LinkedIn Groups Explained

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LinkedIn groups come in two flavors: open and members-only. Open groups are exactly that — anyone can join at any time. Content posted in open groups is visible to anyone on LinkedIn and also indexed for search. In a members-only group, content is only visible to group members. If a LinkedIn group is members-only, you will see a tiny lock icon within its description in the search results.

To join an open LinkedIn group, simply click the Join button next to the group in the search results or on the group’s page. To join a members-only group, you will also click the Join button. However, depending on the group’s settings, a group manager may need to review your LinkedIn profile and approve you for membership.

LinkedIn Group Membership approval

You Got In; Now What Should You Do?

LinkedIn will allow you to join up to 50 groups. However, membership in so many groups is unlikely to benefit you much unless you are an active participant. For this reason, I’d suggest joining no more than 10.

Focus on groups that are most relevant to your industry, career, or interests. Avoid those that are not well managed; they tend to be filled with professionals who are only interested in self-promotion. The spam they post adds nothing to the conversation, and can be a distraction if you are notified every time someone adds a new topic.

How you choose to participate in a group is up to you. Options which that should yield favorable results (by enhancing your professional reputation, increasing invitations to connect, or catching the attention of potential employers) include:

  1. Answering questions other group members have asked.
  2. Asking thoughtful or stimulating questions of your own.
  3. Posting links to articles other group members will find interesting.

This excerpt is from LinkedIn In 30 Minutes, 2nd Edition, by Angela Rose. Learn more about the book or purchase a copy here.

How to publish an essay or post on LinkedIn

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How to publish a post on LinkedIn

If you have more to convey than a 300-character update will allow, you can publish a post on LinkedIn. This original content becomes part of your LinkedIn profile and is shared with your connections. It’s also searchable both on and off LinkedIn. This means even non-LinkedIn members who search for content related to your topic using Google or another search engine may find your post.

LinkedIn posts also can also result in followers. These are LinkedIn members outside of your network who choose to follow what you publish, even if you are not connected. Once they have clicked the Follow button next to one of your posts, LinkedIn will notify them whenever you publish a new post. Followers expand your reach significantly without the need to add direct connections.

If LinkedIn’s algorithm determines your post is high-quality, the site may distribute it beyond your connections and followers on Pulse, LinkedIn’s personalized news feed for members. LinkedIn has not revealed how the Pulse algorithm picks content, but there has been speculation that posts doing well within your network of connections and followers (that is, getting lots of likes, comments, and re-shares) are most likely to be featured on Pulse.

Best Practices for LinkedIn Posts

Because they become part of your LinkedIn profile, long-form posts should share your professional expertise. You can write about industry trends, solutions you have used to overcome various challenges, tips and tricks of interest to others in your profession, and advice based on your experience. Consider the following best practices for posts your network is certain to notice:

  • Write a short, concise yet catchy headline that will make professionals want to click through and read the entire post.
  • Stay focused. Don’t try to cover too many topics in one post.
  • Express your opinion but always remain professional.
  • Avoid topics that are overtly promotional.
  • LinkedIn posts do not have word count limits. According to LinkedIn data, the best best-performing posts have three or more paragraphs.
  • Including pictures, videos, and SlideShare presentations increases audience engagement.
  • Add tags (by clicking the tag icon at the bottom of the post) to make it easier for people searching for information on your topic to find it.
  • Carefully proofread your post before publishing. Check your spelling in Microsoft Word or another program before posting.
  • Start discussions with members who comment on your posts. This can help you gain new 1st-degree connections and grow your network.

This excerpt is from LinkedIn In 30 Minutes, 2nd Edition, by Angela Rose. Learn more about the book or purchase a copy here.

How to Find Connections on LinkedIn

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There are numerous ways to find professionals to connect with on LinkedIn. In addition to importing your email address book during the registration process, you can find Connections on LinkedIn via the following methods:

Visiting the Connections page by clicking on Connections in the LinkedIn toolbar. LinkedIn will suggest professionals for you to connect with based on your imported email address books, your employer, groups you belong to, and other people in your network.

LinkedIn Connections tips

Clicking on Add Connections in the Connections toolbar dropdown menu. LinkedIn will walk you through importing your email address book or books.

