The Ultimate Beginners Guide to Linkedin

by Rich DeMatteo on April 1, 2011 · 60 comments

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I’m about to unleash the greatest Beginners Guide to Linkedin EVER created!   The holidays are over, so consider this your late present from Cornz.

There is a ton of information here, so set aside some time, read the guide, and then fire me any questions you may have.

Why use Linkedin?

I really could answer this with one critical bullet point, but here are a few:

  • 85% of recruiters go to Linkedin before anywhere else to find talent.
  • Build, organize, and manage your online recommendations from folks you’ve had professional relationships with.
  • Easily connect with industry professionals that have careers of interest to you or goals similar to yours.
  • Connections = Jobs

Can’t stress how insane that first bullet point is.  Even if a recruiter doesn’t find you on Linkedin, when you’re in the running for a position, they’ll search you out on Linkedin and be very upset if you’re absent.  What’s your excuse?  Sorry, “My Dog ate my Linkedin” just won’t work.

Profile Creation

The initial profile creation is incredibly easy.  For the most part, you’ll want your Linkedin profile to match your resume.  With that said, have you ever felt constricted to preconceived page requirements on a resume?  Yeah, well on Linkedin feel free to stretch it a bit.  This doesn’t mean to toss any old bullshit on your profile, but DEFINITELY add in all of your college activities and leadership opportunities, instead of the one or two you put on the resume.

As you go through and complete the profile, you’ll see  a percentage amount that shows how complete your profile is. Work hard to get to 100%.  Once you are there, you’ll be found a ton more by recruiters and your profile will look much more professional.

Picture

Think professional.  Think headshot.  Crop one of your Facebook profile images to just include from your shoulders up to your head.  Keep your friends, animals, and loved ones out of it.  Just you.  Just smiling and happy you.

Headline

When a recruiter conducts a search on Linkedin, they’ll see a  list of names, including a professional headline for each person. This is a short sentence with key words that gives the recruiter a reason to click and read further.  Your professional headline could look like this:

Marketing Intern at COMPANY.  Graduating in 2011 from SCHOOL with a Degree in Marketing

It can be much more dynamic than that.  Here’s mine:

How to Connect With Someone (the right and wrong way)

When connecting with someone on Linkedin, it asks you to pick out how you know this person.  The options are  Colleague, Classmate, We’ve done business together, Friend, and other.  Once you identify how you know them, you’ll then see an automated message come up that will be sent…unless you change it!

Now this part is important.

Never! Never! Never! Never keep this automated message.  Change it up, add some spice, add some character and give them a reason to want to connect.  If you really don’t know the person, but you realize they are influential for you, then intrigue them a bit and they’ll want to add you to their network.

This is what the awful automated message looks like:

That’s the wrong way to send a connection request.  Ew.  Albert isn’t going to want to connect with you and I don’t blame him.

As I mentioned previously, add some spice to your connect request.  Tell them exactly where you met or how you know them or why you want to connect.  So many people send me amazing connection messages about #JobHuntChat or Corn on the Job.  I may not know them personally, but they just complimented me and showed me why they are interested in connecting.   I always accept their request and make it a point to send them a message back.  Most people will react the same way.

Here’s an example of a perfect way to connect with someone!

 

Groups

Groups are a fantastic way to make KEY connections with influential people.  Join local and national groups that are related to your target industry or exact profession.  Groups offer news articles, blog posts, related discussions, and also jobs.  Yep, that’s right.  Many groups now have jobs posted for that specific field of interest.

If that’s not enough, you can easily connect with any member of the group and add them to your professional connections.  Contact these folks and feel free to ask them questions about their job or company, and possibly even offer to take them out for lunch or coffee to learn more about what they do.  It may be time consuming to go through and add a ton of group members to your connections list, but think about it.  If you add just 10 a week, you’ll have 80 influential connections in just 2 months.  Do it!

How many groups can you join?  50.  So go ahead, join 50!

