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Getting Started on LinkedIn

What is it?
Unlike the other two other major social networking sites, Facebook and Twitter, we are discussing in this guide, LinkedIn is the networking site for business. No fun and games here. No poking your friends or posting photographs like on Facebook, or telling your followers what you are eating for dinner like on Twitter, LinkedIn is serious about commerce. Its All About Connections The main purpose of LinkedIn is to allow its 90 million users, who include executives from all Fortune 500 businesses as well as businesses in 200 countries from around the world, to maintain a list of contact details about people they know and trust in business. The people on the list are called connections. Users can invite anyone (whether a LinkedIn user or not) to become a connection. This list of connections can then be used in a number of ways:

A contact network can be built consisting of o direct connections o the connections of each of their connections (called seconddegree connections) and o the connections of second-degree connections (called thirddegree connections). This network can be used to gain an introduction to someone a person wishes to know through a mutual, trusted contact. LinkedIn can then be used to find people and business opportunities recommended by someone in one's contact network.

How Popular is LinkedIn? A new member signs up on LinkedIn approximately every second. About half of the members are in the United States and 11 million are from Europe. With 3 million users, India has the fastest-growing network of users as of 2009.

So what? Why should I care?

I currently have 235 connections. LinkedIn tells me that I have more than 55,600 contacts who are friends of friends (2nd degree contacts), each one connected to

one of my connections. In addition, I have over 4,139,300 users (3rd degree contacts) that I could reach through a friend and one of their friends. Thats the power of LinkedIn! Compared to the other major social networking sites, LinkedIns users are: Older (median age: 41) Wealthier (six-figure household income) Predominantly male (2/3 male, 1/3 female) College educated (4/5 have a college degree) Wouldnt you like access to that group of potential cients? Best of all, use of LinkedIn can be free.

How do I get started?

Go to

Type your First Name 2

Last Name E-mail Address Password you would like to use for LinkedIn at least 6 characters long

Click the green Join LinkedIn button

As the next screen indicates, Lets get your professional profile started From I am currently:, click the arrow in the drop-down menu to indicate that you are either employed, a business owner, looking for work, working independently, or a student Choose your Country from the drop-down menu Type your ZIP Code. LinkedIn will not display your ZIP code, but will use it to assign a Region to your profile, so others will know the general area where you reside Type your Company. As you type, LinkedIn may help you by recognizing your company name. Type your Job Title Click the blue Create my profile button.

Your LinkedIn Profile What is a LinkedIn Profile? Think of your profile as your personal home page to the business world. Your profile is like a real-time, up-to-date resume that gives a complete picture of your background, qualifications and skills. At any time, you can go to and click the Profile link in the topleft corner to access your LinkedIn profile to view or edit your profile. Creating Your LinkedIn Profile Click on Profile and then Edit Profile from the resulting drop-down menu, and you will see a screen that looks similar to the following:

Clicking Edit just to the right of your name will get the following screen:

On this screen, you can fill in the blanks to add a Former or Maiden Name. Some potential connections may know by and look for you using a previous name. You can also change your Professional Headline. Think of this as your job title. Enter a headline that will grab peoples attention. After you have entered or changed your Basic Information, click the blue Save Changes button. LinkedIn will then take you back to your main Profile screen with the note The information has been successfully updated at the top of the screen, as shown below:

Photo LinkedIn was the last of the major social networking sites that allowed you to add a photo. Even now, you can only add one. Next, we will add your Profile Photo. Why add a photo? Chances are, with over 90 million registered users, there are multiple people in the LinkedIn database with a name the same as or similar to yours. By viewing your photo, a potential connection can be assured that you are indeed the nice person who worked with him or her at XYZ Corporation back in 2006. To add a photo, click on the Add Photo link under the image that currently appears as a silhouette. A screen similar to the one below will appear:

Click the Browse button, and a File Upload pop-up screen will appear:

Determine the folder in which you may be storing that professional photograph of you that makes you look just marvelous. (My guess is that it is in your My Pictures folder, so double click on My Pictures or other subsequent folders until you find where you store the images from your digital camera.) Once you have located the photo you would like to use as your Profile photograph, click once on the image and then click the Open button, as shown below.