LinkedIn Email Import

Selecting Find Alumni in the Connections toolbar dropdown menu. LinkedIn will show you members who attended any university or college during the dates you select.

Using LinkedIn search. Find the search field in the toolbar, type in a name, click on the magnifying glass icon, and LinkedIn will generate a page of results.

Help! I don’t know who I should connect with

If you are unsure where to start, try searching for the names of current and former colleagues, clients, vendors, and service providers. Classmates, mentors, and people you know from religious, military, or civic organizations are another source of connections. Of course, you can connect with friends and relatives as well — and doing so can help you get your connection count up to the 50 required for a “complete” profile.

However, you should generally have a good reason for asking any LinkedIn member to connect with you, particularly if you have never met or worked together. Maybe you are in the same industry. Perhaps you belong to the same professional organization. You may have interests in common. While LinkedIn allows users to build networks as large as 30,000 people, there is really no need to do so. You will get the most benefit from the social media platform when you target your niche, not when you go after anyone and everyone just to get your numbers up. LinkedIn changes the display to “500+” when your network reaches that level, so you will not get additional public bragging rights if your network grows into the thousands.

Note: If you send too many invites that are rejected because the member selects “I don’t know this person,” LinkedIn may suspend your invitation privileges.

This excerpt is from LinkedIn In 30 Minutes, 2nd Edition, by Angela Rose. Learn more about the book or purchase a copy here.

How to leverage LinkedIn endorsements and recommendations

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It’s one thing to say you have a certain skill, such as cat wrangling, or press release writing. But it’s another thing entirely to have proof that you can do it. For this reason, LinkedIn includes a function that periodically asks your connections to endorse (or virtually recognize) the skills you have listed on your profile. When they do so, they are lending credibility to your claims and helping you enhance your professional reputation. You will receive an email notification whenever you receive LinkedIn endorsements.

LinkedIn endorsements new

LinkedIn will ask you to endorse your connections’ skills as well. You can scroll through and react to these suggestions when they pop up. Or, go directly to a profile and scroll down to the Skills and Endorsements section and click the plus sign next to the skill you would like to endorse. Because LinkedIn will notify them when you do so, it’s a great way to keep yourself top of mind. I’ve actually received emails from previous clients offering new projects after endorsing them for a skill.

The Importance of Recommendations

When a potential employer is considering you for a job, they’ll usually ask you for references. These are people who can confirm your previous work experience and vouch for your abilities and accomplishments. In a battle between two or more qualified applicants, good references can give you the leg up you need to secure an offer.

LinkedIn recommendations are kind of like references. Much like skill endorsements, recommendations add credibility to your claims and enhance your reputation. But because your connections must do more than click a single box to provide one, recommendations often mean more to recruiters considering you for a job or potential clients vetting your services.

In most cases, you will probably have to request a recommendation from a connection. Consider approaching people who value your work and services, such as previous/current managers and supervisors, previous/current coworkers, industry colleagues, and clients. Doing so is simple:

  1. Choose Privacy and Settings from the dropdown menu beneath your tiny photo in the LinkedIn toolbar.
  2. Look for the link to Manage your recommendations.
  3. Click the “Ask for recommendations” link at the top of the page.
  4. Follow the prompts to complete your request.

Protip: When asking for a recommendation, do not use the generic message LinkedIn generates for you. Instead, enter a custom message for each connection you approach. In the past, I’ve found customized messages more effective. Not only are they more personal, but they also give you the opportunity to remind your connection about shared experiences. If you are comfortable doing so, you can offer to reciprocate by recommending your connection as well.

This excerpt is from LinkedIn In 30 Minutes, 2nd Edition, by Angela Rose. Learn more about the book or purchase a copy here.

Five LinkedIn privacy settings you should change right now

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So you have a LinkedIn profile, but maybe you are not ready to take it public just yet. Perhaps you have decided you want to add another email or a phone number to your account. You may even want to change your LinkedIn password at some point. This post explains how to change LinkedIn Privacy settings for your account.

To get started, log into LinkedIn.com. All of these settings will be adjusted from the Privacy and Settings dropdown under the Account and Settings icon (the miniature version of your LinkedIn profile photo) on the LinkedIn toolbar.

