Five Tips for Getting Started on LinkedIn

So you have decided to create a LinkedIn profile. Good for you! Often, the hardest part of anything is getting started. Here are some step by step tips to guide you through your profile set up.

1. Let LinkedIn search your email contacts. Right after the initial screen where you input your name, title, company and industry, LinkedIn will search your email contacts to find people with LinkedIn accounts. You can choose not to allow this search, but we suggest letting LinkedIn do its thing. This will make it easy to identify people you already know using LinkedIn. Once you do this, you can choose whether or not to send them an invitation to connect.

2. Pay attention to the next step.  LinkedIn is going to ask you: Why not invite some people? These contacts will all be pre-selected with a check mark. Before you click anything else, be sure whether or not you want to invite all of those folks to join.  If you aren’t paying attention, LinkedIn will invite your entire contact list to join. (This is not a bad thing, as every professional should be on LinkedIn. But this should be your choice, not an OOPS.) If you don’t want to invite everyone, choose Skip this step and then you will be presented with all of your contacts and can choose individually those you wish to invite.

3. You only need a FREE account. A step or two more into the process and LinkedIn will ask you to Choose Your Plan Level.  You can do plenty with a free account. We are all using free accounts at Emerson and we accomplish quite a lot.

4. Follow LinkedIn’s advice for Completing Your Profile. LinkedIn will walk you through steps to enhance and complete your profile. Let the program help you. You can always decide to skip a section completely, or come back to it later.  Just save your changes and log out. It might take several visits to complete your profile. Some people never have a 100% complete profile! That’s ok. Just get started, add some information, connect to some people you know, and you are well on your way.

5. Requesting and accepting connections. When sending an invite to connect, personalize your greeting. No one likes form mail. Let people know that you meant to send the invite and you didn’t just mindlessly invite every profile you ran across. An example would be: “Hi Jim! I haven’t seen you since college. I just joined LinkedIn and am looking to grow my network. Hope all is well.”

TIP: Make your request message brief. The initial message length before you connect is approximately 282 characters, or about four sentences long.

Conversely, send a quick note after receiving a request to connect. It’s the little human things that will make you stand out from others. Remember you are online. It’s up to you to make it personal. Here’s what I do. “Dear Pam, Thank you for the invitation to connect. Please let me know if I can make any introductions within my network. Best regards, Bonnie

I hope these tips are helpful getting you up and running on LinkedIn. Please leave comments and let us know how you are doing. Now go start building your network!

Posted by Bonnie Jeffers

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