LinkedIn Guide: Build Your Living Resume

Learn the true power of LinkedIn. Whether you’re looking for a job or looking to hire new talent, LinkedIn is a resource you can’t afford to miss. If you feel lost when you use this social network this LinkedIn guide is for you.

Many don’t realize how effective LinkedIn can be as a source of information, resources, or even future opportunities. Unlike other social media sites, which let you see reposts of Reddit from your friends or to get the latest and greatest updates regarding how Mary-Ann checked in at Starbucks, LinkedIn instead focuses on your professional world, allowing you to build a network of professionals and enjoy the countless perks that can come with that.

§1 – Introduction

§2 – What is LinkedIn?

§3 – What is a Living Resume?

§4 – LinkedIn 101 – Setting up your account

§5 – Profiling Yourself

§6 – Networking – Get From Third to First, Fast.

§7 – Establishing that “Living Resume”

§8 – Recommendations, Your Contacts and More

§9 – Finding People, Wrapping it Up

1. Introduction

Unless you’ve been under a rhetorical rock for the past six years, you’ve probably heard about LinkedIn. Though it’s only one of many fast growing social media sites out there, including Twitter, Facebook, and so on, LinkedIn is the one you probably use the least.

That makes sense. Many don’t realize how effective LinkedIn can be as a source of information, resources, or even future opportunities. Unlike other social media sites, which let you see reposts of Reddit from your friends or to get the latest and greatest updates regarding how Mary-Ann checked in at Starbucks, LinkedIn instead focuses on your professional world, allowing you to build a network of professionals and enjoy the countless perks that can come with that.

LinkedIn is a way for you to meet other professionals, build relationships, and perhaps find yourself new opportunities in ways you’d never expect. If building a living, breathing, online demonstration of your expertise and interests for potential clients and bosses alike sounds good, keep reading.

In this LinkedIn guide, we’ll show you how to set yourself up on LinkedIn, establish your account, and develop your “living resume” in an easy step by step process. Those of you who have no clue about LinkedIn or how it works, fear not! We’ll go over must-know tips and information to ensure you don’t make any mistakes. For those of you a little seasoned in the LinkedIniverse, feel free to read on: you will learn some new tricks, or how to better personalize or develop your living resume.

Before we dive into LinkedIn, all of its features, and the concept of a living resume, let’s first go back to basics, and start with understanding just what LinkedIn actually is.

2. What is LinkedIn?

Before we can walk, we must crawl. And before we crawl, we should probably have some hands and feet to crawl with.

linked 1   LinkedIn Guide: Build Your Living Resume

Just like tackling any other project you’ve worked on before, it’s always best to have a little background information. Nothing fancy, like what color underwear the CEO wears, but some general background knowledge can help you understand what LinkedIn is exactly, who it is for, and perhaps even a little bit of fun information for your next talk at the water cooler.

LinkedIn was founded in 2003 by Reid Hoffman, an entrepreneur who made his name as an executive at Paypal and as owner of his own social media site, Socialnet, a dating website. Where Hoffman got the idea of “Professional Networks” from dating sites is beyond me, but the site had a quiet start in 2003, a good year before Facebook and three years before Twitter.

While LinkedIn started earlier than the other popular social media sites, its professional atmosphere has, for a long time, scared off new visitors that the more casual Twitter and Facebook built their brands on. Despite this, its niche control of a now fast growing market (in the wake of the recent recession) made LinkedIn an important hub for executives and professionals alike, all seeking an edge in a uncertain market.

Since 2008 LinkedIn has been booming, now growing to the number 12 spot on the analytics website Alexa, just behind Twitter at #9, and not necessarily far from Facebook’s #2 spot. Considering LinkedIn generates over $150 million a month in advertising revenue, the site has been fairly successful in recent years.

