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Getting Started on LinkedIn: An Introduction

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As you may or may not know, LinkedIn is a rapidly growing professional social media networking site. Since its official launch in 2003 LinkedIn has expanded to over 500 million users as of January 2021! Despite this, I’ve noticed that many people still do not utilize this social media platform. To be honest, I myself only created my own professional profile on LinkedIn a few months ago, but I have since learned how beneficial it can be for maintaining professional relationships, job searches and finding industry information.

This blog post is part one of a series featuring the benefits and features of having a LinkedIn account!

As I mentioned before, LinkedIn is a professional social networking site. It is used by professionals to connect with other professionals in and across various fields. Although this network was designed with working professionals in mind in 2003, it’s also been recognized as a hugely beneficial resource for students as well as those on the job hunt.

Profile Builder:

When you create your account, the profile builder guides you through and lets you know what you need to do to improve the strength of your profile page. Having a complete profile means the strength of your Profile Strength Meter will increase. Once this meter has reached “All-Star” you can begin to share your profile across other social media networks.

Your profile acts as a master resume. You can list:

  • Education
  • Professional experience
  • Volunteer work
  • Classes you’ve taken
  • Achievements
  • Contact Information
  • Test Scores
  • Patents

You can also convert your entire profile as a .pdf for printing if you’re on the job hunt!

When you are filling out your profile you should ensure that you are listing the correct companies for your education and work experience as LinkedIn will search for the correct company and create its own version of a hyperlink to that company’s page. This not only adds legitimacy to your LinkedIn profile but can also help attract co-workers or school colleagues to your new profile!  For example, Brighton College’s LinkedIn Company Page is titled “Brighton College Canada” as there are multiple schools under the same name. If you are a Brighton College student you should ensure that your profile links to the correct school in order to legitimize your educational information.

Privacy Settings:

Because your profile is so in depth, it is a good idea to only connect to people you truly know (as a general rule that goes for most social media networking too), or people who you would like to network with. Privacy settings on LinkedIn allow the user to share only the information they choose, however according to the privacy policy by default your account “is set up to share the information that the vast majority of our users are interested in sharing.”[1] To change your privacy settings you simply hover over your name in the upper right corner and click on “Settings.” There you will find complete access to all your customizable settings including your privacy settings.

Connections:

The final piece of the puzzle is to add a few connections. LinkedIn will automatically prompt you to search via Facebook or through your e-mail address book; however, this is not required. You can search organically for connections by typing their name in the search box in the upper right corner as well. Once you have a few connections LinkedIn automatically generates a list of “People You May Know” which you can check regularly as your contact list grows.

Stay tuned for part two of this series next week!

 


[1] http://www.linkedin.com/legal/privacy-policy

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