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LinkedIn Tips and Traps - Step-by-Step. 1 - Understand how LinkedIn really works

This information is based on experimentation and research -- plus extensive online discussions and private communications with HPAA members.
Comments: info@hpalumni.org   (Oct 18, 2020. Updated Jun 4, 2022.)

Trap: Be sure that your LinkedIn profile shows the correct company for each position. Recruiters watch for what appear to be fake positions.

Tip: You can easily correct LinkedIn's tendency to send unnecessary, annoying emails: https://www.hpalumni.org/LinkedInEmails

Comment from site user: "Your HPAA site is stunningly good about how to use LinkedIn!"

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If you are working -- even if not currently looking for a job -- you need a strong entry on LinkedIn. LinkedIn helps you reconnect with people who know you and your work. Join "HP Connections" on LinkedIn (HPAA membership not required.)

- People you are dealing with inside and outside your current company will look you up -- and expect to find at least a minimal profile of anyone in high-tech.

- LinkedIn helps you reconnect with people who know you and your work -- especially powerful for mature workers.

- Recruiters and hiring managers use LinkedIn to find "passive candidates" -- people who aren't currently looking.

- Some companies are searching their current employees on LinkedIn to find candidates for new positions elsewhere in the company.

LinkedIn works differently than you might think:

- The most common advice about LinkedIn is counterproductive. Unless you change the defaults, LinkedIn exposes too much to identity thieves, spammers, and competitors. (And don't fall for a LinkedIn trick.) Step 2: Account Settings

- You need to be found by recruiters, clerks, and robots who often, understandably, know nothing about technology or the industry. Step 3: Profile

- Check your LinkedIn profile! Profiles were changed without notice. HPE changed many decades-old HP positions to HPE; LinkedIn deleted many employers. Recruiters and hiring managers view entries that don't make sense -- such as HPE employment before Nov 2015 -- as signs of a fake profile. You may wish to emphasize (or de-emphasize) some of your background by breaking out (or merging) separate positions. Step 4: Positions

- You need to avoid letting promoters, scammers, and fakes use your network. Step 5: Networking

- LinkedIn sends you emails you don't want -- and doesn't send you emails you do want. You can easily fix that: Step 6: Emails

Why LinkedIn? Comments from HPAA members:

"Got a call from a recruiter who found me on LinkedIn. Led to a job with higher pay and rewards. My current job description had the primary skill my new employer was looking for. If I didn't have a profile, they wouldn't have found me."  

"Before I meet with someone for the first time, I view their profile for common interests and potential conversation topics. After I've met someone, I connect on LinkedIn."

"I'm diligent about keeping my profile updated -- it attracts inquiries about my consulting work. This often leads to a great contract." 

"We're all in business today. There's very little job security -- and we have to keep up with the network of people we know."


How LinkedIn works:

LinkedIn is very powerful -- but works differently than you might think:

- As with every free online service, you are not the customer -- you are the product. Recruiters pay thousands of dollars per recruiter per year to search for candidates -- they have full access regardless of your privacy settings. You need to carefully manage your LinkedIn activities and your LinkedIn profile. Recruiters can search in three ways: Search demo for recruiters.

- The searching works both ways. You can search LinkedIn to reconnect with people who know you and your work -- or to Very powerful for job-hunting. See LinkedIn's article on how to search for people, jobs, and companies.

- LinkedIn keeps your email address private. Each message you send via LinkedIn -- and each message sent to you by a colleague or recruiter. -- uses a LinkedIn email address based on a random message number unique to that message.

- Much of the advice about using LinkedIn is for those seeking sales leads or promoting a business -- instead of for those looking for a job or building their career. Common advice about flooding LinkedIn with posts to promote your "personal brand" can get you in trouble with LinkedIn -- and will turn off recruiters and hiring managers.

- LinkedIn is a very powerful tool -- but you have to put some effort into it.


The quickest way to strengthen your LinkedIn presence is to follow these steps in order:

1. Check critical LinkedIn account settings so that you receive job leads and requests to connect, have some privacy, and don't drown in emails.

2. Optimize your LinkedIn profile so that recruiters and hiring managers can find you.

3. Optimize your positions so that your profile displays your experience but doesn't look fake -- and so you can be found.

4. Use LinkedIn's networking features to find former co-workers who know you and your work.

5. Get the emails you want LinkedIn sends you emails you don't want -- and doesn't send you emails you do want.


Next step -- Account Settings:  Check your critical LinkedIn account settings

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