I have a LinkedIn account…now what?

This post is brought to you by the word: dossier [dos-ee-ey, daw-see-ey] /ˈdɒsiˌeɪ, ˈdɔsiˌeɪ/


a collection or file of documents on the same subject, especially a complete file containing detailed information about a person or topic.

Want to know more about using social media for professional information and collaboration? See the top right sidebar for links to the entire blog series —->


Hopefully everyone has read Mary Huston‘s earlier guest blog post (in my series on social media) introducing you to LinkedIn as a social media outlet for extending your PLN (Personal/Professional Learning Network). She’s agreed to come back and blog some more about LinkedIn and I couldn’t be happier because I learned so much from this post. And that’s not all, she has MORE to share with us at a later date. It looks like Mary’s going to be a semi regular guest blogger here!


You’ve taken that first step and actually created a LinkedIn account. Are you wondering what to do next? If you haven’t already, you will want to watch this tutorial of what LinkedIn is all about.

Building a Profile

The first thing to do now that you’ve joined is to create a profile. A profile enables people to find you and represents you on LinkedIn. The profile also allows you to control your identity online – not just on LinkedIn. For instance, have you searched your name online lately? If not, go try it now…I’ll wait.

What was the first item that came up when you searched for yourself? According to LinkedIn, the first search choice is typically a LinkedIn profile (for those individuals who have one). How much easier can it be to have a professional image online? For individuals looking for work or starting in private practice, a LinkedIn profile can be a great source of free advertising.

LinkedIn walks members through creating a profile. A 100% complete profile has a picture, a list of current and past positions, education, a summary paragraph, and recommendations from other professionals. Some of this information can be incorporated very easily by uploading a current resume. Each area on a resume: Experience, Education, etc. will have a headline in bold with the information under it. In addition, each section can have a recommendation which will be discussed shortly.

The profile can be customized with different sections (e.g., Presentations, Publications, Websites, Associations, etc.) and to be complete, a profile requires recommendations. A recommendation is a personal statement from individuals familiar with your ability. LinkedIn recommends at least three (3) recommendations to be complete and makes it very easy to request recommendations from people. Of course, more recommendations are always a good thing.

LinkedIn has a great profile tutorial that walks an individual through most of the profile creation and makes it fairly easy to create a professional profile in no time. In addition, it tracks how complete the profile is and provides a Percentage Complete so it’s easy to see how much more work needs to be done. When the profile is complete, it can be viewed, emailed, and saved as a PDF file.

Building Connections

Once your profile is complete it’s time to start building connections. Connecting can happen in a couple of ways. The easiest way is to look for individuals you know; perhaps co-workers, employers, or friends. There is a search function where if you think someone has a LinkedIn account, you can search for them. Type in their name in the “People” blank and hit enter. A list of individuals who may meet your search criteria is generated. Click on an individual’s name and you will see their profile. You will also see whether or not they are “connected” to you by anyone in your network.

Once you’ve found who you are looking for, you have several options.

  • If you are a paid member, you can send an “InMail” which is a direct email.
  • You can ask a member of your network who is also connected with that person to “introduce” you.
  • You can add the individual to your network – IF – you have their address. You will need to let LinkedIn know how you “know” that individual.

If you are “connected” to an individual a “How You’re Connected To ____ “ box comes up. This allows you to see how you are connected. LinkedIn also allows you to shop contacts by seeing who else viewed the same profile.

Who’s Looking at Me?

The home page is where your personal profile can be edited and you can view other elements of LinkedIn. You are able to see how often your profile has been viewed in the last 90 days and how many times your name has shown up in searches. If you click on the number of times your profile has been viewed, LinkedIn provides a list of people and a bit of their information. If they are in your network, you will see their names and or pictures and which group or connection they share with you. If they are out of your network, you will see a notification that “someone at ____” viewed your profile. If you have a paid account, LinkedIn will provide a list of everyone who has viewed your account. This is a fantastic way to see how effective your profile has been at generating professional interest.

The home page also shows Your LinkedIn Network. This is the number of connections you have that are linked directly to you as well as how many people are in your network (connections of connections). This area also provides the number of new people in your network. There is also a box of Jobs You May Be Interested In, which provides job listings. Finally, the home page also provides People You May Know, which are suggestions of different people with whom you may be interested in connecting. LinkedIn compiles your interests, groups, and profile to generate this list.

Now that your profile is complete and you’re able to connect with individuals it’s time to find groups and organizations to connect. Finding groups will be the subject of my next post. In the meantime, go create an awesome profile!

Mary Huston is a speech-language pathologist who works in a school in North Dakota. You can find her on LinkedIn and also on Twitter as @mtMarySLP.

One comment on “I have a LinkedIn account…now what?

  1. Richard says:

    What is linkedin all about.

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