Since their IPO in 2011, LinkedIn markets itself openly, focusing on new markets and methods to attract customers to use their classified and networking services to find potential employers or employees. This is good news: it makes the pond ever bigger, providing more potential for its users. Who knows what the next 6-12 months will bring for LinkedIn, as it grows ever bigger and captures more of the web’s spotlight. New, now-unknown features could grow the site even more, helping you in the process.

linked 2   LinkedIn Guide: Build Your Living Resume

With that in mind, let’s be aware of the important stuff, like how we’re not talking about a service like Facebook or Twitter. Unlike your everyday social network, LinkedIn is not about talking about your day with friends and family or raging about how your favorite sitcom was canceled. Instead, LinkedIn is a network of professionals. If Twitter is a rowdy bar and Facebook is your favorite coffee shop, LinkedIn is your virtual office, a potential passageway to countless opportunities, and an area where everyone you could perhaps do business with is watching.

So, act professionally. Though you may feel urges to vent, share random thoughts, or (even worse) get political — especially when others are doing it — stay strong and keep your head up high. You need to remember everyone’s watching – bosses, co-workers, friends, and family. In order to have an effective LinkedIn account, you need to have an effective network of people who can see your accomplishments, see what you’re made of, and perhaps open doors of opportunity for you to take advantage of. It’s important to stay professional.

Like I said, this isn’t Facebook or Twitter, full of friends and family. Instead, you have co-workers, CEOs, executives, managers, directors, and more, all at your disposal, ready to see who you are — and you can reach out to all of them. All could be interested in you, and it’s not uncommon for talent agents and other various recruiters to be on the prowl on LinkedIn. This guide will help you build your profile into something worth looking at, which could get you in contact in future professionals interested in you or your company.

Along with that powerful ability to communicate and socialize with professionals, LinkedIn offers a variety of resources, all of which are yours to use:

• Ability to connect with co-workers, bosses, and other professional business people you are or have been in contact with

• Ability to reach out to friends, family, and fellow classmates / alumni whom can help you expand your network

• Ability to reach out to potential clients, recruiters, or other talent seekers using InMail

• Connect, network, and build relationships professionally and safely

• Post your resume, reach out for potential work, and apply for jobs

• Be in the loop with the latest news and information on your relevant job field and more

All of these resources and more are at your fingertips, thanks to the tools LinkedIn offers. It’s up to you to exploit them, to understand them, and to know where they can take you. All that’s left, of course, is one question:

Do you want In?

3. What is a Living Resume?

“Living Resume” is, of course, the buzz word of this manual, but it’s a true indicator of the features that make LinkedIn so amazing.

By Living Resume we mean the variety of features that make LinkedIn such an excellent source of information, a source of powerful resources, and a way to connect with thousands. As such, your LinkedIn profile should serve as a living, changing, concise version of you. It should state what you have to offer to your clients, co-workers, bosses, and more.

It should not be just some lonely and unmoving copy-pasted piece of static junk: it should be alive. It’s important to understand how you must keep an active and accurate LinkedIn account in order to get the most out of LinkedIn.

Once again, remember that LinkedIn is not Facebook, and subsequently is aimed at an entirely different sphere of people. As such, its goals are different than Facebook. For one thing, LinkedIn is designed for you to connect with professionals of all types, so you should be taking advantage of this! Second, it is catered to hold your information, your skills – even your resume – so lacking any of this information is a big no-no. But while we’re deciphering how LinkedIn works as a Living Resume, we should first explain why it is one:

1. LinkedIn is one of the largest websites on the Internet, used by millions of professionals; remember that size matters when you want to expose yourself to the market

2. LinkedIn is not only free for most of your needs: it offers extremely affordable pathways to amazing opportunities. Plus, the transition into a “paid” service, such as InMail for reaching out to recruiters, is seamless and carefree: your information is already very available and accessible.

3. LinkedIn is catering to professionals of all shapes and sizes. No matter your industry, LinkedIn has a crowd for it. Even better, LinkedIn allows you to post all information relevant to your industry, and even form or join groups related to your industry. Stay in the loop with other professionals and see what you may be missing out on.