Change LinkedIn Privacy Settings - five things you should change right now

As you can see, there’s a lot you can do from this page. Feel free to explore your options by clicking on any of the links displayed on the Profile, Communications, Groups, Companies & Applications and Account tabs. Here are five that you should consider changing right away:

Profile: Turn on/off activity broadcasts – If you would rather not fill your connections’ network feeds with updates every time you make a profile change, you should uncheck the box for broadcasting profile activity. You can also do this by flipping the toggle in the Notify your network? checkbox on the profile editing page.

Protip: Turning off your activity broadcasts is also a wise move if you are currently employed and do not want your coworkers or employer to know that you are looking for a new job. Updating your profile may be seen as an indication that you are planning to change companies.

Profile: Select who can see your activity feed – The default setting is Your connections, but if you would prefer to keep new connections, likes, and comments made on other members’ posts private, set this to Only you.

Profile: Edit your public profile – Click on this link, and you will be brought to your public profile page. On the right-hand side, you will see options for who can view your public profile. If you would rather keep your work-in-progress under wraps for now, select Make my public profile visible to no one. This will prevent your profile from becoming searchable on the web.

Note: Even if you are hidden to people using Google or other search engines, other LinkedIn members who search for you on the site will still be able to view your profile — all the more reason to make it great!

Communications: Set the frequency of emails – If you feel like LinkedIn is sending you too many email messages, you can change your email settings. While most people want to be notified when they have received an endorsement or a message from another user, group notifications and marketing from LinkedIn can overwhelm your inbox.

Account: Manage advertising preferences – LinkedIn — like every other social media network — likes to know what you have been doing online. If you don’t want them to track your web browsing activities and show you targeted ads, you can change this setting here.

This excerpt is from LinkedIn In 30 Minutes, 2nd Edition, by Angela Rose. Learn more about the book or purchase a copy here.

How to set up a basic LinkedIn Profile (with screenshots)

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How to Improve Linkedin Profile – The more complete your LinkedIn profile is, the better it will perform. In fact, according to LinkedIn data, users with complete profiles are 40 times more likely to been seen by other members.

More views generally equates to more opportunities — whether you are looking for a new job, establishing yourself as an expert in your industry, or using the network to market your services. This post will explain how to set up a basic LinkedIn profile.

How to Improve LinkedIn Profile

You will find a helpful Profile Strength meter in the upper right-hand corner of your new profile page. As you can see, Jezebel Kitten’s profile (see screenshot below) is currently rated beginner.

Yours will be as well — at least until you add a few essentials. LinkedIn will not consider your profile complete until it includes:

• Your location and industry
• Your current position (plus a description)
• Two past positions
• Your education details
• At least three skills
• A profile photo
• At least 50 connections

Most people don’t complete their profile on the first try. For some, it may take months of adding connections to reach that level. And while it’s a wise goal to work towards — especially if you want to make the most of your time on the network — you can still improve your LinkedIn profile ranking by entering some of the information in the list above.

how to improve LinkedIn profile

As you can see, Jezebel Kitten was able to reach the expert profile level quite easily. It took her less than 15 minutes to upload a profile image, add details about her current and previous job, note her education, and list a few skills.

how to improve LinkedIn profile

how to improve LinkedIn profile

Though it would actually be impossible for a cat to do this (at least by herself) LinkedIn’s profile editing interface is so intuitive, even newbies should find it a breeze to operate.

For example, to add a photo, all you need to do is click on the photo box and then follow the instructions in the upload wizard. To add your work experience, click the

Add Experience link in your profile header or the Add a position link at the bottom of the experience box.

Adding your education and skills is as simple as selecting the corresponding box beneath Add a section to your profile, and then entering information in the fields provided.

Now you know how to improve linkedin profile. Once you have the basics covered, you can begin reaching out to other LinkedIn members, joining groups, and building your network of contacts. You can also continue improving your profile by adding other information you would like LinkedIn users to know about you.

There is no limit to the number of changes you can make or when you can make them. I’m still tweaking my LinkedIn profile to this day.

This excerpt on how to improve LinkedIn profile is from LinkedIn In 30 Minutes, 2nd Edition, by Angela Rose. Learn more about the book or purchase a copy here.

