Written by Oleg Ignatenko

What is LinkedIn? If you haven’t had a chance to check out this website yet, then you are definitely missing out. LinkedIn is a business related social networking site that was launched 8 years ago. Just imagine if Facebook and CareerBuilder morphed together and formed a site where you can network, but on a professional level. Gone are the pictures of you or your friends partying away and in are the pictures of you in a business attire ready to take on the future. LinkedIn allows you much more than just having the ability to look at an employer’s site and information, it allows you to connect and interact with the employer, former employees, colleagues and other organizations that might be looking for the talent that you may be able to present to them.

Let’s start with the basics. First sign up and fill out the requirements for profile access. You will have the ability to personalize you profile just the way you would want an employer to see it. Then, select the specific skills that you have acquired throughout your life such as typing, sales, knowledge of other languages, etc. This will highlight your resume by showing what kind of experience you possess and give the employer a better perspective as to how you could be a helpful addition to their company. You also want to add your education information such as where you go to college and what you majored in. Last thing you will need to do is list your former occupations, where they were located, your supervisor’s name, and the responsibilities that you were assigned.

Once you have completed all of these steps, you are ready for the fun part. Start browsing the website for new connections. These connections could be people you worked with from the past or possibly people that you are working with at the moment. It is very important that you add people that you know or that have some sort of affiliation with the field that you are pursuing a career in. Be careful not to overdo it. Numbers aren’t everything in this world. For example, just because somebody has 5,000 friends on Facebook, it does not mean that these are their actual friends. In reality they are most likely just a picture and no story. This is why you should be more selective when choosing new connections. Pick people and employers that you know can be utilized for useful information and that will have some sort of impact on your future. Whether they will provide you with some extensive information or possibly a recommendation or maybe even just somebody who can give you advice on how to go about doing something. You should connect with people that are more relevant to your career rather than those who might become more of a distraction. Also, when you request a connection to another member or group on LinkedIn, it is always good to send them a message letting them know who you are and why you want to add them as one of your connections.

Now that you have everything set up all you have to do is explore. Try to log on as much as possible and just browse and find out more about the site itself. Be consistent, do it on a regular daily basis. Even if it’s for 5 to 10 minutes, you should have no problem taking that small amount of time out of your daily schedule. Stay involved in what is happening around you, update your status regularly, check what your connections are discussing or browse for possible information sessions being held by companies or industries that you are interested in. Who knows what you might find in those ten minutes. Just look at it this way, by putting yourself out there you will allow your voice to be heard and your presence to be recognized by others. Remember it’s the same as going to a party, a music concert or some sort of an event. Just by showing up, you are half way there and anything is possible.

For additional information on LinkedIn you can also follow webinars held by Steve Green: the president of NetUpNOW which is a social media company. His info sessions are very helpful and will give you a deeper insight into LinkedIn and all of its possibilities.

Here is a link to Steve Greens LinkedIn account
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Here is an additional link that will provide information on why you should join LinkedIn and will give you some information on how to use LinkedIn to get ahead.