LinkedIn is a social networking website for entrepreneurs and professionals. It was launched in 2003 as a way for people to connect and share job opportunities, and now connects more than 380 million LinkedIn users across 200 countries. In the US, LinkedIn has 107 million users.
LinkedIn connects more than 380 million LinkedIn users across 200 countries.
Like Facebook, you can connect with other people and share content on its communal news feed. LinkedIn users can post blogs, share images and chat in Groups.
If you run your own business, LinkedIn is a useful way to keep in touch with clients, suppliers and freelance employees. Anyone can use the site to publicise their work history and showcase their qualifications.
Typically, LinkedIn users connect with colleagues, ex-workmates and friends so they can see what they’re working on, and keep in touch. You can look for connections by name, or by email address, or search for a particular company to find its employees.
Once you are logged in, use the search box at the top of the screen to find someone you know. Search by name, email or company.
LinkedIn will allow you to have up to 30,000 connections and send a total of 3,000 connection invitations.
Once you find the person you’re looking for, open their profile page, and click the blue Connect button to add them as a contact. LinkedIn calls this ‘sending an Invitation’.
You can only send Invitations to users in your network. LinkedIn defines your network as the people you know, plus first-degree connections (in other words, friends-of-friends). To connect with a second-degree connection, you can ask for an existing connection to introduce you. If you don’t want to request an Introduction, you must purchase in upgrade to a Premium account in order to reach out to them.
It’s also possible to connect with celebrities on LinkedIn, although their pages have a slightly different format, inviting you to Follow, them rather than Connect.
LinkedIn also lets you follow businesses that you are interested in, so you are notified of updates they post.
To post an update to LinkedIn, head to the Home page. Type your message in the Share an update box, including any links you want to post. You can choose to make your update Public or Private, and add a photo to your update if you wish. Unlike Facebook, LinkedIn does not give each person a ‘timeline’ on your profile page, so these updates appear only in the communal news feed.
LinkedIn also lets you add blog posts to the site. Other users can comment on your blog, and share it on LinkedIn and elsewhere.
LinkedIn has its own internal InMail messaging system that lets you send a message to any contact. Recruiters often use InMail to contact prospective job candidates.
You must have a Premium account to use InMail, and different accounts come with a different number of InMail credits. You can purchase extra credits on top.
All InMail credits expire after 90 days if not used. But if you receive a response to your message, LinkedIn will refund the credit to your account. This encourages LinkedIn users to keep their messages short and relevant.
Building a Resume
Your LinkedIn Profile page is an interactive resume where you can show off your work experience and qualifications. To begin, click on the Profile link in the navigation bar.
LinkedIn invites you to add:
- A Summary
- Your work Experience (similar to a resume)
- Any Volunteer positions you have held
- Details of Publications you have contributed to
- Languages you can speak, plus the level of proficiency
- Courses you have taken
- Certifications you have earned
LinkedIn lets users endorse each other for their skill by publishing an Endorsement. Each endorsement acts like a vote for that user’s competency in a particular area. The more votes a skill gets, the higher it will appear in the list.
LinkedIn Groups are a core part of its website, and a great way to put its networking features into action. In each Group, like-minded individuals can get together and discuss topics in their industry.
Controlling the Emails You Get
LinkedIn arguably had a bad reputation for sending unwanted notification emails. Since attracting considerable criticism, it has made it much easier to unsubscribe.
In your Settings page, there is a Communications section that lets you switch off certain types of messages. You can also block the amount of contact requests you receive, and choose whether to receive individual emails or daily digests.
LinkedIn also restricts Group members from sending more than 15 messages to other Group members each month.