4. LinkedIn allows you to post all your professional data, such as titles, skills, and a resume. This sends a silent but powerful message to potential employers. As opposed to a corporate email or other job-search sites where you need to hide your intentions, LinkedIn throws them in plain sight. The service will even entice you to post your resume, removing any doubt from employers that you’re looking for opportunities.

5. LinkedIn is all about being social, but there is a lot more here to explore and use.

All of these aspects combine to provide an immersive world you can dive into and expose your skills to others through. Reach out and socialize in the otherwise rigid and conservative atmosphere of the workplace.

However, there are legitimate concerns about LinkedIn’s offerings. For example, a lot of the information you post on LinkedIn could be personal, and could be viewed by millions. Thankfully, LinkedIn offers you some privacy. Only paying users of LinkedIn can see the most detailed information about you, unless they are already connected to you. You can also see how many people, and in most cases which people, searched for you on LinkedIn. As a result, you always know how many times your profile has been viewed, and, usually, who looked. This adds a feeling of security, but also a taste of curiosity — something that LinkedIn knows very well is addictive. Keep in mind this factor of “curiosity” can develop as you view, or are viewed by, various potential connections on LinkedIn and beyond.

With all of this in mind, a reminder once more that LinkedIn does NOT necessarily need to be an “all-in” affair. As with any relationship you may have, LinkedIn could arguably be one you don’t want to rush into, unless you’re ready for all the attention you may potentially receive. Instead, it’s always safe and likely best to test the waters before you dive in. After all, there are issues that can always complicate or develop as you work your way into the LinkedIniverse.

Be aware that you are creating something public that will represent you for years to come. Something accessible to anyone in your sphere of influence: clients, co-workers, and employers. Start off with basic information, along with a profile image. Add more information over time, while finding new connections. Most importantly: see where things go and don’t be afraid to explore! As long as you keep your profile clean and concise it should represent you well and leave good impressions.

What’s both powerful and great about LinkedIn is the strength of networking. The days of cold calling and leaving your resume on the doorsteps of offices are long gone. Today, at the very least, you should declare your intentions — alongside your resume and cover letter — with e-mails, phone calls, and other messages. It’s not uncommon to hear of applicants to jobs, colleges, and opportunities alike reaching out to people “in charge” through LinkedIn. They get in the loop and get to know the people making decisions.

Like GI Joe said – knowing is half the battle. The other half is proving your worth, and LinkedIn makes that easier.

Remember: LinkedIn can help you find opportunities. Keep this in mind, and prepare yourself to enter LinkedIn and create an account!

4. LinkedIn 101 – Setting up your account

Now that we’re really getting started, it’s important we know exactly what to do and how, so let’s start from the very beginning.

First: Visit http://www.LinkedIn.com using your web browser of choice.

linked 3   LinkedIn Guide: Build Your Living Resume

Second, take a look at the home screen. You’ll see it’s quite easy for you to jump right in and get started: a registration page is already open. Let’s take advantage of this opportunity, and enter our First Name, Last Name, Email Address and Password.

linked 4   LinkedIn Guide: Build Your Living Resume

Use a different password than you use for other websites. A secure password is long, includes special characters, and uses both UPPERCASE and lowercase letters. Use a combination you can remember for convenience, but which is secure.

Once you enter the initial registration page, you’ll be taken to a page to create your “Professional Profile”, the real meat of your application. Here, enter your Nationality, ZIP Code, Employment Status, Job Title, and Industry. All of this information will become the foundation of your profile, which is important. Your employment status and industry are optional choices in this part of the process.

linked 5   LinkedIn Guide: Build Your Living Resume

After you click “Create my Profile”, you’ll be brought to a page asking you to begin a contact search. LinkedIn will search your contact database for people who already use LinkedIn. It will return you a list of people you can connect with, a great way to begin your search. This is optional, and don’t feel obligated to add all those people so quickly. You can always return to the page later, and add contacts from the various email accounts you have. If you choose to go forward, you’ll be given a list of contacts and you can connect with whoever you want.

