How to get started on LinkedIn

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By Fergus Mellon

I am a bit of a social media-phobe in that I am a reluctant member of Facebook and rarely post updates on what I had for lunch and other importantaspects of my life. While not being a “social sharer,” I do really value LinkedIn as a professional tool, not just a portable Rolodex, but also as a way to see who in my network could help me with business projects.  There may be a long-lost colleague now at a company that I want to do a deal with or someone in my network who can provide a reference on a candidate.

It can also serve as your “professional billboard.” A well-constructed profile can show you in a great light to your industry. I’m amazed when I look at the “who viewed your profile” tab of LinkedIn (yes, LinkedIn shows you this) of just who is interested in me.

Here is the minimum of what I would do on LinkedIn:

• Spend Time on Your Profile.   Make it look good and ensure that it contains accurate and interesting information.  The basics are to have a professional-looking picture of yourself (i.e., not holding a drink), a strong, but concise, summary of your experience and key skills and a description of your current position as well as previous ones.  It really is pretty simple: View it as an online version of your résumé.

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