Category Archives: Extra

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 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

Educational License for LinkedIn In 30 Minutes

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The following terms apply to the Educational License for LinkedIn In 30 Minutes:

Educational License Terms

  • LinkedIn In 30 Minutes is provided to the purchasing educational institution under the terms of a non-transferable, one-year educational license.
  • This Educational License applies to the PDF, .epub, and .mobi versions of LinkedIn In 30 Minutes.
  • The Educational License is valid for one year from the date of purchase or the start of the subscription.
  • The purchasing institution warrants that copies of the files shall only be distributed to students, faculty, and staff of the school.
  • The purchasing institution may not rent, sell, or redistribute copies of the digital content to any other people, or make the files publicly available on any network, device, storage service, or Internet-connected computer.
  • The purchasing institution may not create derivative works from the contents of the guide, or encourage others to do so.
  • The digital content is provided “AS IS” and neither the author nor publisher i30 Media Corporation shall have any obligation to provide maintenance, support, enhancements or modifications thereto. i30 Media Corporation specifically disclaim all express and implied warranties of any kind including, but not limited to, any warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose and non-infringement. In no event shall i30 Media Corporation or the author be liable to any party for direct, indirect, special, incidental, exemplary or consequential damages however caused and on any theory of liability arising in any way related to the digital content, even if i30 Media Corporation or the author has been advised of the possibility of such damages. To the maximum extent not prohibited by law or regulation, the purchasing institution and affiliates further assume all liability for their use, reproduction, display, or distribution of the digital content and agree to indemnify and hold harmless i30 Media Corporation and the author from and against any and all claims, suits, actions, demands and judgments arising therefrom.
  • Any use, reproduction or distribution of the digital content which is not in accordance with this Educational License shall automatically revoke all rights granted to the purchasing institution.
  • This Educational License does not grant any rights in or to any intellectual property owned by i30 Media Corporation except those rights expressly granted hereunder.
  • Terms and information may change at any time.

LinkedIn In 30 Minutes Honored In The 2013 USA Best Book Awards

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USA Best Book Awards WinnerThe In 30 Minutes team is pleased to share the news that LinkedIn In 30 Minutes has been named the award winner in the Business/Career category of The 2013 USA Best Book Awards! The guide, written by Melanie Pinola and available in ebook and paperback editions, helps readers supercharge their LinkedIn job-seeking and networking efforts. As you can see from the list of winners on the USA Book News website, the USA Best Book awards are a big deal, with submissions from both indie and large publishing houses in dozens of categories.

There are so many positive things I could say about Melanie, ranging from her incredible talents as a writer to her dedication to the publishing process. In terms of endorsements of the guide, I think it’s best to turn to some of the real reviews that readers have left on Amazon, Goodreads and elsewhere:

After reading this book (it’s a short and super-fast read), I logged into LinkedIn right away and immediately applied some of the author’s advice to improve my profile. Much of what is in the book is common sense but there are lots of easy, simple suggestions on how to get the most out of LinkedIn, whether you’re looking for like-minded people or mentors in your industry, job-seeking, or simply trying to advance your career.

I already had a LinkedIn account, which I use on a regular basis, but still found the book very helpful. The author gave examples and explained why it is important to detail and promote your account. Reading this book has motivated me to return to my account and update it to make it more thorough and attention-grabbing.

I especially liked the information about connecting with other people and the ideas of how to connect with people who can help you gain information and job leads, even if you don’t personally know them. This is beneficial to everyone who is looking for career leads.

I was looking for a guide to LinkedIn when I realized that the author of this book is one of my favorite writers for Lifehacker! Always loved her advice and resourcefulness, so I wasn’t surprised that she wrote this book for the mass of people who are looking to get the best out of the LinkedIn service.

Thanks Melanie, for writing such a great guide, and congratulations on winning this award!

An analysis of LinkedIn for students, and updates to the LinkedIn privacy policy

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LinkedIn for studentsLinkedIn recently updated its privacy policy and terms of service, after launching LinkedIn for Education. Here’s the rundown on what these changes mean.

Overall, I think the changes are good news. Most of us think of LinkedIn as a social network for professionals or jobseekers, but it’s really more of a network for anyone interested in the future of their careers. So it makes sense that LinkedIn has opened its doors to students under the age of 18 (age 13 and older; 14+ in the US). The earlier kids start thinking about what they want to do with there lives–and finding liked-minded individuals as well as mentors–the better.