DON’T mindlessly connect with people using LinkedIn! You never know who may be on your contact list and you want to keep yourself as networked as possible, but you also want to be mindful of the people you have in your network. It may be fun to add a whole bunch of people, but remember what you’re dealing with: your living resume!

linked 7   LinkedIn Guide: Build Your Living Resume

Next, you’ll have to verify your account. You will need to verify ownership of every email address you add to LinkedIn: an email will be sent to your address. Check your email for this message and use it to verify. This step is mandatory for security and helps you keep would-be hackers from accessing your account.

linked 8   LinkedIn Guide: Build Your Living Resume

DO allow time for the email to arrive! Sometimes LinkedIn’s servers are busy, meaning the email could take up to 30 minutes to arrive. If it doesn’t come after 30 minutes or so, check that you’ve entered your email address correctly, and that there are no problems with your email setup.

After you enter your confirmation link, and log in, you’ll likely see a bunch of offers from LinkedIn. These range from telling your Twitter followers that you’ve joined LinkedIn to offers of paid memberships to the ability to add information such as job titles, education, skills and so on. These are all aspects of that Living Resume, but once again are perfectly optional. You’ll have the ability to just skip right through as you want to, so don’t hesitate to! We’ll of course have the ability to add information later.

Once you are done adding the information you want, click “Finish”. Once you do, prepare to enter chaos.

As you can see, you’re jumping right into the fray that is the LinkedIn homepage. This is not what others see when visiting your profile, nor are you looking at the profile of others. Instead, this page serves as a dashboard where you can catch up with your connections, news in your industry, LinkedIn’s “Picks” of information you may want to know, available jobs, and (of course) advertisements. All of this can be a bit overwhelming, so let’s break it down.

Since we’re still very fresh on the street, LinkedIn is going to want to connect you with as many contacts as possible. As such, there is a button here you can click to log into your email accounts to gather contacts. If you don’t want to use this function to add contacts, or it isn’t there, click the “Contacts” button on the top navigation bar. Here you can easily add or import contacts from other email accounts, or with email addresses you export from software like Outlook. This is important, as connecting with people you know is central in the LinkedInVerse.

linked 9   LinkedIn Guide: Build Your Living Resume

Next you’ll see a very generic ‘person’ icon seated next to a blank blurb offering to give an update. This is how you can, as in Facebook or Twitter, communicate with members of your network and share your thoughts, updates, successes, and so on. It’s a great way to show your innovation, accomplishments, or general updates. Keep in mind, though, that the communications should be balanced between personal and professional; we’ll get into greater detail about that later.

Below and to the right of this is content that is generated and devised by LinkedIn and its algorithms and as a result may not be relevant or interesting. Some of it is news of your industry (such as telecommunications,) news on LinkedIn, updates from the members of your network, and so on. This is all mixed in with the LinkedIn Job Finder, and the tools to the right of the main column, which include Jobs, Groups, and other content “You May Be Interested In”

All of this breaks down into your daily dash- board, and is a great way to see what you’re made of, but we aren’t exactly seeing what others see, so let’s take a look at what our public profile might look like.

As you can see, it’s rather bland. We’re miss- ing a whole bunch of information! Don’t be afraid to hunker down and transform your pro- file from a shy pond to a brewing sea of excitement. On the right hand bar you’ll see a % bar standing idly by, a gauge of how “complete” your profile is. LinkedIn is not only encouraging you but helping you complete your profile and build something worthy of exposure.

linked 6   LinkedIn Guide: Build Your Living Resume

Let’s take a moment to break down the profile and see what we can do to build up our account. Let’s add value, quality, and integrity.

5. Profiling Yourself

Our profile is rather bland and uninteresting right now – something very unlikely to draw in as much as a polite glance, let alone looks from potential recruiters and businessmen. If we’re going to transform this:

linked 6   LinkedIn Guide: Build Your Living Resume

…into this…

linked 10   LinkedIn Guide: Build Your Living Resume

…we’ve got a lot of work to do. In fact, this is so essential to having a proper “Living Resume” that the entire next chapter is all about getting you to 100% on the LinkedIn scale of “profile completeness”.