LinkedIn will return you to the Upload a Photo screen with the file name that describes the photograph you just inserted.


Click the blue Upload Photo button, and . . . Voila! . . . LinkedIn will update your Profile and tell you on the subsequent screen that Your picture has been saved.


You can select who can view your new profile photo: Your Connections these are the people who are connected to you through the LinkedIn site. Your Network these are the people you are linked to through your connections. Everyone anyone who logs on to the LinkedIn site and searches for your name. Once you decide who can see your photo, click the blue Save Settings button.


You now have a photo associated with your LinkedIn profile. You are really making progress now! Post an update Should you like to let your connections in on what is happening in your professional life, you can Post an update. In the box that currently says Share an update, type your good news.


Once you have posted an update about, for instance, winning an honor, you can enter in the box below a link to the article on the Web that announced the award by typing the articles URL:


Click the blue Attach button, then decide whether to make this announcement visible to anyone who may search your profile or just your connections. By clicking in the box to the left of the blue t Twitter logo, you can also send a Twitter message known as a tweet to all of your followers on Twitter after you click the blue Share button. (See the next section of this guide on Getting Started on Twitter.) On LinkedIn, the people I am connected to are called connections, on Twitter those people are called followers. Current Position As a next step, you can edit your Current position. I have entered my position here as a Registered Agent at American Federated Insurance by clicking the Edit link to the right of my entry. Doing so will bring up a new screen. You can now change or add the following information in the boxes on the screen:


Under More information about this company, in the blue box, you can type the URL for your current company Website. To the right of Time Period, you can click the check box to indicate that you currently work at this company, and then indicate the month and year that you started in the position. (If you click the I currently work here check box, the second entry for month and year will automatically change to to present.) For the Position Description, provide details of the position, so users viewing your profile can get a quick idea of what your position involves. If you click the See examples link under the Description box, you can view examples of Position Descriptions from other industries. To save your entries, click the blue Update button. Past Positions Now that we have completed entering information about your current position, enter information about your Past positions by clicking the Add a past position link.


You will see an entry screen that is very similar to the Current position entry screen we just completed:


After you enter information in the appropriate boxes on the screen, click the blue Save Changes button. You may wish to enter additional Past Positions to show the breadth of your experience. For each additional Past Position you would like to enter, simply click the Add a past position link. Education To indicate your educational qualifications, click the Add a school link. Enter information for the fields on the following screen, and then click the blue Save Changes button:


You may desire to indicate to your connections and others that you have multiple educational experiences, such an undergraduate and then a graduate degree. So you may want to make multiple entries for Education. Simply click the Add a school link for as many entries as you would like to make and follow the same steps as above. Recommendations According to marketing guru Dan Kennedy, in talking with his clients, the number one marketing mistake his clients make is failing to collect and use testimonials. What matters is not that we say we are great. (Prospects expect us to say wonderful things about ourselves!) What matters to potential clients is who else says so. Especially if it is someone they know or whose opinion they trust, it will be worth far more than our own marketing puffery. In the brick-and-mortar world, it is sometimes cumbersome to get testimonials. You may need to ask your client write their gracious comments on company letterhead using their precious time. As a result, it may be something that, despite their assurances to you or their best intentions, they may not quite get


around to doing. But getting a testimonial on LinkedIn can be as easy as requesting a client to compose an e-mail! To request a Recommendation in LinkedIn, begin by clicking Profile, and then the Recommendations link. Once you do, LinkedIn will present you a screen that looks like this:

Across the top of the screen, you will see three tabs, one each for: Received Recommendations Sent Recommendations Request Recommendations If you have a Current or Past position on your LinkedIn profile for which you have not yet been recommended, you can click on the link Ask to be endorsed. You will then see the following screen:


After you have chosen 1) what you want to be recommended for, you can 2) decide who youll ask. LinkedIn makes this step easy for you. Click the blue LinkedIn logo to the right of the Your connections: box, and your current list of connections will become visible, as shown below.