How to register for LinkedIn (with screenshots)

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The following instructions show how to register for LinkedIn online. First, open your web browser and type linkedin.com into the address bar. You should see something like this:

Register for Linkedin - step-by-step instructions

Register for LinkedIn: First steps

To register on LinkedIn, you will need to enter the following data:

  • First name
  • Last name
  • Email address
  • Password with six or more characters.

You will use your email address and password to log into LinkedIn. LinkedIn will use your email address to confirm your account during the registration process and send you notifications and other messages later on.

The email address used to register for LinkedIn will become part of your LinkedIn profile. While it is possible to change it at any time, you can simplify things by using a professional email address now. You probably wouldn’t want to put “catlover86@aol.com” on your resume, so it makes sense to keep it off your LinkedIn profile as well.

What if you don’t have a business-appropriate email address, or don’t want to use your employer’s email domain? Consider setting up a free Gmail account at gmail.com.

Enter the required data in the corresponding fields and click the Join Now link. You will be brought to a form asking for basic information:

Register for Linkedin - profile details

Your LinkedIn profile is key to everything you do on the website. Without a profile, you cannot make connections, search for jobs, or join groups.

For this reason, LinkedIn wants to start filling in information on your profile right away. Enter your country, postal code, job title, company, and industry. LinkedIn will use this information to suggest potential employers, people to connect with, and essays by thought leaders in your industry or field.

After entering the required information, click Create your profile and you will be asked about what you intend to use LinkedIn for:

Register for Linkedin - survey questions

Jezebel Kitten, my executive assistant, doesn’t know what she wants to use LinkedIn for. So, she is going to select Not sure yet.

The next step involves importing your email address book. Doing so will enable you to find some of the professionals you already know on LinkedIn without the need to search for them.

According to the social media network’s privacy policy, LinkedIn will only use the data within your address book to manage and leverage your contacts who are LinkedIn members. LinkedIn will help you grow your network by suggesting professionals you may know but are not yet connected to on the website.

Note: You can remove uploaded address data whenever you like. However, because connecting an address book is not necessary for registration — and Jezebel Kitten does not have an address book — we’re going to click on Skip.

At this point, you have to confirm your email account to continue. LinkedIn has sent a confirmation email to Jezebel Kitten at the address she entered when beginning the registration process. Once she gets that email and clicks on the confirmation link, she’ll wind up at a screen that looks something like this:

Register for Linkedin

If you are looking for a new job, or think you might want to do so in the future, you can select companies that interest you on this page. If you are not planning a job search — or don’t see any companies that you find appealing — you can click Skip.

At this point, LinkedIn’s algorithms kick in and suggest jobs that might be a good fit:

Register for Linkedin

If you would like to see updates on your homepage network feed when companies post similar jobs, you can select a few to follow. Otherwise, choose Skip and move on. After being prompted to try out LinkedIn’s mobile apps, you’re done!

LinkedIn registration complete: Now what?

Congratulations! You have successfully registered for Linkedin. You can begin connecting with other professionals, joining groups, participating in discussions, searching for jobs, posting updates, uploading photos and presentations, and more.

First take a few minutes filling in the rest of the basic information on your profile. Think of it like getting dressed: You wouldn’t leave the house without your clothing and shoes, would you? Nor should you start your LinkedIn journey with a naked profile:

Register for Linkedin

This excerpt about how to register for LinkedIn is from LinkedIn In 30 Minutes, 2nd Edition, by Angela Rose. Learn more about the book or purchase a copy here.

LinkedIn Homepage Basics

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Each time you sign into your account, the LinkedIn homepage at linkedin.com is the first thing you will see. Unlike your profile — which is all about you and visible to the public — the homepage is where you go to find out what’s going on in your network. It’s also gives a snapshot of how your profile and updates are doing within the LinkedIn universe.

LinkedIn Homepage ExampleLinkedIn Homepage Dashboard

The top portion of the LinkedIn homepage is known as the dashboard. It was designed to give you quick feedback on how your profile and updates are performing, as well as make it easy for you to perform common LinkedIn actions.