As you can probably see by the blank profile page, filling in your LinkedIn page is easy. Over each of our empty spaces are options to click and add content with. It’s not complicated, so let’s follow along and slowly but surely build an application worth showing off.

The easiest – and perhaps most important – thing to add to your application is a photo. Why? Because a picture is worth a thousand words. As cliché as that sounds, you’d be surprised what a deal-breaker (or maker) a photo can be to people seeking to network with, or (perhaps) hire, you.

It should be a photo that is personal, yet proper. It should feature only you – not others – and be a clearly identifiable photo that shows you as a professional and a human being (so, resist the urge to overuse Photoshop). Photos from holidays, graduation, or other such occasions may work, but so do simple, clean, professionally done photos.

Remember to smile! It’s essential to getting the attention you want to your account. As this is just a test account, we’ll be using the MakeUseOf Logo; don’t you love that beautiful face?

Next, we can work our way down through the current & past jobs we have held.

linked 11   LinkedIn Guide: Build Your Living Resume

Remember: all information should be accurate. Not only is honesty important: accurate information also helps people and companies find you.

Once you manage to build your profile’s current work, past work, and photo, the rest is a piece of cake. Go ahead and fill out other important information, such as your education, related websites, and even a link to your Twitter account.

Linking to Twitter allows you to show the divide between you as a professional and you as an individual. But remember: that once you link it, it will forever be associated with your LinkedIn account. Though you can be lenient with your words, the image will be in stone, and those who can find you on LinkedIn will find you on Twitter. Consider your options carefully.

Once you do all of this you will be able to see all aspects of your account, including the ability to add your summary. A summary is basically the objective you write for your cover letter or the upper part of your resume. Much like your objective, a summary should be a sweet, simple, and easy way for people to understand you in 100 words or less. Some quick tips for your summary include:

• Don’t feel like you need to use big words – the summary should be a short and personal way for people to know who you are and what you do

• Let your skill-set do the talking when it comes to your abilities; use your Summary to explain who you are and what you want to do.

• Be honest, be personal, and stay true: you’d be surprised how eye-catching some humility can be in a good profile for the talent-seeker

• Don’t overdo the personal – stick to your professional goals. This is, after all, a professional social network.

Keep in mind that everything is on the Internet. Once you add something to your profile at LinkedIn it will be in the hands of millions to be accessed and seen with or without your permission or intention. Remember, present the sort of image you would during a job interview.

One additional thing to add to better articulate yourself is a custom profile link. LinkedIn offers, at no extra charge, the ability to turn the impersonal link to your profile into a personalized one (ie, LinkedIn.com/pub/YourName).

You can do this by simply clicking the edit button on the sample link to your public profile page. Ideally this should simply be your name – JohnDoeSuperstar101 is not exactly the most professional of links. If your name is taken, and you can’t think of an appropriate URL, it may be best not to change your URL for now. The advantages of a personalized link can be easily washed away if you pick an inappropriate URL, so don’t bother touching this if the effort outweighs the benefits. Keep in mind all the while LinkedIn is going to use this information about you as best it can, so you may want to consider some ways to restrict their unauthorized use of your identity in advertising, while maximizing your other regular exposure.

Last, and certainly not least, is the addition of a resume. A resume on LinkedIn is a blessing and a curse if you’re currently employed, because your boss will know it’s there. Although many working people do post their resume, there is also a sizable population who do not, out of respect for their current employers. The best advice here is to add it soon after creating your account, because suddenly uploading it may be a sign to your employers that you’re beginning to look elsewhere for work.

If you decide not to add a resume, don’t fret! Emailing a 1-page resume is a piece of cake once you’re in contact with a potential employer, and the lack of a resume may entice companies to reach out to you if they are curious. On the other hand, a resume on your profile might seal the deal, so the choice is yours.

All in all, these are all elements that develop your profile. Together they help you build an identity worth looking into for employers. Remember, utilize as much of your profile as possible, to better articulate yourself and bring you closer to achieving the “Living Resume” you truly want.

