Are you considering joining LinkedIn but need help knowing where to begin? Or maybe you have a LinkedIn profile but have yet to explore all of LinkedIn’s features? If this sounds like you, you are not alone. LinkedIn is the largest professional networking site and an essential tool for your overall career development. This article explores how to get started and several ways to take your LinkedIn activities to the next level.
If you do not have a LinkedIn profile yet, we recommend watching Launching with LinkedIn on Career Planning and Development’s Networking page. You may also want to search for articles on the Career Planning and Development blog using the keyword “LinkedIn.” After creating your LinkedIn profile, you are ready to engage on LinkedIn! Here are six quick ways to get started:
Connect with Others
LinkedIn is all about building professional connections. Before you start connecting with others, however, reflect on your LinkedIn networking strategy. Who would you like to add to your network? Consider connecting with other Walden students, people you met at professional events, work colleagues, volunteer partners, professionals who work in your current or future role, and others. Your network will start to grow right away, as people you connect with become your 1st degree connections, people connected to your 1st degree connections become your 2nd degree connections and, finally, people connected to your 2nd degree connections become your 3rd degree connections.
Try This: Use LinkedIn’s “Search” bar to find people you would like to connect with. Click on their name to navigate to their LinkedIn profile, then click the “Connect” button to write a personalized invitation to connect based on your shared interests.
LinkedIn has thousands of groups focused on professional interests that you can choose to join. Many professional associations, learning institutions, and organizations also have LinkedIn groups. Search for groups by academic or professional interest areas such as public health, education, management, social work, research, academia, and many others. Remember to join the Walden University Career Planning and Development LinkedIn Group and other Walden groups.
Try This: Use LinkedIn’s “Search” bar to search for groups you may be interested in joining. Next, click on the “Groups” button to view a list of groups related to your interest area. Select a group, then click on the “Join” button to send your request to join. Be patient as it may take a few days for your request to be approved by the group manager.
Find Walden Alumni
The connections you make as a Walden University student or graduate can help propel your career. Using LinkedIn, you can learn about where Walden alums work and in what cities or countries they live. You can send invites to connect with individual alums who have graduated from your academic program or already work in your target role or occupation.
Try This: Use LinkedIn’s “Search” bar to search for “Walden University.” A list of Walden-related groups will appear in the drop-down menu. Select “Walden University – School – US”, then click on the “Follow” button. After you are “following” Walden University, you will be able to enter this group and use the “Alumni” tab to search for Walden alumni.
Search for Jobs
Whether you are in an active job search or reviewing job postings for future opportunities, LinkedIn is a great site to search for jobs. LinkedIn allows you to set job alerts and provides recommendations based on the types of jobs you are seeking.
Try This: Click on the “Jobs” icon in the top navigation bar to search for jobs and explore the qualifications of positions that interest you. If you are currently unemployed and actively looking, click on the “Me” icon to access your LinkedIn Profile, then click on your Profile Photo. Here, you can add an “Open to Work” frame to let your network (and recruiters) know that you are job hunting.
Do you have a list of “dream” places you would like to work? Learn more about your favorite companies by following them on LinkedIn. If you are selected to interview for a position, use LinkedIn to research the company’s culture and people and connect with individuals who work there. By reviewing the skills and qualifications of the company’s employees, you can also gain a sense of what is required for your target position.
Try This: Use LinkedIn’s “Search” bar to search for a company you would like to follow. Click on the “Follow” button. After you are “following” the company, you will be able to access the company’s posts, people, open positions, and much more!
As you advance through your Walden program, gain new professional and academic skills, increase your knowledge, and become active in professional activities, consider sharing resources, upcoming events, and expertise with members of your LinkedIn network. LinkedIn allows you to comment on others’ posts and start new posts on any professional topic. You can also share images and videos to add visual elements to your posts, advertise an upcoming event, and even self-publish an article. Since LinkedIn is all about professional networking, you will want to proofread everything you share online and bring forth your best professional self on social media.
Try This: Click on the “Home” icon in the top navigation. Then, click on the “Photo” and “Video” icons to share images and videos. Click the “Event” icon to advertise an upcoming event that you may be hosting. Click on the “Write article” icon to self-publish an article on a topic of expertise.
As you navigate LinkedIn, refer to LinkedIn Help for instructions and tips on how to use this popular professional networking and career exploration tool. On your journey from a LinkedIn “beginner” to an “expert user,” consider scheduling a career advising appointment with Career Planning and Development staff for LinkedIn advice and feedback.
Written by Dina Bergren, Manager, Department of Career Planning and Development