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How to Get Started on LinkedIn – Step by Step Guide

Get started on LinkedIn today! By now most people have at least heard the word “LinkedIn” tossed around in their lives; let’s be clear on what exactly LinkedIn is and how to better think about the benefits of properly usage. 

LinkedIn is a combination of your cell phone contacts, email contacts, breakroom water cooler, professional conference, weekend bbq, and Friday night happy hour all in one platform in the digital world.

Founded in 2002 out of co-founder Reid Hoffman’s living room, LinkedIn is an online social network that connects the world’s professionals to make them more successful and productive.  Microsoft acquired LinkedIn in December 2016. It is considered the Facebook for professionals and general functions in the same fashion, so if you can navigate Facebook you’ll be in good shape for using LinkedIn.

 

Why network on LinkedIn?

The quality of connections and the scalability is key when thinking about networking, LinkedIn helps with this as the professional network has over 500 million users in more than 200 countries, with 30% being from the United States and 70% International.  

LinkedIn helps you build and maintain relationships in the busy world we all live in.  Not all of us can attend the continuous amount of in-person networking events, or fly around the global for professional conferences; to that extend, online networking is an efficient way to get your name out there.  In-person networking is very high quality and I would very much suggest attending as many in-person events as possible.  Even with the in-person events, LinkedIn helps maintain those relationships over the long haul.  

There is a chance to join groups of like-minded individuals and share insights (think accounting groups, plumber’s associations, school alumni.)  LinkedIn is made up of CEOs of large Fortune 500 companies as well as small business owners looking to get their brand name known – there are thousands of groups made for sharing ideas, organizing meet ups, and just general chatting.

Career opportunities are often posted on this platform.  So along with connecting and chatting with other professionals, joining business groups, and following companies there are job opportunities posted on Linked in all the time.  In fact, there is a who section of the website dedicated to connected you with the right job.

 

How people who Think Rich use LinkedIn

Think Rich and treat LinkedIn like your own personal garden.  You plant seeds (connect with people), till the fields and give attention (like, share, interact), and reap the rewards of the harvest (meaningful interactions and new opportunities.)  Some areas of your LinkedIn garden will grow fast and well, while others will have weeds which you will have to focus more attention.  The grass is greener where you water it!

Think Rich and have a professional photo of yourself; as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. Include a professional headline with more than just your job title – expand the section and give a mini elevator pitch to the world!  

Within your profile, there are sections including Summary, Professional Experience, Education, Volunteer History, Skills and Accomplishments, and Interests. 

The Summary section is very important as it allows an opportunity to showcase both your professional and personal side.  The section should be structured as more of a conversation rather than a bullet point list and be about 80% professional and 20% personal in nature. Include key words that you feel fit and would be words that would allow potential connections to search and find you.

The Experience section is an area that is considered the meat and potatoes.  Pull out your resume and cover letter and ensure you are selective with what you include in this section.  Not every detail of your experience should to be included, a general overview with key details will keep it much more reasonable to review.  Be sure to include key words that you would want to be known and searched for (example, manager, owner, hard worker, leader, etc.)

In the other sections (Education, Volunteer History, Skills and Accomplishments, and Interests) fill these in with the relevant information that you feel would represent you appropriately.

 

How people who Think Poor use LinkedIn

Those who Think Poor view LinkedIn like insurance; they quickly select some options on the front end and then forget about it.  That is until of course, they want another opportunity to advance their career or worse yet, they lose their job all together – they then realize their network has not been cultivated to support them in their time of need.

Thinking Poor includes having an unprofessional or no picture on your profile, writing about inappropriate personal topics, and of course – keeping an out of date or inactive profile.

 

I’ll leave you with this, successful networking on LinkedIn does takes some time and forethought on the front end to set up the main sections, but from there it should be fun and relatively easy to maintain!  Think Rich, it’s your garden to cultivate and grow!  

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