6. Networking – Get From Third to First, Fast.

Right next to your qualifications and relative experience, networking is what will get you around the block. Believe me, LinkedIn helps you network.

Networking is more than just an attempt to gain patronage, or simply connecting with old friends and acquaintances. It’s how you get things done, the 21st century way. Recruiters, job search sites, and other such resources are expensive and time consuming. Reaching out to people in your network is the fastest and cheapest way things are done today, thanks to the magic of email, and websites like LinkedIn. Pay attention to the high-ranked people in the LinkedIniverse, and see how many connections they have – the correlation is more than just a coincidence. With this in mind, you should already be thinking of ways to network and to get yourself out there.

If you haven’t already, take the opportunity to search through LinkedIn, your email accounts, or through some other medium, and add contacts to your professional network. You must designate how you know people, which is really not hard at all. Some contacts will also require proof of how you know them, meaning you will need to provide email addresses or other private information in order to reach out.

Each person’s settings are unique, so take it all in your stride. If someone declines to add you, never take it personally. Simply shrug it off and add some other contacts until you get yourself a sizeable network of peop

linked 12   LinkedIn Guide: Build Your Living Resume

Once you find a bunch of contacts, you may begin to see people with the numbers 1, 2, and 3 in your search results. LinkedIn uses a unique method of connecting you with colleagues, employers, alumni, and more. Utilizing a 3rd – 2nd – 1st degree system, you can better understand how well connected you are with people at your work, your industry, and beyond.

A 1st degree contact is someone you’ve already connected with, and is directly in touch with you. Think of them as a person you have spoken to and know them as an acquaintance, co-worker or friend.

A 2nd degree contact is someone you are not in contact with, but a 1st degree contact is connected with. As a result, they are people you might have heard of but have never met or have been in touch with. That can change, and you should seriously consider adding them to your network if you share interests.

A 3rd degree contact is more common but also less likely to yield a response. Basically, these are people your 2nd degree contacts are connected with. You probably have never heard of these people, but the LinkedIn 3 degree system brings them into your circle. It’s important to know as many people as possible, and reach out as much as possible, so use these degrees to find connections.

All of this may seem mind boggling, but do not fret – the idea is to get people from that un-knowing 3rd degree to the much-desired 1st degree, and getting there is not difficult at all.

• Get to know them. Network with other 2nd degree contacts in your network, and maybe even reach out to your friends to find out more about them. If you add a personalized message when asking to add people to your network, they’re very likely to add you.

• If you find people at first to be shy, don’t be afraid to reach out again about a few weeks later to continually show interest. It’s important though to understand some people are busy and may not reply right away, or just prefer to only let trusted people into their circle.

• Though it never hurts to keep sending messages, don’t spam people. There comes a point when it’s clear that the contact is not interested in networking with you. If this is the case, just carry on – never harass people. Unless they’re an essential contact you desperately need to be in the loop with (which InMail can perhaps help you reach more effectively), remember there are other fish in the sea.

With all of this in mind, remember – always be fishing for people to network with. It seems like a very simple, easy, and insignificant part of the process, but you’d be surprised what close contacts can add up to. Plus you never know who may be knocking, and you don’t ever want to miss a ringing doorbell.

7. Establishing that “Living Resume”

We’ve talked a lot about the various aspects of LinkedIn, and how they all combine to give you that “Living Resume” experience, but it’s about time we begin to actually sit down and explain how LinkedIn can be utilized as this essential “Living Resume”. Through a variety of tools already available through LinkedIn, as well as with other third party resume builders, let’s break it down.

For starters: you should always be looking for opportunities of all shapes and sizes. Whether you need clients for your business or a new job, LinkedIn is where you should start your search.

If you’re employed, someone should be managing a company page for your company on LinkedIn. There should also be someone in the company who is in contact with people, through the various groups and organizations on LinkedIn, relevant to your market. If nobody in your company is doing this, volunteer. Now’s the chance to show some initiative and take this by the reins. Help represent your company and show yourself off while finding countless exposure opportunities for the company.

