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Build Your Professional Profile & Network: LinkedIn

Tools and resources for building your professional profile online.

About LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking service.  LinkedIn is a place where relationships matter. It is about who you know, as well as what you know. Developing your LinkedIn profile provides opportunites for reaching out to colleagues with similar interest, as well as promoting yourself.

LinkedIn is about connections and developing your network.

  • What is LinkedIn?
    Short video explaining why you should have a LinkedIn account. (1.54 minutes)

Use this tool to . . .

  • develop your profile
  • build your network
  • follow companies
  • indicate your professional interests
  • find a job
  • cite honors and awards you have received
  • link to publications, presentations, projects, websites, blogs, etc.
  • give and receive endorsement for skills

How this tool works!

There are two ways to get started with LinkedIn: by invitation or joining without an invitation. Signing up and maintaining a basic account for LinkedIn is free.

By invitation
You receive an email from a friend inviting you to join LinkedIn. Click the button or link from your invitation email; verify your name and email address and create a password. Click the Join <Name's> Network button and proceed to fill in requested information. You are then asked to click the Create My Profile button to start building your profile.

Without an invitation
Go to In the Get Started section in the middle of the page enter your name, email, and a password; click the Join Now button and fill in the requested information. Next click the Create My Profile button to start building your profile.

Building Your Profile
Your profile provides an overview of your background, qualifications and skills. As you build your profile, you will be asked about the following:

  • Contact settings
    • essentially how do you plan to use LinkedIn.There are eight options to chose from, so select the one that is the best fit for you.
  • Summary and basic information
    • this section should be informed by your goals, and could be thought of as your 30-second "elevator speech."
    • your summary should be concise, include three to five accomplishments, and list your skills
  • Add a position
    • this includes your current and past positions
    • use your resume or CV when completing this section
  • Education
    • start with high school and move forward: undergraduate, graduate, certification courses, etc.
  • Contact and additional information
    • provide information about your websites, Twitter, interests, groups and associations
  • Review profile and share with public
    • review your profile and view it as others will see it
    • publish your public profile link

Endorse skills: support colleagues by endorsing their skills.

Search for others like you: from the search box at the top of the page, select People or Groups, to begin a search for others with the same interests and skills as yourself. Or use the Interests pull-down menu to search for Companies, Groups, Pulse (influencers) or Education. Each page provides various options for connecting to others.

Research Companies: use the search box at the top of the page and type the name of the company. Click on the company name to view information about the company - such as a short company description, specialities, website, headquarter's address, industry, company size, company type, and when founded. A box on the right indicates how you are connected to the company. (This is determined by first and second degree connections.)

Advantages and Disadvantages


  • connecting to professionals in your field
  • connecting to interest groups in your field
  • receiving email alerts for jobs
  • conducting company research
  • letting companies find you
  • getting and giving recommendations
  • Help Center is available


  • takes time to create a good profile
  • takes time to update profile
  • lots of requests to connect and "add me to your network"
  • limited interactivity
  • must be logged in to view a full profile
  • premium account costs $30/month and includes
    • Job Seeker
    • Sales Navigator
    • Recruiter Lite
    • Buisness Plus

Miscellaneous Notes

Network Connections

  • First-degree connections - people you know personally
  • Second-degree connections - friends of your friends
  • Third-degree connections - friends of your friends of your friends

Most of your connections will be of the first-degree kind.

This kind of network can help you advance your career or professional goals. In turn, your can can advance others's careers or goals.

Anyone 13 years of age or older can create an account.

You can only have one active account.

Profile -
contact settings

  • career opportunities
  • expertise requests
  • consulting offers
  • business deals
  • new ventures
  • personal reference requests
  • job inquries
  • requests to reconnect

There is a premium account with additional functions that does cost.

  • Job Seeker
  • Business Plus
  • Executive

Navigating LinkedIn

  • Top navigation bar includes
    • Home
    • Profile
    • Network
    • Jobs
    • Interests
    • Business Services
  • Top right of screen
    • Inbox - incoming messages and invitations
    • Notifications - new actions
    • Add Connections
    • Account & Settings