LinkedIn for Connecting, Career Building & Job Searching

LinkedIn is a:

  • Free online network for professional networking with more than 350 million members in 200 countries and 170 industries.  Go to
  • Resource for career exploration, networking and job search.
  • Place to share advice and information with professionals in your field through updates and groups.
  • Resource for recruiters to post jobs as well as to screen and search for possible candidates. 

Your 10 Point Check List - for a Savvy Profile  (also: Visual Profile check-list for Students)

1. Professional Headline can be your current job title (“Project Manager”), your career goal or focus (“Engineering Graduate Student focused on Medical Device R&D) or components of your work  (“Communications Professional | Writer & Editor | Creative Writing Instructor”). More tips from Forbes.

2. A Photo of yourself, in professional attire, is recommended.

3Customize your Public Profile URL for use on business cards, resume and in your email signature.

4. Summary is a 30-second commercial about yourself.  Be sure to include industry related key words.  Check out these prep questions and sample summary examples.

5. Sections can be added (while in edit mode). Consider adding sections such as Projects, Courses, Certifications, Languages, and Volunteering Opportunities.

6. Experience section contains a version of your resume. Use targeted key words and accomplishments.

7. Skills & Endorsements is a very important section to customize since others can “endorse” these skills.

8. Recommendations from past supervisors, co-workers, professors, and others who know you well, enhance your profile.

9. Media Links allow you to upload and/or link to media such as websites, video, and PowerPoints. Review 18 Ways to Turn Your Profile into a Portfolio and this Linkedin blog for more ideas and examples.

10. Visual Header can now be added to your free Linkedin account.  Previously it was only for premium accounts. Want to learn more?  Viveka von Rosen shares details here.

Build Your Network 

Add to your connections. Invite past and current co-workers, classmates, friends and family to connect. Be sure to add these 3 things to your customized invitations: the person’s name, a personal message, and the words “thank you”. For ideas on customizing invites, see this blog from the Muse.

There are four levels of connections: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and group.  A 1st level connection is your direct connection, 2nd is essentially a “friend of a friend,” etc. Focus on your 1st and 2nd levels, as well as groups.  You can reach a “2nd level” connection by getting an “Introduction”. Within LinkedIn, you can contact only people who are linked to you, to one of your connections, or who are in a group with you.

Ask for an Introduction. Ask a 1st level connection to introduce you to one of their connections.  Go to the person’s profile, who you’d like to be able to send a message to.  Hover over their “Inmail” box and select “Get Introduced.” Write a short but very professional note to your 1st level connection, asking him or her if they will forward your message along.  See a sample email on how to request an informational interview in the handouts section here, then change the opening line to reference your 1st level connection’s name.

Add Updates. “Share an Update,” found on your home page, is perfect for publicizing new accomplishments, sharing industry information, or passing along a great blog post.  Your updates will appear on every 1st level connection’s home page in their activity feed.  Review 10 Tips to Amp Up Your Reputation Using Linkedin Updates.

Join groups. You can join up to 50 groups.  Using the top search bar, add in a key word, then choose “Groups” from the menu on the left to find groups in industries, organizations or universities attended.

Job Search

Networking is the most effective job search tool. Increase your chances of finding job leads by conducting a type of networking conversation called an informational interview. Go to sample request for informational interview in the handouts section. These informational meetings can add to your insight about the company, which will help you write a great cover letter and excel in a job interview.  Later on, after doing an informational meeting, you may be able to ask those you have talked with to introduce you to a hiring manager or pass your resume along to the right person.

Go directly into a group to search its members. Once you are in a group, click on the members tab, in the upper right corner.  Now you can search by industry, company and/or location.  If you see a member that interests you, you’ll usually see the phrase “send a message”. Consider crafting a well thought out message asking for an informational interview.  Note, you can send UP TO 15 messages each month, in total via your groups, not per group, but 15 messages to be used across all groups.

Look for Alumni. Go to “Connections” and “Find Alumni” to search for people from your alma mater directly.

Advanced Search.  Click on the “Advanced” button to the right of the search box to locate people in your network who work at companies that you are targeting.  Entering the name of the university you are attending or attended in the past will yield current students and alumni in your search results.

Use Advanced Search coupled with your group memberships to network effectively (and for free).

If you belong to the same group as another individual, you can usually send them a message to request an informational interview (without having to upgrade to Inmail)

  • Use advanced search to identify people of interest (use key words, job title, etc.)
  • On the top you can then filter by “Group” – to show only group connections
  • Identify someone of interest from this new list, open their profile to see which group you have in common (this will work for your 2nd degree connections), then go into that group
  • Once in the group, click on the members tab, and then enter the person’s name in the search box
  • After their name comes up, you will now be able to “send a message” without using Inmail

Search Your Friend’s 1st Level Connections. By going direct to one of your 1st level connections profiles you can do a search by key word on their connections.  Go the person’s profile and scroll all the way down to their list of contacts.  Click on the search button and type in a key word, location, company name, etc.

Search Jobs. While looking at postings, you can also see if you are connected to anyone at the company.

Explore Company pages, they’re a goldmine of information. They include current and former employees, selected job openings and news/updates. Consider “following” the company too.

LinkedIn Resources