Quick Start Guide: How to get started on LinkedIn

LinkedIn Profile Optimization

If you’ve never been on LinkedIn before, it can be a little overwhelming at first. However, getting started on LinkedIn is pretty easy if you are well prepared and spend time working your way through the different steps. Here is my quick start guide that gets you onto the right track. The very first thing you need to do is to work on your current resume. In general, I always recommend updating your resume quite frequently – even if you do not change jobs. Still you want to make sure that your skills, projects, and accomplishments are reflected correctly. It is always easier to keep a resume updated while not looking for a job. So, before you get started with LinkedIn sit down and spend some time reviewing your current resume and update it with the latest information.

Once your resume is done it’s time to start adding information to your LinkedIn Profile. Important: before you add anything, make sure you change your Privacy Settings so your profile activity isn’t visible until you’re finished filling out your profile. You do not want to show up on LinkedIn with a profile that is heavily under construction and incomplete. Having your profile set to private will keep updates hidden from your connections. Keep in mind this does not make your profile invisible – it just keeps any changes hidden from the update stream. Also, you only need to do this during major “construction” on your profile. Smaller updates – just do them on the fly.

Complete the following steps to change your Privacy Settings:

Once you have adjusted your Privacy Settings, you can start adding content to your Profile. Slowly work your way through the different sections starting with your work history. I do not recommend copying and pasting content from Microsoft Word. Instead, copy the contents into a text file (e.g., Notepad or Notepad++) and then copy and paste it from there into the LinkedIn web interface. This additional step will strip out hidden formatting and styles that gets created by Microsoft Word and other editors. These hidden styles and formatting features can mess up the final output by LinkedIn and makes it cumbersome to fix or adjust. That extra step will save you time and effort in the end. You can also save your resume in plain text format and then copy and paste straight out of that text file into the LinkedIn editor.

In addition to adding your resume and work history, you can showcase accomplishments like PDFs, slides/presentations, online articles, and images. You can create links to your external websites, if applicable.

After entering data related to your work history, LinkedIn will pull in employer logos and display them next to your employment listings. Make sure that the logos match up. There could be companies with duplicate names and your work experience could be associated with the wrong company. 

Don’t forget to change your privacy settings back to normal once you are done updating.

In a later tutorial, we will talk about your profile picture and its importance.