Using LinkedIn – Steve’s Take, Part 2


And let’s get back to ways to use LinkedIn.

As noted last time, I treat LinkedIn as a software suite. it’s a series of tools that share data and perform various tasks. We covered the resume-adjacent elements and the way it can be a portal on the web. Now let’s dig deeper . . .

LinkedIn Function #3: The Job Search Tool

Writing about how LinkedIn is a job search tool is like saying water is wet, wrestling is fixed, and the next Star Wars film may get some viewers. It’s known, it’s obvious.

It’s just that until you look at it you don’t see what kind of tool it is.

LinkedIn is not going to have the broadness of some sites like Indeed or the specificity of say, a Dice. But what it provides is a solid job search tool companies use – and I’ve found more and more are using it over time. At this rate any job search not using LinkedIn is probably incomplete, at least for most professionals.

The job search tools also connect to other LinkedIn services. There’s a company profile for most companies seeking employees. You can check out how you’re connected to the recruiter. The job search options tie into everything else on the site.

So here’s how you use it:

FIll Out That Profile – No, really, do. I know I’ve emphasized it, but again, get it right.  You there’s a lot of power in it for recruiters, but also because . .

Many LinkedIn Job Posts Use The Profile – Which is an incredible time-saver. One reason to use LinkedIn is the profile/search synergy just saves time. Take advantage of this (but always send a full resume if possible).

Personal Story – When I was doing a job search, I realized how much time this could save, especially as text-processing job search sites still often make mistakes. I got a lot more done once I realized this.

Make You Profile Searchable – More and more lLinkedIn is used by people to recruit others. You should make sure your profile is up to date because people are looking for you and a good profile makes it easier.

A Research Tool – Got an interview? Look up the person on LinkedIn. You can see if you have any connections to them, learn more about them, and do a better interview.

Personal Story – Several times I’ve been able to carry on better interviews as I got to know the person before I knew the person. It definitely made a difference in my interview – and made it easier on the interviewer.

Post Announcements – Looking for a job? Let people know. Much as you should tell everyone so they an help you, announcing your openness on LinkedIn may get people to rally and help you out, especially if you cultivated a community.

Oh, and on that subject.

Linked In Function #4: The Social Media Tool

LinkedIn is a social media tool used by people for business and career reasons. It has ways to post, to communicate, to link up, and so on. To maximize the benefit of it, you have to remember it is both a social media tool and a business tool.

Here’s what you do.

Network, Network, Network – LinkedIn is, obviously a networking tool. You can bring people into your network, see statuses, have information on them, and so on. Add everyone relevant to your career that you can as that is just more resources for them and you to call on. Like any social media tool, the more you put into it, the more you get out of it.

Recommend, Recommend, Recommend – LinkedIn is a tool to let you leave references for people and receive them. People do pay attention to the recommendations, so ask for them but also give them. Remember these go on your profile – which is used for other purposes.

Personal Story – Several times when I’ve given or gotten a recommendation it’s resulted in a cascade of recommendations for people. If you keep it up, the recommendations pile up.

Join Up – LinkedIn provides any numbers of groups for you to join if you’re so inclined – or you can create your own. Some of these communities get very active, so be sure to take time to visit them and check them out – and when you’re part of a group with others you can send them invitations to your network!

Have A Plan – However as we all know social media can go a bit nuts. Approach these requests and connections and communities with a goal in mind – otherwise you’ll get lost.

LinkedIn Function #5: The Research Tool

LinkedIn has a lot of data, a lot of information, a lot of ways to get it. That means it’s also a research tool for you to use. Think of all that data sitting out there – and you’re given access to it.

The amount of data you can get out of LinkedIn is actually kind of amazing. Depending on what you need you can find all sorts of things. What kinds and what can you do with it?  Glad you asked . . .

Company Research – LinkedIn keeps profiles of a lot of companies, so you can quickly heck them to get some details and do some research. It’s not, say, Glassdoor, but it’s convenient – and tells you about jobs there and connections you may have.

Check Your Stats – LinkedIn gives you a quick blurb on how people found you on the site. So, pay attention to that – and you can get even more at

Download Data – Did you now you can download your connections in various formats? Yep, you just go to your connections and select the right option. This lets you analyze your own connections or get useful data.  Just go to your connections page, click on the “gear” icon, and you’ll have a variety of options – including one to export connections.

Personal Story – I do this regularly, to both back up my contacts, but to also find people I can ask for assistance in my projects.

Sonar Search – LinkedIn’s job search tool is easy, simple, yet surprisingly deep. You can also try doing a job search just to see what the market is like. Since the information in LinkedIn has is all tied together, a single search can reveal a wealth of information.

