LinkedIn
The world's largest professional network

Here’s why LinkedIn is such a valuable tool for job-seekers: FaceBook and Twitter are both
very popular networking sites, but while they concentrate on social networking, LinkedIn is for
professionals--and clearly it’s the best. In fact, it's ranked right now as the 14th most popular
website in the world.

There are three important benefits for having a profile on LinkedIn:
  • You can be found by people who are looking for candidates
  • You can search for jobs that are posted on this site
  • It allows you to look for people who may be of value to you, such as current and former
    employees of companies that you're interested in; from them you may be able to
    gather information that could prove invaluable in your job search:
Your first degree network
10 people
Your second degree network
100 people
Your third degree network
1000 people
Total in your network
1,110 people
As you're creating your profile, LinkedIn will ask for your contact information, but that
information is gathered for their use only; they don't publish it to your profile. So why do
they do it that way? It's quite simple: because they want to sell upgraded memberships,
and here's how it works. As a recruiter, I'll browse through LinkedIn profiles, and when I find
an individual I'd like to contact about a particular employment opportunity, all I have to do is
click on the "Send a Message" button, and LinkedIn will send my email to that person. It's a
great and simple system, but
only if that person happens to be in my first degree network;
contacting someone in my second or third degree network requires me to have a paid
membership, which only allows me to send out a small number of emails (called InMails)
each month.

As you can see from the chart above, the vast majority of people are located in the second
and third degree networks. So what does that mean for us recruiters, who use LinkedIn
very extensively? Our biggest frustration is when we find a great candidate only to see she
hasn't included any kind of contact information, and she's not in our first degree network.
So now what? What happens if we find
your profile but have already used up all our
InMails for the month? We have to wait until next month comes along before we get more
InMails to use; of course, we can also try to reach you by other means, but we often hit a
brick wall. If you're serious about finding a new job, do you really want to depend on our
ability to track you down, and our willingness to spend the necessary time to do so?
Wouldn't it just be much simpler if everyone included their contact information in their
profiles? Be sure to include this crucial information so we don't have to give up on you, and
move on to the next candidate.

Not including your contact information in your LinkedIn profile is the same as not
including it on your resume.

Note: As a candidate, you should be just fine using only the free LinkedIn account.
  • What the company culture is like?
  • What it’s like to work at the company?
  • How much turnover do they have?
  • How satisfying of a company it is to work for?
  • How their hiring process works, and suggestions for how best to
    get hired?
  • Most importantly, who do they know and could refer you to that
    can help you get hired?

How it Works
LinkedIn is based on the principle that you know some people (who
would be in your first degree network), and they know some people (who
would become your second degree network), and those people know
some people (who become your third degree network). LinkedIn helps you create a network
that goes out three degrees, and it’s amazing just how fast you can build your numbers! For
example, let’s say you invite just ten people to join your network and they all accept. Then
let’s say each of them have ten people in their network, and each of those people have ten
people in their network. By growing your first degree network by just ten people, here’s what
it would look like:
The reality is, most people have many more than ten people in their first degree network, so
you can increase your numbers even
faster.

To sign Up for LinkedIn’s free account
  • Go to Linkedin.com
  • Click 'Join Today'
  • Provide your contact information and create a password
  • Click 'Join LinkedIn'
  • Complete the next page, and click 'Continue'

Tip #1
As you’re creating your profile, it will ask you for what reasons you’ll allow people to contact
you. Click on as many options as you want, but make sure you’ve at least checked ‘Employ-
ment Opportunities’.

Tip #2
As a job-seeker, you want it be very easy for someone--especially recruiters--to contact you.
Here’s the critical tip: on your profile, make sure you show your contact information
(including email address and phone number), and have it in several places!
It should be
very easy to spot so nobody has to search your profile to find it. In fact, if you browse
through other people’s LinkedIn profiles, you’ll be amazed at how many of them don’t include
their email address or other contact information at all, so for this reason alone you’ll already
be ahead of many of your competitors.
As you continue creating your profile, on the next page it offers to search for your contacts
in other accounts you have; feel free to use this function, because it’s an easy way to send
invitations to people in your contacts lists to join your network--and a quick way to build your
network. If you’d rather not do this, click on ‘Skip this step’.

On the next page it will ask you to confirm your email address; follow the instructions. You'll
then be brought to a sign-in page for your new LinkedIn profile account.