 

Recommendations

Recommendations are a great addition to your profile.  Just like a resume, they shouldn’t just be forced information.  When you’ve done something that you feel was really kick ass, ask the person or people you were working with to leave you a short recommendation on Linkedin.  Who should leave recommendations?

  • Supervisors
  • Co-workers
  • Clients
  • College Professors
  • Classmates you’ve worked on projects with
  • Anyone you’ve had a professional relationship with

Your recommendations should paint a picture and help you make it to where you want to be.  For instance, let’s say you’re really looking interested in moving into a PR role, but most of your experience has been as a Marketing Coordinator.  Some of your projects may have touched on PR, so you obviously worked with PR professionals on those projects.   Ask for recommendations from PR folks you worked with, and use these recommendations to your advantage when looking for your PR job.  Feel free to even toss them on the resume!

Follow Interesting Companies

Following companies on Linkedin is a stalkers dream come true.  Seriously guys…holy shit.  This is just some of the information you’ll get when you follow a company:

  • Company employees in your network.  Yes, it instantly shows who from your network works at that company now.
  • New hires at the company.  Do you understand the power here?  Look at the type of people they are hiring, and mimic their style a bit.  Connect with these guys and gals and ask them what their experience has been like as a new hire.
  • All company employees.  Yep, if an employee of that company has Linkedin, then they will be listed here.
  • Latest Tweets.
  • Recent blog posts.
  • Recently posted jobs.  Bingo!
  • Recent company activity.

It’s all there.  Just about everything you need.

Search Jobs on Linkedin

I know what you’re thinking.  You’re wondering why I didn’t toss this one up a little earlier in the guide.  My reason is simple.  You can’t look for jobs on Linkedin until your profile is looking spiffy.  Once you’re ready to show off your profile, then it’s time to rock and start searching job postings right on Linkedin.  Remember, a poor profile could possibly hurt you, so make sure it’s looking slick before you search jobs.

Right up top you’ll see that you can click on “Jobs”.  Hover over it and click on “Find Jobs”.  Now, the cool thing is that right away Linkedin will highlight jobs that you might be interested.  They search your profile for keywords and send you some suggestions.  That’s a great way to start, or you can go right in and search keywords and specific locations for jobs.

Alright, so here’s the cool part.  Once you click on a job description that seems interesting, you’ll find a ton of helpful tools.  Along with a job description, you’ll also see who posted it, who from your network is somehow connected to the person that posted the job, and who from your network works there.  This is the bomb.  Just…  It’s the bomb.

Update Status Often

Maybe not as often as Twitter or Facebook, but try to update your status on Linkedin a couple times a day.  The more you update, the more likelihood that your status will appear in email updates out to your network.  Keep your updates professional, with actual updates to your professional career.  Linkedin can get very social, and you’ll be surprised to see how a simple update can bring some good back to you.

COTJ’s Final Words

Linkedin may seem a little overwhelming at first, but it’s like any other social media channel.  Once you get used to it and start to grow a network, it will spiral out of control and you’ll become addicted.  Twenty connections will lead to fifty, and one hundred will lead to two hundred.  These connections will be invaluable to your career now, and even more valuable to you in the future.

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42 comments
MirAsraful
MirAsraful

Magnetizing, instead of pushing, is critically important for several reasons. First, the recruiter initially approaching you will likely spark a much more beneficial scenario than you approaching him. The person’s not approaching you just to chat. He’s selecting you because he thinks you may be a match for an open opportunity he has right now. Second, the entire act of magnetizing is simply empowering. Gone are the feelings of frustration, repeatedly being ignored, and continually getting rejected. Instead, the right recruiters seek you out.

 

So create your account http://goo.gl/KT9pV

Alyson
Alyson

Sorry, a second question for you! How important is it to add a profile pic? Does it matter?

Alyson
Alyson

This was a great article and helped me get started. I do have one unanswered question. I have the emails of a few recruiters that I've dealt with and I'm wondering what your thoughts are about connecting with them. A couple of them are recruiters to whom I've sent resumes for open positions but did not hear back; a couple others were in-house recruiters that I did interview with, was sent forward in the interview process but did not ultimately get the position. As I was setting up my LinkedIn account I added them - and they accepted - so I assume (hope) this was typical practice?

