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A free online network for professional networking with more than 300 million members in over 200 countries and 170 industries. LinkedIn membership increases by 2 members per second. Unlike Facebook, which is used to connect with people you know, LinkedIn is a powerful tool for finding and reaching people you’d like to meet. Go to LinkedIn.
Everything in your LinkedIn profile can be edited and customized. Use this Visual LinkedIn Profile Checklist, and follow these 10 tips:
Add to your connections. Invite past and current coworkers, classmates, friends and family to connect with you. Invite only those people that you know, using these connections as a starting point. Be sure to add these three things to your customized invitations: the person’s name, a personal message, and the words “thank you”. The benefit of building your network is that it increases the number of professionals you can contact. 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.
There are four levels of connections: first, second, and third degree, as well as group. A first level connection is your direct connection with someone. Second is essentially a “friend of a friend.” A third degree connection is essentially a “friend of a friend of a friend.” We recommend that you focus on your first and second levels, as well as groups. Reaching a second degree contact is done by requesting an email introduction from your intermediary contacts, or via a group you share in common.
Ask for an Introduction. You can ask a first level connection to introduce you to one of their connections. Go to the person’s profile that you would like to message. Hover over the “Inmail” box to see the drop down menu. Select “Get Introduced”. Write a note to your first level connection, asking him or her if they will forward your note along. Make this a very professional and polite message, since it will be forwarded to the other person. Use the example here, and modify the beginning to reference the name of your first level connection.
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 your 1st level connection’s home pages in their activity feed. For ideas on what to post, review “10 Tips to Amp Up Your Reputation Using LinkedIn Updates.
Join groups. Expand your network by joining groups; you can join up to 50. Using the top search bar, add in a key word, and then choose “Groups” from the menu on the left. Search for groups related to career fields, target cities, professional organizations, current/past employers, or colleges and universities you have attended. We invite you to join our group, Northeastern University Career Development.
Networking is the most effective job search tool. You can greatly increase your chances of finding job leads or even securing an interview by conducting a type of networking conversation called an informational interview. These informational meetings add to your insight about the company, which will help you write a great cover letter and excel in a job interview. You may later be able to ask those you have interviewed to introduce you to a hiring manager or forward your resume to the right person. (For more details, see the Informational Interviewing page.)
Check out who’s on LinkedIn. 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 Northeastern University or other universities you have attended in the past will yield current students and alumni in your search results. You can also go to “Connections” and “Find Alumni” to search for people from your alma mater directly.
Use your group memberships to network effectively (for free).
Go directly into a group to search its members. After you are in a group, click on the Members tab. Now you can search by industry key word, job title and/or location. You can scroll through the first 100 profiles with a free LinkedIn account. If you see a member that interests you, you’ll see the phrase “send a message.” When you do not know someone, it is better to “Send a message” rather than ask them to connect with you.
Company pages are a goldmine of information. They include current and former employees, career path, company activity/news, and selected job openings. Use the “Follow Company” option on the company’s page to have their updates appear on your LinkedIn home page.
Search Jobs that are posted directly to LinkedIn by employers. To search specifically for entry level jobs, select “Advanced search”, “More options” and then “Experience Level”.
The purpose of an informational interview is to ask for advice and information, not ask for a job. Useful topics are:
Possible questions to ask: Can you tell me about your career path? Can you describe a typical work day? What are your biggest challenges? What do you enjoy most? What can you suggest to someone starting in this field? Are there any professional organizations I should consider? Is there anyone else that you might recommend I speak with?
Follow up after the meeting. Send a thank you note (in the mail, or via email), to reiterate what you learned and to thank the person for taking the time to talk with you. If a position should open up at the company, get back in touch with that person and ask if you can talk about the opening. He or she might even forward your resume on your behalf to HR or the hiring manager.