Sending Invitations for People to Join Your Network (Part 1)
As soon as you finish setting up your account, you may be first brought to a page where it
lists a few dozen people. It will ask if you'd like to send invitations for them to join your net-
work, but don’t be surprised that you don’t know any of them; LinkedIn is simply doing this to
assist you in getting started on building your network, and this is a perfect time for me to
explain a little more about how LinkedIn works. The basic premise of this site is that your
network is supposed to be built only with people that you actually know: friends, relatives, co-
workers, former co-workers, etc. LinkedIn knows, however, that the vast majority don’t follow
that rule, and instead prefer to build as large a network as possible, because the larger it is
the more valuable it becomes. For my purpose as a recruiter looking for candidates—or for
your purpose as a job-seeker who wants to be seen—having a large network is important!
So back to LinkedIn’s opening page that I just mentioned: you might go ahead and have
LinkedIn send invitations to those people they've listed. It’s very quick and easy, and a great
way to get a jump start on your network, but before you do that, read these cautions:

Caution
Because the basic structure of LinkedIn is that you’re supposed to only invite people to join
your network that you actually know, you must be careful to whom you send an invitation.
There are many people like me who want to build a very large network, so I accept
invitations from everyone. On the other hand, there are purists who will only accept
invitations from people they actually know, so they may click the "Do Not Know" button
instead of accepting your invitation. If you receive a certain number of "Do Not Know"
responses, LinkedIn will freeze certain aspects of your account until you contact their
customer service department and ask them to reactivate it. (I know about this first hand!)

It’s usually a safe bet that if a person has a large network it's probably someone that would
accept invitations from people they don't know, so only send invitations to people with at
least, say, 400 people in their first degree network. You should also know about LIONs
(LinkedIn Open Networkers), because it helps you grow your network faster. To become a
LION, you must agree to
never click the "Do Not Know" button when you receive an
invitation to join someone's network, so you can feel safe in sending invitations to anyone
who identifies himself as a LION. You can also feel safe sending an invitation to people that
identify themselves as ‘Top Linked', which is another group of people wanting to build their
networks. In fact, feel free to join those groups, and identify yourself on your profile as a
LION or Top Linked.

Tip #3
LinkedIn will limit the total number of invitations you can send during the lifetime of your
profile. I don’t know what that limit is currently, but it may be 500 or so. For this reason, you
may want to save your invitations for those people with larger networks, or for some reason
are particularly relevant to your network; tapping into those larger networks is a great way to
grow yours faster! By the way, on each person’s profile, LinkedIn states how many people
are in their first degree network. Once you reach 500 people, however, you can keep
growing your network, but LinkedIn will no longer tell others how large your first degree
network is; instead they simply state 500+.

When you send an invitation asking someone to join your network, LinkedIn will create a
very generic invitation for you. It’s just fine to leave it as is, or you can change the wording
of your invitation; either way, the goal should be to grow your network. Also, LinkedIn makes
it fairly easy to send invitations to more than one person at a time. By the way, anytime
someone sends you an invitation or some other type of communication to your LinkedIn
account, LinkedIn will send you an email to let you know.

Sending Invitations for People to Join Your Network (Part 2)
I mentioned that it’s important to have your contact information clearly visible in several
places in your profile, making it easy for people to contact you. Here’s another reason that’s
so important: Remember the basic philosophy of LinkedIn? You’re supposed to only invite
people into your network that you know, and you must 'prove' you know them; that's done
by providing their email address. If it’s available in their profile, you can simply copy and
paste it during the invitation process, and your invitation will be sent to them. Yes, it’s a little
game, but that’s the way it works. Again, don’t make people dig through your profile to find
your contact information; oftentimes they won't dig, but will instead go on to the next
person's profile.

Communicating with Others
Once your profile is set up, there are several ways people can contact each other:

  • If you’re in each other's first degree network, you can communicate directly via an
    email within LinkedIn
  • If you’re not in each other's first degree network, you can correspond through InMails,
    which requires a paid membership
  • As an alternative, you can send them an invitation to join your network; once they
    accept you’re then in each other’s first degree network, allowing you to communicate
    directly
  • You can communicate directly (through regular email or phone) if the contact
    information is provided in the person's profile

Searching for People
Click on the Advanced tab at the top of the page; it will open up a new page that gives you
options for searching for people by name, company, geography, etc.

LinkedIn really is a great site, and it’s worth building a network here--especially
while you’re in the job-hunting mode.
I'm a LION on LinkedIn. If you send me
an invitation to join your network, I
will
accept! You'll find my profile here:

www.linkedin.com/in/roxannewilliams
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