Élan
Élan

Here's my LinkedIn question: When I see a LinkedIn button on a website (like this one) should I connect with the blog author? Even if I've never interacted with the blogger directly? I always feel like too much of a stranger. What would you suggest?

Linda H
Linda H

The content of your article is good. I would like to forward or share on Linkedin however, your language prevents me from doing so.

Subramani B
Subramani B

Nice post Rich. @Bill, Kirk- thanks for the additions

Kirk Baumann
Kirk Baumann

Rich - Excellent article on LinkedIn for beginners! I particularly like the part about tailoring the invitation. Personally, I hate getting the "I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn". I want to know a couple of things: -How do I know you? -What can I do for you? Why are you connecting with me? I think you might like this article I did a while back - it compliments yours well: If You're Not Linked In, You Might Be Left Out: http://bit.ly/gaW734 I'm definitely going to share your article with my network (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook...you name it!). Keep up the great work! Kirk Baumann www.campus-to-career @kbaumann

terri
terri

Great LinkedIn roadmap! You've just cut my LinkedIn processing time in half now that I understand how to attack the site!

Corey Witt
Corey Witt

Hey Rich, it always amazes me how LinkedIn is overlooked when social media best practices are discussed. Sometime it starts and ends with "make sure you're on LinkedIn", but doesn't go further into how we can make LinkedIn much more useful. I found you're points to be very insightful and as far as "beginners" are concerned, I think some people who fancy themselves as "intermediate" or "advanced" LinkedIn user can learn a lot from your guide. Thanks for the tips! - Corey Urban Interns http://www.urbaninterns.com

Bridget
Bridget

Great post! I love Linkedin! I do have a quick question: What if you've sent quite a few requests to colleagues for endorsements, but aren't getting any reply? I know people are busy & just forget to do this.... What are your suggestions? Maybe a personal email?

Calandra
Calandra

This is a great post. I've definitely picked up a few tips. I definitely think that LinkedIn is a social media site that should be utilized by every professional.

Stephanie Reed
Stephanie Reed

Hey Rich, This is FABULOUS! Great quick & dirty intro for beginners! I will definitley be sharing this. Greart post Rich ;-)

Candace
Candace

Excellent! I've been looking for a straight-forward, clear article on LinkedIn basics, and this is it! Thank you for creating such a wonderful resource - I plan to share this on my blog today.

Jessica Lawlor
Jessica Lawlor

Hey Rich! Awesome post...I really love LinkedIn, but definitely picked up a few new tricks. What are your thoughts on paying for LinkedInpro or whatever the next level is. I always get frustrated when I'm going through pages of people and all of a sudden it stops and says, "you have to pay to see more!" It's just a general annoyance right now, as I really don't need to keep searching and searching, but is there more value to paying up?

Diana Antholis
Diana Antholis

THIS is fantastic. Definitely sending it around. Thanks :)

@BillBoorman
@BillBoorman

Rich, A good intro as always. There's a few things I think new users should be aware of when they create a LinkedIn profile: 1: Your orofile will read 100% even if you haven't completed the add skills section. You must do this, as the LinkedIn matching system that recommends you to employers via the apps matches skills first. 2: Download the Jobs Insider Toolbar. This will give you a great look inside the companies behind 8 job boards ads, as well as let you see how you are connected to them. 3: Update your status every few days. 4: Sharing links gets you noticed and gains connections. 5: The standard invite will be more succesful than the tailored one. (Suprising I know), but you have to try it for yourself then compare results. The experts tell you this is the case, but the results to requests don't. Test a few and see what works. (I have and the feedback I get from others that actually do it is the same.) 90% of requests are accepted/declined via mobile or e-mail, so the request is not the one you have shown in the post. Justification of a connection request in the message is often seen as spam. 6: Join all the groups you can. This opens up connections to you. 7; Set RSS feeds from the careers section of company profiles. this updates you first on jobs as they happen. 8: If you do anything creative, add the portfollio app to showcase your work. 9: Everyone job seeking should convert their profile to a resume using the LinkedIn resume maker. You can create 6 different formats, each with a URL, just don't forget to change the order around. 10: Make sure your profile settings show your full profile and are open to all. Bill

