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LinkedIn—It Doesn’t Have To Be  A Maze

how to use linkedinNo doubt social media is challenging. It’s challenging for those who do it for a living. It’s continually morphing, reinventing itself to keep people coming back and to add more features and levels of interaction.

In a recent conversation with some folks at LinkedIn we talked about how they continue to build their platform to provide greater interaction and engagement but they are also building it for smart people who are hardwired for technology like themselves and that the rest of the world, the overwhelming majority of baby boomers, are stuck somewhere in the third quarter of 2010.

Laugh, scoff, go ahead. It’s true though. I see it everyday and every time a CEO or VP of Sales or Marketing tells me, ever so sheepishly, how far behind their team is, I level with them.

Ninety percent of the people I coach and train on LinkedIn fall into that category. It’s ok. No one has trained them, no one has shown them how to use 21st century tools.

So how do you suddenly learn how to use LinkedIn now that your CEO, VP or manager has decided you should?  Or worse, now that you need a new job? How do you begin and do it correctly?

Consider these 5 points, they should help provide direction.

1. Be open-minded. Set aside your bias and commit to being frustrated and coachable at the same time.

2. Carve out dedicated time to build your profile (experienced professionals with 10+ years of experience plan on between 4-6 hours) and then 30 minutes, 3 times a week (minimally 3, preferably 5).

3. Determine your strategy (why and how are you going to use LinkedIn) and best practices (who are you going to connect with.) We have a 4 part strategy that works well.

4. See how others you know are using LinkedIn, review their profiles and types of activities, watch and listen, then act.

5. Take a class, engage a trainer. They will help you get to where you want to do faster. They are keeping up with the changes and nuances so you don’t have to. They understand where you are and where to go. They provide resources that help you manage the overwhelming.

Being overwhelmed is not a good enough reason not to join LinkedIn and learn it. Today, almost everything we do is overwhelming. The choices are too great. Examine the upside and decide how you learn best and then move forward. Your professional relevancy depends on it.

Remember, you are not alone. Everyone is navigating new territory. It’s ok. Just commit to starting and moving forward, you may be surprised by what happens.


This post was originally published on Intero Advisory’s website in September 2012. Please note that LinkedIn is constantly changing. While it’s current now it may not be in the coming weeks or months.

Have a LinkedIn success story? We are collecting great stories to share with others, no worries, you can be anonymous if you like.