You can select up to 200 connections from whom you can ask for a recommendation. To increase your chances of success, narrow the list to only those connections that would have known of the quality of your work while you held that particular position. When done, click the yellow Finished button. LinkedIn will return you to the previous screen:


You may notice that LinkedIn sends each recipient (of up to 200 connections) you have chosen an individual e-mail. Your e-mail requests will not be sent as a group e-mail. To complete the Recommendation request process, click the blue Send button. The Golden Rule How can you get Recommendations? One of the best ways to get Recommendations is to write Recommendations for others. The next tab will show you for which of your LinkedIn connections you have Sent Recommendations:


The third tab, Request Recommendations, allows you to ask for Recommendations from your connections, using the process described above. Connections A connection is someone with whom you have an association through the LinkedIn. One of the benefits of LinkedIn is that, once you have established a connection with someone, you will always have a live link to that person. It doesnt matter if that person changes their e-mail address (which many often do), since you will always be connected to them through LinkedIn. There are three different degrees of how you are connected with people on LinkedIn: 1. First-degree connections are people that you know personally. They have a direct relationship from their account to your account. 2. Second-degree network members know someone among your firstdegree network connections. These are friends of your friends. 3. Third-degree network members know someone among your seconddegree network connections. They are friends of your friends of your friends. 24

Your LinkedIn connections can help you advance your career and professional goals, and you can help them as well. Lets get started to establish your network of connections! Establishing Connections In the upper right corner of your Profile screen, click the Add Connections link

LinkedIn gives you two options to add to your number of connections


On the left side of the screen you can See Who You Already Know on LinkedIn by allowing LinkedIn to search contacts from your e-mail address book. If you use Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo or AOL as your e-mail service, simply type your complete e-mail ID and password and click the blue Continue button. LinkedIn will then show you your e-mail contacts that are not yet connected to you on LinkedIn and ask you if you want to connect with them. Word of Warning A temptation for you may be to simply click the box to the right of Select All. Dont do it! (I dont even know why LinkedIn offers this option!) In my case, that would result in 2,877 contacts being invited to join my network in LinkedIn. As you can imagine, I certainly dont have a personal relationship with all or even most of them. You probably have a similar situation with your e-mail contacts. LinkedIn makes it very easy for you to send invitations in bulk to your entire contact list if you want. However, even though its easy to do, its not necessarily a good idea, warns Joel Elad in LinkedIn for Dummies. It can have negative


social implications and can even potentially get you suspended from LinkedIn (and you wouldnt want that!). Recipients of your LinkedIn invitation will see an I Dont Know This Person button. If several people you have invited click this button, LinkedIn will consider you a spammer and will suspend and possibly even remove your profile and account from the site. Ouch! Rather than try to get the maximum number of LinkedIn connections (or, for that matter Facebook friends or Twitter followers), a better course of action is to determine why you would want to expand your social network. You may want to add: Colleagues from a former or past employer Classmates People You May Know Lets explore how to do that. Adding Colleagues from a Former or Past Employer Click the Colleagues tab, which is just to the right of the Add Connections tab:


You will be able to Find past or present colleagues by clicking on the View all buttons. (Note: You really wont be able to view all, since the results you will see will be limited to 50 of your colleagues.)

Check the boxes under the green arrow for the people whom you know who you would like to invite to be connections. Their names will then appear in the box to the right, with the heading Send invitations to connect to:. To increase the chances that these people will reply positively, include a personal note with your invitation to indicate why you are asking these colleagues to join your network. A quick key to success: specify what their connection to you could do for them. Check the box to the left of Add a personal note with your invitation? and then type the note in the box below. Finally, click the blue Send Invitations button. Joel Elad in LinkedIn for Dummies gives us this advice: When people get an Invitation request, they understand pretty clearly that you want something from them, whether its access to them or their network. If youve sent a canned Invitation, what they cant answer is the question, Whats in it for me? A canned 28

Invitation gives no motivation for or potential benefit of being connected to you. A custom note explaining that youd love to swap resources or introduce them to others is usually enough to encourage an acceptance. Adding Classmates In addition to colleagues at present or past companies, you could probably receive benefit by linking yourself to present or past classmates. And they could benefit by associating with you! To get started, click the Classmates link, which is just to the right of the Colleagues link:

When I clicked the name of my school in the box under Select a school from your profile: I was surprised to find the names of 77 of my classmates, as shown in the screen below. (That number is about half the number of students we had in the entire graduate school that year!)


