I thought I would re-post a LinkedIn "Getting Started" post from my blog...

Getting Started with LinkedIn!

1. Create your account
There are 3 ways to do this:
i) Go to www.linkedin.com and follow the simple directions
ii) Get invited by a friend already on LinkedIn
iii) Ask Jim Geraghty (or any HAPPEN member) to invite you
Note: Accepting any invitation will direct you through the account creation process.

2. Build a Stunning Profile
Create a profile the way you want others to see it. Your Profile provides information about your career, employers, positions, memberships and other interests. The more complete this information, the easier it will be for other LinkedIn (LI) members to find you, and you to find colleagues (which is the whole point). The more keywords about your interests you display, the more likely that others with similar interests will find you.

Spend some time on the privacy options – this will ensure that no one can access your contact information except as you deliberately make it available.

3. Build Your Effective Network
From the LinkedIn Home Page, look on the left hand side and click on the green button that says “Add Connections”
a) The easiest and best way to build your network is to import your contacts from your Outlook, gmail, hotmail or other address books.
i) Review the alphabetical list of names imported from your address book. On the first review, limit the list of names to those contacts who are already members – these are the easiest folks to invite and will help to build your network fast. Complete the below steps and return to invite non-LI users.
ii) Check the box beside contacts you wish to invite, LI will create a list of these contacts who will receive your invitation. Write a generic invitation that will be sent to everyone (LI adds their first name so ensure that your contact information is correct). You might want to run this in a few steps so that you can make more personal invitations for groups of contacts.
b) You can also invite people who are not in your contacts list. Simply enter the first and last name plus the email address of up to 5 persons you want to invite. LI then will display a standard invitation that you should edit (personalize).

4. Find the Right People / Companies
At the top of each LI page is a search bar where you can type in a name and/or key word. LI will search for connections with the name or name or keyword(s) mentioned in their profile. LI presents a list of found names. Note: You may wish to open the Advanced Search window and limit the search to Canada or any other region.

You may see these 3 important symbols:

A blue circle with the numbers 1 through 3 in the middle that indicates the degree of connection with you.
A “1” indicates the person is one of your contacts (a 1st degree contact).
A “2” indicates the person is a contact of one of your contacts (a 2nd degree contact).
A “3” means that there are 2 levels of connections between you and the name listed (a 3rd degree contact).

A “thumbs up” symbol means that someone has provided recommendations concerning this person – a sign of quality.

A blue circle on the far right with a number beneath it tells you how many LI contacts this person has.

Clicking on any of the names that the search produced will open that person’s profile page unless it has been restricted. You can now view:
- Any recommendations that others have made for this person. (by position)
- How you are connected. See the box titled “How You’re Connected to ________” on the right-hand side. There may be more than one connection.

5. Make Contact
Using LinkedIn you can now contact people who you might never have known before and who can help you win at your job search.
I. Be Respectful – Contact folks where your purpose is aligned with their interests
II. Be Introduced – Tell your colleagues why you want them to pass along your name
III. Be Creative – Don’t ask for a job – ask for assistance or their opinion (everyone likes to give their opinion!)

If you have other questions about using LinkedIn, please ask and I will do my best to answer them...