LinkedIn will probably keep adding new features, so pay attention.

Linked In Function #6: Alert Systems

LinkedIn is also a way to keep on top of various events and happenings So much data flows through linked in, so many people are giving updates, it’s a constant flow of information. Pay attention and you can find out a lot.

What should you look for?

Company Activity – You can actually decide to “watch” a company and get announcements about job postings and the link. So, go do that if you’re stuck on a few particular employers or want to keep up on them.

Personal Activity – When people in your network change jobs, have a work anniversary, etc. you can be alerted. THis lets you follow up, maintain contact, or just be reminded they’re there. It helps me keep up with people.

Personal Story – I use this a lot. It lets me check in on people, be appropriately social, and remember when I need to leave a reference or ask for one.

Check The Pulse – LinkedIn’s experiment in news services, you can keep up with cultivated content from “influencers.” Not my cup of tea, but it may be something you’re interested in -and who knows what’ll come up next.

There’s a lot of data there. Use it!

Use The Tool Wisely

So LinkedIn is a tool and a powerful one. But I want to end with a few bits of advice on using it better – and in manners less likely to cause problems.

We Can See This: Your profile is public and connected to your name. Don’ do anything to embarrass yourself, have a good personal photo, and be thoughtful.

You Get Out Of It What You Put Into It: LinkedIn is not a magical solution, it’s a tool. The more you put into it the more you can get out of it. Maybe you just don’t have time – that’s fine – but be aware.

It Can Be Overwhelming: LinkedIn offers so much it’s almost too much. Use what you need, try other things out, but decide just what you can do and need to do.

Everyone Does It: Yes, everyone does have a LinkedIn profile, so just having a decent one is almost expected. It’s important to be aware of this as it could go from “sort of expected” to “why don’t you have one?” – and I think we’re close.

Using It Is A Skill: YOu have to practice on LinkedIn and keep up on it to use it right. It may be a good idea to set aside a block of time to get good at it.

Forward To Well-Organized Adventure

I wish you well in your use of LinkedIn. Be sure to let me know of any ideas, tips, and advice I can share.


– Steven Savage

Using LinkedIn – Steve’s Take, Part 1


Let’s talk LinkedIn.

Of course by “Talk LinkedIn” I should note I want to talk about how to actually use it in a way that’s useful.  There’s a lot of LinkedIn 101 advice out there to the point where the advanced stuff – and the useful stuff – gets kind of lost.  I want to give you ideas about really getting things done and going farther.

And to do that?  We have to ask what LinkedIn IS in the first place.

What LinkedIn Is (What Did You Expect)

I’ve heard people say LinkedIn is a resume, or a community, or Facebook for careerists, or whatever.  Metaphors are important as they give you an idea of how to approach a tool.  So we need a metaphor for what LinkedIn is.

It’s a software suite.

LinkedIn is is a series of career tools that are linked together.  It’s a software suite for your job, providing a variety of tools that work together in a assorted ways – and often sharing the same data.

Now that that metaphor in mind, let’s look at the different things the suite does and how you can put them to use.

LinkedIn Function #1: A Resume Partner

First up, LinkedIn is not a substitute for you resume.  Yes, there’s often the dream it will be, but it’s not there yet and I doubt it ever will be.  Resumes and LinkedIn have different goals:

  • Resumes are personal narratives, that can come in many formats, may be customized for various goals, and provide a chance for personal expression.
  • LinkedIn provides a single, very complete format to put a lot of career data in searchable form, online, in one spot.  It is quite literally a profile and is bounded by the styles and structure of LinkedIn’s design.

LinkedIn is best thought of as a parter to your resume and your resume process.  They can reflect each other and support each other, but they’re not replacements for each other.

Here’s what you can do:

Use LinkedIn as a Guide – LinkedIn’s profile requires you to fill out an enormous amount of questions.  These can give you ideas of what may go in your resume.  As LinkedIn adds more categories, you may get more ideas of what should or shouldn’t go in your resume.

Personal Story: Many times when people were recommending me they’d also mention skills I never thought of including on my resume.  I also never thought of listing my work in museums until LinkedIn asked me about my non-job work – and that comes up in interviews.

Use It As A Warehouse – Not everything relevant to your career is going to go on your resume.  However LinkedIN has room for everything, from languages to your complete employment history.  Take advantage of that – both to keep records, but also as you have a place to show things off that aren’t on your resume.

Personal Story: When you’ve been a career as long as I have you don’t list everything on your resume.  Between LinkedIn and my own records I can pretty much show anyone where I worked for nearly 20 years.  It also gives a far more detailed history than I could include in a regular resume.

