Boasting 200 million users, social networking website LinkedIn has the potential to be an important tool for job seekers. However, having an incomplete or poorly constructed LinkedIn profile may be worse than avoiding the service entirely. Therefore, myfuturerole.com is offering two entirely free to download guides that will help candidates of all abilities to get the best out of the platform’s features.
From a step-by-step guide to signing up for an account to advanced tricks that will help you establish connections with influential professionals, you are bound to discover something you didn’t know about the service in our free downloadable PDFs. Start with our basic guide below, or jump straight to the advanced guide here.
A basic guide to using LinkedIn
Our basic LinkedIn guide is aimed at candidates who are new to the social media platform. Are you curious about what LinkedIn can do for your career? Perhaps you’re cautious about putting your personal details online? Maybe you’re sceptical of the benefits of social media? This guide deals with everything you need to know when starting out, including why you should (or shouldn’t) use the service:
- Advice on why you need a LinkedIn profile
- A step-by-step guide to creating a LinkedIn profile
- Tips for completing your profile
- All about ‘connections’ and why they are important
- Advice on the venues and etiquette for engagement on LinkedIn
- A list of dos and don’ts
Directly below, you will find a sample of content from the beginning and middle of our basic LinkedIn guide. Download the full guide now, or take a look at the advanced guide if you’re already familiar with the platform and ready to try some advanced techniques.
Why do I need a LinkedIn profile?
By making your skillset and previous experience available on LinkedIn, you may be approached by recruitment agencies or businesses directly. While this kind of passive job search is no substitute for a thorough look through myfuturerole.com’s own job listings , it’s easy to see how maintaining a LinkedIn profile could be beneficial to your career.
We believe however, the most important aspect of LinkedIn engagement is that potential employers you approach outside of the service will go looking for your profile. LinkedIn should therefore be viewed as an all or nothing proposition. By this, we mean that it’s better to have no LinkedIn profile than an incomplete or poorly constructed one.
Obviously, if you do not have a LinkedIn account, you may risk appearing as if you aren’t serious about your career, or that you aren’t serious about technology: potential employers may question why a digital marketing professional doesn’t have a LinkedIn profile for instance. However, if an employer comes across a poorly constructed, out of date LinkedIn page that doesn’t present all that a candidate has to offer, it will only negatively affect that candidate’s chances.
Fleshing out your profile further
Once you have created and logged into your account, LinkedIn does a good job of guiding you through the steps necessary to optimise it. In a side-box, you are prompted to ‘import your résumé’, to seek professional connections as well as to add to sections focused on your current and past positions, skills and expertise, education and connections.
- Transfer information from an existing, up to date CV. If you haven’t updated yours recently, this is a good excuse
- As with any content that is used in a job search, only provide information that is 100% factually accurate
- When you add a current or previous position, you must enter the company name, title, location and the period of your employment. You’re also able to enter additional information on responsibilities and achievements
- Older roles help flesh out your profile, but only include extra detail if the role was relevant to your current or intended career path
- The education section prompts you to add institutions, fields of study, dates, grades and extra-curricular activity
- Other fields include: websites, interests, groups and associations and honours and awards. Adding extra detail here isn’t essential, but will be helpful and will provide anyone who sees your profile with a more complete picture of your personality
- You can volunteer further contact and personal details that add legitimacy to your profile and further paths for contacting you. If you do opt to include any of these details (including addresses, phone numbers and marital status) be vigilant about who you establish connections with
- Other social media accounts can also be linked with your LinkedIn profile. You will generally network more efficiently if you do this, but you may consider some accounts inappropriate for this
- Note also the field for a summary: this is especially important and should concisely state your career goals and specialisms, while also dropping in search terms you want to be visible for
Like what you see? Continue learning the basics in ‘the basic guide to using LinkedIn’.
An advanced guide to using LinkedIn
Even long-term LinkedIn users can still improve their profile and their job searching techniques. In addition to ensuring that you have followed every point in our basic guide, be sure to check out myfuturerole.com’s advanced guide for the following information:
- How to manage your privacy and notification settings
- How to use Google to make connections
- Advice on how to use LinkedIn’s mobile and tablet apps
- How and why you would create a LinkedIn group
- How the ‘LinkedIn today’ news feed is useful
- SEO best practice for your optimising the visibility of your profile
Below are two small samples from our advanced guide, dealing with LinkedIn account settings a technique for filling in contact information for important people you are attempting to contact. Download and read our advanced guide for further depth, alongside many more useful tips.
If you find LinkedIn or its users intruding unnecessarily into your life, this section contains many of the most useful controls.
Turn on/off your activity broadcasts
When you make changes to most aspects of your profile, anyone who can see your activity feed will be able to see what has been changed. This can be a problem if, for instance, you start job searching and your employer notices your profile has been switched on to the ‘job searching’ mode.
Job searchers with Premium accounts should also know that a ‘job searcher’ badge may be displayed on their profile – another dead giveaway that you’re thinking of moving on. As mentioned above, this can be turned off. Click the ‘show more items’ option found in the upper half of the settings page to find this control.
Select who can see your activity feed
You can control who can view the aforementioned feed here. By default, all of your connections are able to see your feed. You can relax controls so unconnected individuals in your network or globally can see your activity (the latter being especially not recommended). You can also choose to make your feed private.
Select what others see when you've viewed their profile
When you view another person’s profile, LinkedIn lets them know (in the ‘who’s viewed your profile’ section of your profile). With this option, you can control how much information you reveal: opting for total anonymity, or revealing your industry and job title alone. However, selecting either option prevents you from seeing who is viewing your profile.
Using Google to fill in the blanks
Starting out on LinkedIn is arguably not as easy as it should be: you have to accrue connections to even see the surnames of people you’ve worked with in the past, and it may be a month or so before your digital connections resemble your actual real world network. Things improve and connections tend to start finding you once your network is large enough.
The connections system does mean that users with Basic accounts will find it hard work to cultivate outreach opportunities and connections to industry experts. Meet someone important at a conference, and LinkedIn won’t know that you’ve had a genial chat and talked about working together.
The key to success here is to operate outside of LinkedIn also. Follow the steps below, and you’ll be able to find almost anyone on the service provided that you have a third degree connection, are in a group they also use, or have some other level of tangential relationship with them via the service.
- Search for the company employing your contact. The search bar is located on the lower section of the header: switch the dropdown from ‘people’ to ’companies’.
- Navigate to the list of employees in the ‘how you’re connected’ listing. On the results page, the first name and first letter of the surname of all employees is typically all that you will have access to (in addition to their position, industry, location and employer)
- Copy and paste the name as provided into Google, along with their job title and the name of the company. This will almost always result in this person’s LinkedIn profile appearing at the top of the list, complete with full surname
This is just a sample of the information in myfuturerole.com’s advanced LinkedIn guide. For illustrations of key points and even more great tips, download the full advanced guide to using LinkedIn now.
Why not check out our basic LinkedIn guide, to ensure that you haven’t forgotten the platform’s fundamentals?