Facebook started out as a college social network, but now it’s emphasis is more on the social and less on the college part, so LinkedIn can also fill the void for college students looking into their career prospects. ReadWrite had a great post back in April called Dear College Students: LinkedIn Is Not The Same As Facebook, in which the author, Brian S Hall, notes the reasons why college students aren’t using LinkedIn even when they should be–and how LinkedIn needs to do more for students while colleges need to help students learn how to use LinkedIn. The introduction of LinkedIn University might help.

So with its broader focus on the younger crowd (LinkedIn’s core demo skews towards the older generations), the social network had to update its privacy terms. For members under the age of 18, there will be different default settings and special support ticket routing, according to LinkedIn’s blog post.

For all members, LinkedIn’s privacy policy changes include these updates:

  • We have shortened the amount of time we store personal or location (IP address) data obtained through our off-site plug-ins (like the LinkedIn Share button) – and we now delete this information as soon as possible (as it comes into our system), and at the most, within seven days.
  • We have updated the privacy policy to cover the data sharing that occurs when you choose to bind your SlideShare and LinkedIn accounts.
  • We have updated the section of the privacy policy that allows what LinkedIn can suggest to you based on the data that you have chosen to upload from your email address books.

The most interesting part is that last bullet. What does LinkedIn do with the data it gets when you choose to connect your email address book? Well, it seems like the change is specifically to suggest people you could connect to based on your contacts’ connections (whether on LinkedIn or not):

Section 1.4.: We explain that we use your uploaded address book information to recommend connections to you “and others”, including showing you and other LinkedIn members that you share the same uploaded contacts who may or may not be LinkedIn members, in order to help you build your network and be better connected. We also changed the explicit reference to “Rapportive” to refer to LinkedIn software tools in order to accommodate branding changes and new products in the future. We also removed some duplicative language from this section.

Makes sense. After all, LinkedIn is all about that “I know a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy” who could possibly be a big help in your career, whether you’re a high school/college student or someone with thirty years of work experience.

Avoid These Terrible LinkedIn Photo Mistakes

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LinkedIn profile photo mistakesThat photo that goes along with your LinkedIn profile sends a message. It can say: “Look how professional and hireable I am” (the classic headshot). Or it can say: “I have a bizarre sense of humor and don’t know how to use LinkedIn” (photo of a cow, anyone?). Or it can say: “I’m not really here, so don’t bother clicking on my profile” (the outline of a generic person when you don’t upload a photo).

Unlike with other social networks, the quality of your profile photo really makes a difference on LinkedIn. A missing or inappropriate photo is one of the main reasons recruiters won’t click your LinkedIn profile. Besides your name, headline, and location, your photo is all anyone on LinkedIn sees of you in the search results, so having the best one possible really counts.

The best photo for your LinkedIn profile follows the standards of a professional headshot or portrait. Yes, that probably sounds as exciting as taking a yearbook photo (which is very similar), but if your goal on LinkedIn is to connect with more people professionally or find a job, the standard professional photo tricks are the most important.

You don’t have to pay someone to take your photo (although that is usually the easiest route. You can get a professional headshot inexpensively at any portrait studio or even Target). The main things to avoid, though, are photos that are:

  • Inappropriate or unprofessional: a wacky photo when you’re in a serious industry, for example, or a photo of you in a too-social location (like the bar or at a party)
  • Blurry: you want the image of you to be clear. For the same reason, pixel-y and grainy photos don’t work here.
  • Overly busy: if your background is too busy (with too many other things or people), it will distract from your profile photo. Keep the focus on you by using a plain background. Similarly, avoid wearing extreme patterns or colors that can compete with your face, such as bright reds or beiges.
  • Missing: this might be worse than a bad photo of you, since at least with a bad photo you’re actually trying!

NYC photographer Eric Calvi offers some basic guidelines for a better photo shoot, which can be boiled down to “Keep It Simple.” (Avoid flashy accessories, darker shades look best, keep the background simple, etc.)

Finally, besides looking the professional part in the photo (dressed suitably for your industry), you should be recognizable in the photo. Headshots work best because they feature your head and some of your shoulders at the best size for a thumbnail. If taken from too far away, your face will be too small in the profile pic. Also make sure your photo is recent, within the last few years at least.

All that said, don’t stress out too much about your photo. As long as it looks professional and appropriate, it should be a great help rather than a hindrance for your networking needs. At least your profile will be 7 times more likely to be found than those generic gray avatars!

For more tips on how to improve your LinkedIn profile, read Melanie’s guide, LinkedIn In 30 Minutes: How to create a rock-solid LinkedIn profile and build connections that matter. The guide is available in several formats, including Kindle, iPad, Nook, PDF, and paperback.