Most people will find LinkedIn very confusing upon first joining. Its various unique features such as connections, groups, and ‘people who have viewed your profile’ will baffle many newcomers. This acts as a large barrier into the community, and for something seen as so necessary in the 21st-century job market and professional sphere, is something that needs addressing.
I, like most, made a LinkedIn profile years ago, only to forget about it. It’s only been in the last year that I rediscovered it and did some much-needed ‘renovation’. I had to learn all about how LinkedIn works in that time. Hence, despite not being an expert, here is some advice which I would have greatly appreciated when starting.
People can see when you look at their profile.
Just as you can see when someone looks at your profile, so too can others see when you look them up. However, you can change your LinkedIn settings to alter what they get notified. By default, it will come up with your name and profile, after viewing someone else’s. But if you go into your privacy settings and scroll down to “profile viewing options”, it gives you the option of altering what other’s see of you — with the option to stay completely anonymous, or to only give out the company you work for (usually saying “ Employee of Company Name has viewed your profile”).
People are told when you change something on your profile.
LinkedIn has the feature of telling all your connections when you make changes to your profile. This is useful if you’ve just got a new job, as it automatically informs all your connections. However, if you’re just doing some maintenance or adding old job positions to your profile, you don’t want everyone to be told. Luckily when viewing your own profile there is a switch to turn this off on the right side, under “notify your network?”. This allows you to make all the changes you want to your profile with no one finding out.
You can showcase your work on your profile.
This is especially useful for writers and designers, as LinkedIn can act as an online portfolio of your work. Under any job listing on your profile is the option to “Add Media”; this can be an article you’ve written, some graphic design you’ve done, or a even a video you’ve produced. With the option to upload documents, images, videos, links, and presentations, you can feature all manner of work on your profile, both showing you are “legit” but also allowing you to stand out from the crowd.
Become a member of loads of groups.
LinkedIn has many public-run communities, called groups, ranging from alumni groups to Religous groups to groups of Sci-Fi Film Makers. These groups allow you to meet like-minded people, people who work in the same industry as you, and people who live in the same city. Hence they are excellent for networking, and also allows others to more easily find your profile, based off the groups you are part of. You can discover groups under the interests tab at the top, or by using the search bar and filtering for groups only.
Customise the emails you get from LinkedIn.
If you are new to LinkedIn you will find that you get loads of emails concerning things that maybe shouldn’t be cluttering your mailbox up. Luckily in settings, under communications, you can changes the emails you receive by clicking on ‘email frequency’. This gives you the option to fully customise the exact emails you will receive, with even more options under the ‘details’ drop-down menu next to each category.