Hi there, and welcome back to The Brown Parachute Club! This week we’re going to talk about one of the most important tools in your “Job Hunting Toolbox”, LinkedIn. As you probably know by now, LinkedIn is Facebook for business professionals. It allows you to build a network of contacts from many diverse backgrounds. In theory, this network will someday help you find a job. In theory.
According to a LinkedIn company timeline, it was the brainchild of Reid Hoffman, launched from his living room in May 2003. That’s ancient history in “Tech Time”. He was a veteran board member of Google, eBay, and PayPal. So this was not a “blogger in his mother’s basement” discovery. He put together a team from an early social networking company called (go figure) SocialNet and PayPal and boom, a social networking giant was born!
You have probably heard from every job placement professional how important it is to “Network” and “Put yourself out there!” But how do you do that exactly ? Hopefully, this article will show you how.
It all starts with your Profile. This is your “Online Résumé” that you present to the digital world. It’s very important for you to fill out your profile as completely as possible. Entering as much personal information as you are comfortable with, along with your previous work experience. I’m not talking about posting your Social Security number or your current relationship status, however, you do want your profile to attract attention. LinkedIn provides many ways for you to do this.
Before I get too far ahead of myself, I should go into a little more detail about what you will actually be doing on LinkedIn. If you are familiar with Facebook, LinkedIn should be relatively familiar to you. If you aren’t on Facebook, grab a hold of your son, daughter, or anyone you know under forty and get your account set up right away! As I mentioned before, LinkedIn is Facebook for Business. The theory is that you will be able to create a network of contacts you can reach out to when needed. Like when you’re laid off from your job!
This is directed at people who are still working. This is my first DO AS I SAY, NOT AS I DID! When I set up my LinkedIn account, I foolishly used my work email account as my logon. DO NOT DO THIS!!!! When you are laid off from your job, and you have forgotten your LinkedIn password, where will they send the email to reset your password? You got it! The email account from the job you were just fired from and no longer have access to! Make sure to use your home email, or better yet, a job hunting email account. I was eventually able to change the logon id on my account (without losing all my contacts), but it was a colossal pain in the butt!
I will spend the rest of this article going over each of the different sections of the LinkedIn website.
Home: Obviously, this is the Home Page. This is similar to your Facebook Home Page, where you will see articles that are shared or posted by your LinkedIn Contacts. The left side has a section called Me. This is a shortcut to your LinkedIn Profile Page. I will cover that later. The right side has a list of trending topics as well as a recommended company for you to check out.
My Network: This is the nuts and bolts of LinkedIn. This is the page where all of your LinkedIn Contacts (or Connections) are displayed. On the left side of the page, you will see the number of Connections that you currently have. Click on the number to see a list of those contacts. The center section of the page is a list of LinkedIn Members you can Invite to become one of your LinkedIn Connections.
Jobs: The Jobs Page is pretty neat. Based on your Job Experience you listed in your Profile, LinkedIn suggests jobs that may be a match for you. It’s like having your own personalized Headhunter!
Messaging: This is where you can stay in touch with your LinkedIn Connections and send them Messages. However, you can only send Message to YOUR Connections. I didn’t try this, but I’m pretty sure you have to be a Connection of Bill Gates in order to send him a Message! The left side of the page is a list of your recent Messages and the center section is where you compose a Message to your Connections.
Notifications: This is where you receive notices that your Connections have upcoming work anniversaries, birthdays, and more importantly, when someone has viewed your Profile. That is the primary goal of LinkedIn, getting noticed and getting people to view your Profile! Stay caught up with all of your Notifications so you don’t miss out on anything!
Me: It’s all about you, baby! Sorry, I couldn’t resist. Anyway, this page IS all about you, and it’s the information your Connections, as well as prospective Employers, will read about you! It is broken down into many different sections.
Your Articles & Activity: This section keeps track of any articles you have written for LinkedIn or shared from another source.
Experience: This is the meat and potatoes of your Profile. You will list all of your work experience here. You should be able to cut and paste the relevant info from your résumé here.
Volunteer Experience: List any volunteer work that you do in this section.
Featured Skills & Endorsements: This is where contacts and former co-workers can endorse you for specific skills. Some of these can be pretty basic, but some are pretty detailed.
Recommendations: This is where former co-workers can write up a nice reference for any future employers to review. Don’t forget to write up one of these for fellow co-workers who become laid off as well. Good karma.
Accomplishments: This is for any special project you were involved in, as well as any publications or blogs that you write for.
Following: There are various individuals, companies, and groups that you can follow from this section of the Profile.
That’s it for my overview. Remember, LinkedIn is all about getting noticed. Start by “Liking” an article shared by one of your contacts. Then “Share” one yourself. Keep in mind this is a business site and videos of puppies and babies may be adorable, but they should be kept on Facebook. LinkedIn is all about business!
Needless to say, this blog is instantly shared on LinkedIn and Facebook the moment it is published! After all, what’s the point of writing these articles, if nobody is going to see them!! I hope this article has inspired you to really dig into LinkedIn and make it your “Go To” tool in your “Job Hunting Toolbox”!
One thing I forgot to mention is that you have to be a LinkedIn Member to view someone’s Profile. So don’t wait, sign up now! It’s free! To see an example of what a LinkedIn Profile looks like, please click on this link to my Profile. I’ve lost weight since that picture was taken, so please don’t judge!
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