If you want to optimize your LinkedIn profile, you need a great LinkedIn headline. In three minutes, learn how to add a better headline than your default job title. This helps with LinkedIn search, finding new jobs, and hiring new people on LinkedIn by better telling your story or adding other relevant information about you or your company. Narrated by the publisher of In 30 Minutes guides, including LinkedIn In 30 Minutes.
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.
Clicking on Add Connections in the Connections toolbar dropdown menu. LinkedIn will walk you through importing your email address book or books.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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: 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 “email@example.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:
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:
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.
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:
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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:
- Profile changes of people in your network
- Comments left by people in your network on other people’s updates
- 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”:
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)
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.
- 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.
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.
That 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.