This doesn’t just help your company: it helps you. You’ll make valuable connections helpful for your next job search, and publically show off your communications skills in the process.

Under the “Companies” navigation bar you can search for and find companies of various relevance to you: your company, companies you work for, or companies you want to work for. If your company doesn’t yet exist, take the opportunity to add a company and show it off to those who may be interested, potentially bringing in corporate-level business.

linked 13   LinkedIn Guide: Build Your Living Resume

In review: helping to represent your company on LinkedIn not only helps your company but also gets your name out there. That’s part of your Living Resume.

When reaching out to potential jobs or opportunities, offer the potential employer a link to your LinkedIn account alongside your resume, cover letter, and other traditional materials. This gives would-be employers a chance to learn more about you, and could be a deal-maker: it shows Internet proficiency, social media knowledge, and a level of initiative (particularly if you’ve been active on LinkedIn for a while). If your potential employer is tech-savvy, showing LinkedIn and your Living Resume is a powerful way to establish yourself and develop exposure and interest.

On top of all of this you should be refining your application as much as possible to see what else there is to improve and build upon. Quantity is important, but quality is what can seal the deal for you, especially if you choose to reach out and apply for jobs using LinkedIn as your resume and part of your skill set.

Be sure to read (and take part in) conversations in the various groups you join and with people who are part of your network. Nothing is worse than carrying with you all the potential that LinkedIn has, and doing absolutely nothing with it at all – keep this in mind, otherwise your hard work may be wasted. So LinkedIn works better as a Living Resume
if you regularly engage with people, showing off your knowledge. Employers will take note if what you say online is insightful.

You may also want to take the opportunity to occasionally prune through old contacts, offer recommendations, and keep them in the loop by sending them a message. Keep people engaged and you’ll be surprised at how many people can help you out. The only direction to go with your resume contacts is up, and to have as many relevant contacts as possible because of the potential they can offer you.

In the end, these are all important aspects: they are what transforms your mere profile into a Living Resume, an identity, and a tool to prove to potential businesses and employers alike what you’re made of. The Living Resume of LinkedIn is a demonstration of your skills, education, experience, character, personality, and potential; show them all in their light to maximize your return.

8. Recommendations, Your Contacts & More

As you may have noticed, LinkedIn has the ability to truly build strong connections with the contacts you have, as well as ensure you are exploiting, as best as possible, your connections, their resources, and your own. By requesting recommendations, utilizing tools such as Inmail, and just plain old chats at the e-water cooler, you can truly maximize the efficiency of your relationships, and get the best bang out of your LinkedIn-buck.

Recommendations are LinkedIn’s public version of a letter of recommendation, so be careful whom you ask to leave one: it can very easily and very quickly become awkward. After all: you can never truly be sure of what your boss, coworker, or other contact thinks of you, and asking for a recommendation can be tedious, stressful, and sadly, at times, disappointing. On the other hand, recommendations are also important to developing your LinkedIn profile and “Living Resume”, so they’d be silly to just leave out. As a result, keep in mind what asking for a recommendation looks like on LinkedIn, and want to do to ensure nobody feels strange receiving such a request.

In summary: be careful whom you ask for a recommendation. Be certain you have a good relationship with that person, and that they will only have good things to say about you.

linked 14   LinkedIn Guide: Build Your Living Resume

As you can see, LinkedIn again steps in like that wingman you could before only dream of having, offering you a generic template to start off with. However, it’s never good to just go generic, so don’t be shy: brainstorm some good ways to communicate your interest. Some good ways to communicate a recommendation include buzz phrases, such as:

“I really feel your thoughtful words could add great weight to my application”

“You have been essential to my development with my work skills and knowledge, and I’d be honored to have your kind words develop my profile.”

“Don’t feel obligated to offer a recommendation if you don’t want to – I will think of you no differently in declining, and I thank you for taking the time to read.”

