is invaluable. One feature unique to the app is a calendar service that provides LinkedIn profile details alongside any calendar you import. Those concerned about privacy issues are reassured this is a feature you must opt into. Search for “LinkedIn” in your smartphone’s app store for a download.

Personnel


my future

role

.com

LinkedIn Groups Groups are one of the most important venues for user interaction on LinkedIn, and contributing can be a fantastic way to get noticed and to raise your profile. It follows, then, that whoever creates a group could potentially gain an even greater prominence. Of course, creating groups without reason is likely to be viewed as obnoxious. But if you can genuinely find a niche, find that an existing group has become inactive or run a website that would benefit from a community, consider creating your own.

Creating a group Group creation takes around 15 minutes, but then, if that concerns you you’re probably not going to flourish as a moderator and admin in an active group. Just as with your personal profile, fill out all fields as completely and truthfully as possible. Choose a group name that is descriptive and attractive, use keywords in both your summary and description and upload a high quality image (a maximum of 102x153 pixels are allowed for your group’s logo).

Personnel


my future

role

.com

LinkedIn Groups Notable features After promoting your groups among your connections and channels outside of LinkedIn, you should start to gain momentum within your groups. While you should rely on your members to create some of the content for the group, there are key features you can use to ensure things keep ticking along nicely. •

Groups have their own analytics features, including demographics, growth and activity. These can give you an overview of who uses your group, and what content and/or activity usually results in the highest engagement

The ‘send an announcement’ option (‘manage’ > ‘send an announcement’) allows you to stay in touch with your audience, but don’t abuse it. One good use of this feature is for weekly group messages – summaries of contributions, or key events outside of the group that bring people back to debate hot topics

Personnel


my future

role

.com

LinkedIn today Along the header bar you will find the ‘news’ option. Though anyone fully immersed in their industry will already have a number of favourite websites they visit to keep up with important developments, the LinkedIn today feed shouldn’t be discounted for two reasons. Firstly, this feed is easy to customise. In the right hand column you will see the sectors you’re currently following and suggestions for others you might like to follow. Secondly, and most importantly, it’s another way to interact with the wider community regardless of the weight of your connections. Comments on the article and list of all those who ‘liked’ the article are visible, and depending on privacy settings, you will be able to find their profiles and perhaps develop a professional acquaintance. Your interactions with these posts will show up in your activity feed and you also have the ability to share the content with individuals or in your updates. This can improve your standing among connections, and see you considered authoritative with your sector.

Personnel


my future

role

.com

SEO best practice Assuming that you want to be found, how you set up your profile has an enormous effect on your visibility, both within LinkedIn’s search tools and via external search engines. LinkedIn is treated as an authority source by Google and the other search engines, so it pays to apply search engine optimisation (SEO) principles to your profile. •

It’s worth reiterating that you should complete every subsection of your profile. The more (relevant) content you can cram into your profile, the more likely you are to show up via searches both on and off site. Search engines love plenty of text and pictures, and a good LinkedIn profile can heavily feature both

Default LinkedIn URLs are messy and poorly optimised (http://www. linkedin.com/pub/william-gates/53/698/261 as an example). On your profile page, you can edit the URL of your public profile to make it shorter (e.g. http://www.linkedin.com/in/williamgates). This will look better on your business cards and is favoured by search engines too. This could mean improved visibility for your profile within results for certain search queries

While nobody would recommend that you go around dropping a link to your profile on every page you create on the internet, linking where relevant can have indirect benefits for the importance search engines place on your profile. Add your public profile URL to forum signatures and comment profiles, and don’t be afraid to plug it in various biographies you may create on other websites

Personnel

A complete guide to using LinkedIn  

Set up and optimise your LinkedIn profile for maximum exposure in search, to gain new connections and get recruitment opportunities.

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you