I can then select which of my classmates I would like to invite to my network by clicking the Invite icon (which resembles an envelope) under the Send Invitation column heading. Adding People You May Know LinkedIn suggests people for you to consider adding to your connections. These may be people who: are 2nd degree connections may have one or more shared connections with you. Click the People You May Know tab, which is to the right of the Classmates link. Once the names and possibly the profile picture of these people are shown, click the Connect link for any who you would like to add to your network.


Returning to Your Profile Now that we have added to your network, lets return to build your Profile, so that current and potential connections would know how they could help you and you could help them. Click on the Profile link. Websites Next, lets click on the Add a website link.


On the next screen, LinkedIn asks for Additional Information, such as: the URL for a Personal or Company Website and Blog Interests Groups and Associations Honors and Awards. After entering this information, click the blue Save Changes button.


Twitter Do you have a Twitter account? Do you tweet? If you dont currently, dont worry. Well show you how to set up a Twitter account in the last section of this guide. If you do, and would like to link your Twitter and LinkedIn accounts, you can click the Add a Twitter account link.


LinkedIn will then give you the ability to customize your Twitter settings within LinkedIn:


Public Profile The next option in your Profile allows you to set how visitors to LinkedIn (maybe professionals who would be looking to do business with you) can view your information. Within your Profile, click on Public Profile You will notice that automatically anyone who views your Profile will see basic information: Name Industry Location Your number of recommendations

But other information about you that they can view is up to you.


Simply check the box to the right of the item to be viewed or not viewed. Then click the blue Save Changes button. Add sections You now can Add sections to reflect achievements and experiences on your profile. Click the Add sections link, as shown below:


LinkedIn gives you the option to add: Certifications Languages Patents Skills To add this information, simply click on the particular link in the pop-up window, as shown below:


These sections can include: Certifications such as CIC, CISR, CPIA, CPCU and CRM Languages and whether you have native or bilingual proficiency, professional working proficiency, or elementary proficiency Applications such a link to your blog Experience The next section of your LinkedIn Profile displays your competence through your Experience. To demonstrate more of your industry knowledge to clients and prospective clients, click the Add a position link.


As you did when you created the record for your Current position earlier, type information for: Company Name Title Time Period Description Click the blue Save Changes button.


Publications Have you written an article, research paper or book? Click the Add a Publication link and enter descriptive information about your work.


Education Have you gone back to school to earn your degree or an advanced degree? I tell my audiences, We tend to like and trust people who are like ourselves, and dislike and distrust people who are unlike us. What if a potential client is looking at LinkedIn profiles and notices that you attended State U.? And that is the same State U. she attended? The chances of you doing business with her had just shot up significantly. But if you did not add this information to your profile, the potential client may never know. Here is how to capture that additional information in LinkedIn:


Click the Add a School link and enter information into the following fields:


Click the blue Save Changes button and youre done! Recommendations LinkedIn says that users with recommendations are three times as likely to get inquiries through LinkedIn searches. In the Recommendations section of your Profile, click the Ask for a recommendation link.


Then determine for which positions or college experiences you would like to have a recommendation for your work.


1) For the Position for which you would like to be Recommended, simply click the Ask to be endorsed link. (Endorsed is an old LinkedIn term. It would be better if the word recommended were used consistently. But you get the idea!)


2) To decide who youll ask, click the LinkedIn icon, which you will find to the right of the Your connections: box. You can select up to 200 of your connections (if you have that many!). Each will get an individual e-mail (not a group e-mail) with your request. (Believe it or not, some LinkedIn users have over 500 connections! LinkedIn stops counting and displaying the number at that point. These particular users are called LIONs, for LinkedIn Open Networkers. Your goal should not be to collect as many connections as possible. As we mentioned earlier, think why you want to use LinkedIn. Then go after as many quality connections as you can.) 3) You may send the pre-filled Subject line and e-mail body of the text shown, or you can enter your own.