Fill It Out.  Fill It All Out – LinkedIn Will encourage you to fill out your profile completely and that’s important because they not only have space for everything.  You never know what people will find important, but the folks at LinkedIn have given it some thought.

Personal Story: I’d never considered putting my publications on my resume until I saw entries at LinkedIn and realized even tangentially related works are important to your career.

Use LinkedIn To Build A Resume – Now again I don’t think one is the replacement for another.  But there’s actually a tool to turn your profile into a resume, ad that may be a good place to start in making your own.

Save Time In The Job Search Process – More and more job search websites let you upload your LinkedIN profile instead of just a resume.  Because the LinkedIn profiles are easier to get data from, it’s a more effective, less error-prone – and thus less time-consuming process.  Get the profile right so you can take advantage of this.

LinkedIn’s Profiles work in tandem with your resume and your career image to make both better.

LinkedIn Function #2: An Outpost on the Web

Everyone needs a place to hang their metaphorical hat on the web.  Many people get personal websites – but that’s not for everyone.  Not everyone has the time or inclination to run one – or need one.

When it comes to having a single place people can go to get the “career you,” LinkedIn has you covered.

A Custom URL: If you want, LinkedIn can provide you a custom URL that people can use to easily access your profile.  For some people just having that on your resume and business cards may be all you need – or it’s a great thing to have while you struggle with HTML.  Just edit your profile and  you can edit the URL!

A Substitute Landing Page: But maybe you don’t want to use your LinkedIn URL as your “main” page – but you also haven’t build one.  SImply you can buy a domain than redirect it to your linkedin profile.  YOu’ve just made your profile your home page  Besides you can always redirect the URL later.

A Portfolio: Portfolios matter to many people, not just visual artists.  Documents, presentations, writing samples, graphs, and more may be useful to show off your skills.  LinkedIn actually provides you various Portfolio tools you can use to fill it out –

A Routing Station: Your LinkedIn profile is a place where you can link to other blogs websites, and projects.  FIll this in because that way people can easily find them and evaluate what you do.  In fact . . .

Personal Story: I put all my sites on my LinkedIn profile to show the breadth of what I do.  It might also result in some book sales if I’m lucky.

A Place To Link Back To: Make sure your other websites, projects, and portfolios point back to LinkedIn.  This forms a set of relations among your online presences so people can keep finding out more about you.

Personal Story: I actually put my LinkedIn profile in as many social media profiles as possible because it’s such a useful and popular site.

A Social Media Aggregator: You can have your blog entries and social media appear in you LinkedIn feed.  Now you’ll want to be careful with that, but as long as you’re conscious of it, then you make it easier for people visiting LinkedIn to see you and know you.

Until Next Time

So that’s my roundup of tips for now!  Tune in Next week as we explore some more.


– Steven Savage

How To Get a Recommendation Cascade on LinkedIn

I’m a LinkedIn junkie, as you well know, so the fact I’m writing on it probably won’t surprise you.  But as always, I’m finding some new way to use it which I want to share.

What I want to share is what I call the LinkedIn Recommendation Cascade.

You want LinkedIn References.  You want your skills and expertise endorsed.  The best way to do that is to recommend others – which you have been doing regularly, right?  Recommend them for what they’re good at, they’ll do the same.

Assuming you haven’t been tapping into the collective LinkedIn wisdom out there, here’s what you do.

  1. Make sure you’re on LinkedIn.  If you’re not, then I am ashamed of you and you bring dishonor to the legion of people who can have in-depth analysis of Jungian symbolism in Naruto.
  2. Make sure your profile is complete, and the “Skills and Experience” section is very important.  List your skills and experience honestly, but be sure to be complete about it (they give you a lot of space).
  3. Make sure you’re linking up with people you’ve worked with.  I figure you’ve been doing this before, but I’ll encourage you.
  4. Make sure you give out as many recommendations as reasonable and as deserved to people.  I also go out of my way to do it 3-6 months after I start working with people.
  5. Make sure that you ALSO endorse people’s skills – a relatively recent feature added to LinkedIn.  you can endorse people for skills on their profile, and LinkedIn will often ‘bug” you to endorse people.  So go for it!

When you do this, other people will return the favor to you.  In fact, if someone owes you a recommendation, recommending them is not only appropriate, it’s a nice, socially acceptable nudge.

I’m finding that the Skills and Experience recommendations are becoming a big thing on LinkedIn since they’re so easy to do.  Make sure that you use those for those who deserve the recommendation, because it’s more specific and easier for people to return the favor.

Give it a try on your LinkedIn Profile.  Which is all set and up to date . . .

. . . right?

– Steven Savage

Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach.  He blogs on careers at, nerd and geek culture at, and does a site of creative tools at He can be reached at