When you look at my homepage dashboard above, you will see my picture, a link to the profile editing page and a couple of interesting details. At a glance, we can see that six people have viewed my profile in the past 30 days. An update I shared — a link to one of my recently published articles — has received 10 views.

If I want to share an update, upload a photo, or publish a post, I can do so by clicking the appropriate link on the dashboard. I can also maintain contact with professionals in my network using the “ways to keep in touch” feature.

LinkedIn has identified two events that currently warrant action. I can address a particular item by liking or commenting, or skipping it altogether.

Beneath the dashboard on the LinkedIn homepage is the network updates feed. Click on the three-dot icon in the right-hand corner to sort the posts by top updates or recent updates. Within this feed, you will find articles, photos and other content your connections have shared or liked.

You will also see updates they’ve made to their profiles (unless they have adjusted their settings to hide updates — more on that later) and their newest connections. LinkedIn likes to throw a few suggestions into the mix as well. You will find both people you may know as well as jobs that may interest you.

This excerpt of LinkedIn Homepage Basics is from LinkedIn In 30 Minutes, 2nd Edition, by Angela Rose. Learn more about the book or purchase a copy here.

What are LinkedIn Updates, and how to create effective updates for your network

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LinkedIn Updates are misunderstood. In my LinkedIn network of approximately 500 people, maybe 20% have ever posted updates to LinkedIn, and maybe half that number do so with any regularity. Still, LinkedIn Updates are a useful feature that can show your expertise and also learn from your extended career network. This post will describe what LinkedIn Updates are, as well as how to create your own.

LinkedIn Updates is somewhat akin to a Facebook feed. When you go to LinkedIn.com, updates from the people in your network are presented in a reverse-chronological order. They can include the following:

  1. Profile changes of people in your network
  2. Comments left by people in your network on other people’s updates
  3. Updates left by people in your network

What exactly do the updates say? As LinkedIn is a career-focused network, most of the updates relate to career news, promotions for products or services, information relating to some career-related issue, and news and opinion articles. For instance, I follow my accountants and often see them posting quick reminders relating to filing deadlines or other tax issues.

I use updates to share news about my company and its products as well as commentary relating to bigger issues in my industry (media and book publishing). Updates tend to be short — a sentence or two is typical. I try not to be spammy, and am sure to share tips and information as well as promotions. I also leave comments on other people’s updates.

Anytime someone posts a link to an article or blog post, LinkedIn will automatically append a photo or screenshot associated with that article (you can remove it if you want). For this reason, the homepage feed of  LinkedIn Updates is often very colorful, featuring lots of photos and images that link to news stories and opinion columns. Unfortunately, it detracts from simple text updates which may not be as pretty but could be far more helpful in many cases. The tax updates shared by my accountants could save me a bundle some day!

In terms of creating your own update, look for the button at the top of the page that says “Share an update”:

What is a LinkedIn Update - and how to create your own

You can also upload a photo or publish a longer blog post.

To learn more about LinkedIn updates, check out the video below. Updates are also covered in the latest edition of LinkedIn In 30 Minutes.

Video: What are LinkedIn Updates, and how to create your own (with examples)

How to group contacts in LinkedIn using tags

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Once you’ve started connecting to people on LinkedIn, you might soon find your contacts list is, well, unwieldy. Ideally, your LinkedIn network would consist of people from all sorts of connections you’ve had: fellow classmates, previous co-workers, current co-workers, and other colleagues. There’s a way to better manage all those connections in LinkedIn, using tags.

Below you can watch a video I made showing how easy it is to group your LinkedIn contacts. You can use this not only to quickly find contacts, but also for sending more targeted messages to specific people. For example, if you’re looking for a new job, you’d probably want to send a note to your contacts other than your current boss and co-workers. You can have tags for “XYZ company,” “college classmates,” “book club,” and so on.

Basically, you just have to go to your contacts list (under Network > Contacts), select ones you want to tag, and use the tag menu to add a tag to them (or create a new custom tag to apply).

Remember, the best messages you can send on LinkedIn are relevant and personalized. Tagging contacts helps you achieve that.

Here’s a short video that shows how to do it:

http://www.boston.com/cars/news-and-reviews/2014/05/27/are-honda-civics-good-they-once-were/xpWLK0pVfhR6BwQD1KQk6L/story.html