You want to ensure whomever you send a recommendation request not only is capable of writing one for you, but also would even want to. Don’t beg people for recommendations if they can’t offer a positive one in good conscience. Also, be aware of timing: space out recommendations so your colleagues don’t see them all land on your profile at once, like you’ve been bombed with kind words. The Goal of a recommendation is to add depth and quality, not hollow quantity, to your profile and Living Resume.

LinkedIn also offers you a great way to get in touch with professionals outside your network, such as recruiters, who may not necessarily be the best fit into your network as a connection but great for a professional “meet n’ greet”. This Is where InMail comes in.

linked 15   LinkedIn Guide: Build Your Living Resume

InMail is LinkedIn’s way of letting you send a message to people outside your network. It is the equivalent as a professional hello. Since InMails are not free, people take them seriously. The sight of one in your inbox not only shows someone your professional intentions (along with a good message) but also their professional interest. It’s also flattering: paying to send someone a message can make people feel good about themselves, or prove to recruiters or employers you mean business. However, at $10 a pop, don’t be quick to jump into them unless you know whomever you send them to be deserving of them and likely to read your message: bulk emailing this way can get expensive quickly.

Then again, you can always opt for a paid membership as LinkedIn includes an allotment of InMail messages which you can use however you like.

Lastly, advertising is the good old American way to get your message out. The power of LinkedIn’s massive website and network of targeting and relevancy can help you get your word out. For a small fee on a regular basis, ads featuring your profile – your “Living Resume” – can reach the people you want it to reach, including executives and recruiters alike. It’s a very unconventional way to draw attention, and a very effective way to prove your worth due to the efforts and costs involved.

linked 16   LinkedIn Guide: Build Your Living Resume

The Jobs tab on the navigation panel is, again, a targeted system that picks jobs that are considered relevant and that you may be interested in applying for. It’s a great way for companies to find applicants, and an even better way for you to find relevant jobs which are likely to pay well. Never be afraid to apply, as you never know what may be in store!

All of these features are aspects to consider when job seeking, and to prove to potential employers and recruiters your value, your skills, and your level of initiative, all surrounding that mighty “Living Resume”

9. Finding People, Wrapping it Up

LinkedIn is slowly beginning to take ground over Facebook and other social media websites because of all the features it offers. People want to stay in the loop with one another professionally, and LinkedIn is the site for that. It offers a fine balance between the outsiders you don’t know (but may want to know you) and the people in your closely knit circle of professionals.

The search system utilized by LinkedIn is also excellent, because it tells you who is looking for you, but also because it helps you find people you’re interested in. As a result, neither side feels a complete advantage nor both share the respectable responsibilities that come with searching people. The ability to search on LinkedIn is extensive, and you can break it down into state, city, college, industry, business, and more. As a result, as you add more to your own profile, you increase your chances of being searched, and bring yourself closer into the world of LinkedIn, and what it has to offer.

linked 17   LinkedIn Guide: Build Your Living Resume

EVERYONE is on LinkedIn – and it isn’t like Facebook, where they may appear hard to find or hidden among immature doppelgangers. Since LinkedIn is the professional network, you’ll have a pretty easy time reaching out to people – though perhaps a less than easy time actually getting in touch with them. Still: a connection that could change your life could be just around the corner. You just need to have a few 3rd degrees, and work your way to #1.

All in all, what you have here are a powerful array of tools at your service, and even more powerful resources at your disposal through third parties. Take advantage of everything LinkedIn has to offer you, both paid and free, to truly exploit it and know what it can bring you. The power of a Living Resume is great, and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Keep this in mind, as you never know what the Living Resume of LinkedIn will bring you, and opportunities from it may be right around the corner. Most importantly, stay professional, stay classy, and stay active, as LinkedIn is bound to be a useful tool for millions present, and millions more to come as the years go on for the company to build on its reputation as the most powerful professional social media network in the world.

Additional Reading

Guide Published: April 2012

DOWNLOAD THIS GUIDE

PDF ePub

The comments were closed because the article is more than 180 days old.

If you have any questions related to what's mentioned in the article or need help with any computer issue, ask it on MakeUseOf Answers—We and our community will be more than happy to help.