4) When done, click the blue Send button. The Golden Rule of Recommendations One of the best ways to get a recommendation on LinkedIn is to give a recommendation. And LinkedIn makes it easy for you. No special letterhead required! Simply scroll down under the Received Recommendations tab. Under Make a Recommendation


Enter the persons First Name, Last Name and e-mail address, or even easier, click the select from your connections list link. From the resulting pop-up window, click on the name of the connection.


The name and e-mail address will then populate the fields on the screen.


Next, click the button to indicate that this person is either a: Colleague someone you worked with at the same company Service Provider someone from another company that you or someone else at your company hired Business Partner someone you worked with more closely than as a colleague or client Student you went to school with them. They were either a fellow student or you were their teacher. Click the blue Continue button. On the next screen you will create the recommendation.


Under Relationship For Basis of recommendation, click the down arrow to the right to indicate either You managed this person directly You reported to this person You were senior to this person, but not their manager The person was senior to you, but you did not report to them The two of you worked in the same group at the company The two of you worked in different groups at the company For Your title at the time, you will be presented with a drop-down menu with the Positions you had entered earlier into LinkedIn. For the persons title at the time, you will be presented with a drop-down menu with the Positions the person had entered into LinkedIn listed as the choices. Under Written Recommendations, you may ask yourself, What should I write? Enter your professional accolades for this person. Keep in mind that someone reading this recommendation is likely to be thinking, What can this person do for me? The reader will be viewing your connection


through your eyes, but with their own needs in mind. Given this realization, any quantitative, results-oriented information (such as When we implemented the ideas Mary had suggested, our department realized over $1 million in savings.) will be most valuable to the connection for whom you are writing the recommendation. When you are satisfied with what you have written, click the blue Send button. The connection for whom you have written the recommendation will be notified through LinkedIn. You can use the standard notification message or create one of your own prior to the recommendation being sent. You can edit or remove your recommendation at any time. Additional Information

By clicking the Edit link to the right of Additional Information, you can allow your connections and other LinkedIn visitors to get to know you even better! Enter your Associations in this area. In the next section we will discuss how joining LinkedIn Groups can help you gain additional exposure for your career.


Some final information you can add to your profile (by clicking the Add link to the right of each descriptor) includes:

Honors and Awards Personal Information should you desire to share it Contact Settings indicate to LinkedIn users what types of contact youre interested in Applications tools provided by LinkedIns featured partners

. . . and you have successfully completed your LinkedIn profile!

LinkedIn Groups Why join a group? A LinkedIn group gives you a special association to fellow group members. As a result, you can see their full Profiles and they can appear in your search results, if even they arent within the three degrees of separation of everyone in the group.


What are the different types of LinkedIn groups? By joining several groups, especially large ones, you can increase your visibility within the LinkedIn network without having to add thousands of contacts. One of the key groups you should consider joining is PIA-National Association of Professional Insurance Agents. This group describes itself as PIA is a national trade association that strives to create unlimited opportunities for professional, independent insurance agents. Our mission is To promote, protect and defend the integrity of our members, the value of their profession and the success of their businesses. Alexi Papandon, AVP, Communications at National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA,) is the owner of the group, which currently has nearly 800 members. To join the PIA-National Association of Professional Insurance Agents LinkedIn Group From the top line of the LinkedIn home page, click on Groups From the resulting drop-down menu, click Groups Directory In the box under Search Groups, type the keyword PIA (as shown below)

To the right of the PIA-National Association of Professional Insurance Agents listing, click the Join Group button


On the next screen (shown below), you can specify options on how you would like to be affiliated with the group:

After you have completed making your choices, click the blue Join Group button. On the next screen, you will get notified that your request to join the group is being sent to the group owner for manual approval:


Searching a Group After you have joined a group, you may be interested in finding out who else is in the group. The idea of joining groups is to be able to connect with like-minded individuals. From the top line of the LinkedIn home page, click on Groups From the resulting drop-down menu, click My Groups Under the name of the group, such as PIA-National Association of Professional Insurance Agents, click Go to From the resulting drop-down menu, click Members LinkedIn will display a screen similar to the following:


On the left side of the screen, search among the members of the group by entering their names or keywords to find specific members of this group. For instance, I could look for all members of the group who have CEO in their titles by typing CEO above the blue Search button, as I have on the following screen.


