May 02, 2011

Basic LinkedIn Overview For LinkedIn Beginners

This post if for the untimate LinkedIn beginner. If you are an advanced LinkedIn expert. We have found the ultimate advanced LinkedIn training guide. Buy it and download it here.

Basic LinkedIn Overview
With 70 million members in over 200 countries, LinkedIn is one of the biggest professional social networking websites in the world. Unlike other social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace, LinkedIn is specifically for building and maintain business relationships. So instead of uploading photos from the party the night before, users can upload details about their work experience and education in order to create a professional-looking profile.

As the name suggests, by joining LinkedIn, you are becoming part of a massive network of working professionals. When you join, you are invited to add your email address list which can search for contacts you know who are already on LinkedIn. Alternatively you can skip this step and just search for, and add people manually on the site. You can only add someone as a contact if you know them and trust them, or have a friend who does – ensuring that every link in the network is authentic. In this way, someone can develop and maintain business relationships, efficiently widening their professional network through their existing trusted contacts.

There is also space on LinkedIn for expertise-specific groups. Whilst companies can have their own profile pages, so too can specific groups of people with similar expertise and interests. Here, business ideas can be exchanged, tips can be shared, and projects can be collaborated on.
Clearly, LinkedIn can be a powerful tool for your professional career. So the most important thing is to make sure that you have an impressive profile. This means ensuring that you have filled in as much detail as you can, and have uploaded a professional photo of yourself – with executives from all the Fortune 500 companies on LinkedIn you want to make sure that you impress!

If you have impressed a colleague or business partner, they might be happy to write a reference for you. If this is the case, they can write a short paragraph detailing why you are a good person to work with – this is essentially a way of vouching for each other in the LinkedIn network. Incidentally, if anyone ever writes a reference that you are not happy with, you can just decide not to show it on your profile.

Not only can you impress people within the LinkedIn community, but having a profile on LinkedIn means you can also maintain control over what search results bring up about you. It can be useful to have a ready-made summary of information about you high up on the Google search results list in case prospective employers or business partners want to find out about you.

LinkedIn provides users with so many opportunities for enhancing professional relationships, but at the same time it is still very focussed and streamlined. For example, whilst it is possible to find little pockets of ‘fun stuff’ on the website, LinkedIn’s professional image means that there are no silly games or apps that you would find on Facebook.
A possible disadvantage to LinkedIn is that not all of it is free – in order to see some people’s profiles, you have to upgrade your membership. Obviously, this can be frustrating at times if you are not willing to pay for a monthly subscription of LinkedIn. Similarly, when you do search for people, you can only look at the first hundred results if you’re a free member. The more you upgrade your membership, the more results you can see and the more general access you get.
ConclusionLinkedIn certainly covers a niche in the social networking arena. It plays a very different role compared to a site like Facebook, onto which you can upload social photos and have fun, casual conversations with friends. On LinkedIn, you can maintain your professional image on the web. The site provides you with an opportunity to network with other professionals in your field, to exchange ideas and build your work contacts.

Read our Sales Training and LinkedIn Blog to learn more on how to use LinkedIn as a lead gerneration tool.

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