Getting Started on LinkedIn

Several, if not thousands, of the 175 million LinkedIn “users” are manufactured persons.  Here is a link to one “public profile” on LinkedIn:
http://www.linkedin.com/in/firstnamelastname

I was really scared to start a LinkedIn profile.  I was very leery of the whole “social networking” thing.  I still don’t have a Facebook account, because I am still scared of Facebook.  Before starting with LinkedIn, I went to the library and borrowed a couple of books on the subject.

A few of the things I learned from those books are:

  1. You can change the URL for your public profile from the default, which may be hard to remember ( http://www.linkedin.com/pub/joe-blow/12/1a1/182 ) to something that is a little more user friendly, like the one I posted above.  This isn’t all that important, though, because most people will not access your profile by its URL.
  2. You can change the settings so that your profile does not go live while you are creating/editing it.  If you don’t do this, then every change you make will show up in the updates that your connections will see when they access their own LinkedIn accounts.  This isn’t all that important at first, because you won’t have any connections.  Later, you may want your connections to know that you’ve updated your profile.
  3. You can change how you will appear to others when you view their profiles.  For example:  Anonymous LinkedIn User, Someone in the Management function in the Legal Services industry from the Greater Houston Area, or Joe Blow.  I have mine set so that people know it was me when I view their profile.
  4. When you send an invite, always personalize the message.  Well over half of your invitees will not even read your message, but those who do will appreciate that you took 30 seconds to change the generic invite.
  5. Joining groups greatly expands the number of LinkedIn users you are allowed to contact.  Generally, you are only allowed to contact people who worked at a company where you worked, people who went to the same school you went to at the same time you went there, people who you say are your friends, people whose e-mail address you know, and people who have joined one of the LinkedIn groups you have joined.  If you send out a bunch of invites to people you don’t know (for example, if you are a headhunter or a salesperson) and three of those people identify you as being someone they don’t know, then your LinkedIn privileges may get suspended.
  6. Make sure you don’t click the option to “See Who You Already Know on LinkedIn” or LinkedIn will automatically send a generic invite to everyone in your e-mail address book.

I’m sure that is more than enough to get you started.  There is a lot more information online; you don’t need to read a book.

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