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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 Aug 26, 2022.)
 

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

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Update and strengthen your LinkedIn profile. Even if not currently looking, you need a strong, credible profile on LinkedIn. People check you out before working with you. Recruiters run searches for particular skills and background. In addition, LinkedIn helps you reconnect with people who know you and your work.

Check your profile. LinkedIn has been standardizing company names, with odd results. Recruiters view illogical entries -- such as HPE positions before 2015 -- as fake. (HPE changed many decades-old HP positions to display the HPE name and logo.) Watch for typos, like "principle engineer." You may wish to emphasize (or de-emphasize) some of your experience and background.

- 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

- During the HP breakup, HPE changed many decades-old HP positions to display the HPE name and logo. LinkedIn has been standardizing company names, with odd results. Recruiters view illogical entries -- such as HPE positions before 2015 -- as fake. You may wish to emphasize (or de-emphasize) some of your background. 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

Job posts on LinkedIn. To see job openings shared by other HP alumni -- and post opportunities at your current employer: Join the "HP Connections" group on LinkedIn (Operated by HPAA, but HPAA membership not required.) 


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


If formerly a regular, direct U.S. employee of HP or HPE -- or are in the process of leaving -- join the HP Alumni Association. No charge, thanks to HPAA's Supporting Members.


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