Sajjida Alloo
Sajjida Alloo

Hi Rich, What are your thoughts on writing an overview or summary for yourself as though in 2nd party context. For example for me, I would write "SA is a technical professional, with experience in.....pursuing a Masters in IS....." Instead of "I am technical professional..." Is it about a style of writting, or is that a trend now? Or whatever you are comfortable with? -SA

Kym
Kym

Rich, Thanks for the interesting information. I kept wondering what all the buzz was about!

Monali Parmar
Monali Parmar

Great article! It's exactly the sort of advice new grads need as they get ready to enter the workforce. And a wonderful refresher for those of us who think we have a perfect profile.

Marty McDonald
Marty McDonald

Great article, very well laid out. This is great for anyone looking to learn LinkedIN. LinkedIN is my favorite tool to use to Recruit (outside of Job Fairs) Keep up the good work Cornz!

Jenny Foss
Jenny Foss

Well done, my friend! Well done! And thank you. Now I can send my people here and bypass creating something similar over on JobJenny! ;)

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Hi Elan! The answer is, yes! Absolutely! We like to hear from readers and if you connect on Linkedin, just state that you're a reader and wanted to connect. I'd be shocked to find any bloggers reject the connection! Thanks for the great question.

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Hi Terri - Thanks for the comment. Would love a testimonial on how this helped! No obligation of course!

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Hey Corey - Thanks so much for the comment. Hopefully soon I'll be able to put an intermediate guide as well :)

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Hi Bridget - thanks for the comment and question. First thing I'll ask is if you are sending customized messages or are you just sending the blanket message? A lot of people don't check their Linkedin often, and some may not be using the email they were when they first set up Linkedin. If you can see their email, try a personal email real quick. Short and sweet. If not, then just continue to connect with others. Don't get frustrated. Keep going and even increase the amount you're sending out.

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Hi Stephanie, thanks so much for the comment and for sharing it out to the Cabrini students!

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Hi Candace - Thanks so much for the comment and thanks for sharing on your blog!

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Hey Jessica - great to hear from you! Thanks for the comment and questions. It MIGHT Be worth it to try for a month or two. If I were you, maybe try out Job Seeker Basic for a month. It's just under $20 and if you do it for a month or two then you aren't putting yourself down too much. I don't think you need it, but it can't hurt to try!

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Hey Diana - Thanks so much. Pass it on to your friends, please :)

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Hey Bill - Excellent. When I create the intermediate guide, I'll put some of these things in there. I wanted to keep it very basic for beginners.

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Hey Sajjida - Thanks for the comment/question. Do you mean a review in Linkedin?

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Hey Kym - Thanks for the comment. Let me know if you have any questions!

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Hi Monali - Thanks for your comment. Like other social media channels, Linkedin is always changing. Even I could always use a refresher, so I hope this helps the college student newbies, and others looking to update their profile.

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Hey Jenny - Glad to help out. Send those folks over!

Jim Dodge
Jim Dodge

I had this exact question and didn't even know it. Why not be more 'yes' to connecting? Possible distractions, but overall I like the idea of not holding back on making connections out of the blue. If you are on the blog you are already interested and have a connection. Thanks Rick!

Élan
Élan

Thank you so much for the fast answer. From now on, I won't feel shy about connecting with my favorite writers on LinkedIn.

Sajjida
Sajjida

I meant when u write about yourself on your profile/summary. Refer to yourself by name, I guess it's a personal choice!

ArbesaHyseni
ArbesaHyseni

hi rich i was wondering what is a good way to contact you ? you have an email you would share and i will definitely find you on Linkden

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Sajjida - I think that works out well and maybe it is personal preference. I can check it out for you sometime!

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