As you can see, that search returned 40 members from this group. One of the biggest benefits of LinkedIn groups is that I can now send a message through LinkedIn directly to anyone who is a member of the group. They may be a first-, second- or third-degree connection, but they do not need to be. I am associated to them simply by being a member of this group. We Are the World Through groups, you have the ability to network with members who not only reside in your state or country, but also with those who live in other parts of the world! For instance, a fellow group member of mine resides in the Czech Republic, as seen by his profile below:

He is not currently a connection of mine. But since we are connected though this group, I am able to send him a direct message. (I can also request that he become a connection of mine.) Isnt it amazing all of the things you can do within your LinkedIn account? Discussions Heres another . . . 58

You can start a discussion with other members of your group. Why not tap into the minds of the professionals who know your industry the best? To start a discussion From the top line of the LinkedIn home page, click Groups From the resulting drop-down menu, click My Groups Under the name of the group, such as PIA-National Association of Professional Insurance Agents, click Actions From the resulting drop-down menu, click Start a Discussion, as shown below

LinkedIn Answers With LinkedIn Answers, you can post a question about a certain business-related topic. Other LinkedIn members can browse the questions and write their responses. Asking people you know for business advice is the most common use of your professional network, said Keith Rabois, vice president of business and corporate development at LinkedIn. LinkedIn Answers allows users to gain insight and knowledge from people you trust and tap into a powerful network of thousands of experts in almost every field.


The service is free and currently allows users to ask ten questions a month. LinkedIn states: Experts receive expertise credentials for every best answer they provide this becomes part of their LinkedIn profile, informing other users that they are a proven expert on that topic. . . LinkedIn will promote their expertise to other users, providing an opportunity for consultants, contractors and other service provider to build social capital and market their services to professionals whose questions they answer. If you are the one to respond using LinkedIn Answers, members can see examples of your knowledge and experience by reading the answers. They will also get an idea of how helpful or enthusiastic you are in a professional environment. Heres how to get started with LinkedIn Answers: From the top line of the LinkedIn home page, click More From the resulting drop-down menu, click Answers

From the next screen you will be able to Ask a Question or Answer Questions.

To ask a question of your network, type your question in the box below Ask a Question, then click the blue Send button.


If you are willing to help establish yourself as a LinkedIn-designated Expert, click the Answer Questions link to get started. You will find the link just below and to the right of the More link. Once you click the link, you will be able to browse the Open Questions, as shown below:

If you are able and would like to answer a question, hover your cursor over the question as it appears just to the right of Q:. The question will turn into a hyperlink. Click on the link and you will get a screen like this:


You can then click on the yellow Answer button. Or, if you would like to honor a colleague, a client or potential client, click the Suggest Expert button, as shown below.

Clicking the Select Expert button a second time will allow you to choose a connection from your network to answer the question. 62

In the entry box below the button, you can optionally type a message to the person who has asked the question to indicate why the person you are recommending is an Expert in this area. LinkedIn Experts If you would like to see who have already established themselves as Experts on LinkedIn, click on the Experts link, which is below and to the right of Browse Open Questions. When you do so, you will see something like this:

It may surprise you that these Experts, judging by the number of Answers given this week, are using LinkedIn as a vital part of their marketing strategy! They are attempting to win business from new clients by becoming a trusted member of the community. This is a key concept in the new realm of social media marketing. You may ask, How can I become a LinkedIn Expert?

LinkedIn says, Earning expertise is as easy as 1-2-3:

1. Find questions in the areas you know Browse questions to find categories familiar to you 2. Answer those questions Remember, private answers wont help you earn expertise


3. Every time the questioner picks your answer best, you gain a point of expertise The more points of expertise, the higher you appear on lists of experts. When you see a green star on a LinkedIn members profile, you know that person has proven their expertise by answering LinkedIn Questions.