How to Use LinkedIn to Market
Yourself and Your Company
Glossary of Key LinkedIn Terms
You are the center of your LinkedIn "network," which has several
concentric circles around you.
"Connection" usually refers to a 1st level relationship you have with
someone in your LinkedIn network.
"Introductions" are requests to LinkedIn members to communicate with
other members to whom you do not have direct connections (because
they are not among your 1st level connections). LinkedIn members are
limited in the amount of introductions they can have pending at one
time. Introductions take place within your network (1st, 2nd and 3rd
"InMail" refers to LinkedIn messages that sponsored (paid) LinkedIn
members can send to anyone on LinkedIn who accepts them. Each level
of membership has a corresponding number of InMails granted per
month, so these are paid messages. Keep in mind that the sender does
not have the contact information of the recipient; LinkedIn is the liaison.
If you receive an InMail, you can do 3 things: respond and open a
conversation with the sender; reject it; reject any future InMails from
that person. You can also refuse to accept InMails entirely, thereby
restricting communications and opportunities to your network (1st, 2nd
and 3rd degrees).
One of your connections who forwards your request to contact one of
your 2nd or 3rd degree contacts. The forwarder also sometimes writes a
Forwarder short note to one of his/her connections (whom you don't know) to
request the passage of your introduction request to the 3rd degree
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The Different Network Levels and How They Work
There are four "views" relevant to LinkedIn, which I've arranged here in the order of
most visibility (from using LinkedIn) to least:
1. Your network, including 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree (this is the violet circle with the
blue, green and orange contacts).
2. The LinkedIn network (this is the gray circle with the gold contacts).
3. The non-LinkedIn network (Google, the Internet); not shown.
4. The non-networked network/not on the Internet (the least visibility); not shown.
You can directly communicate with people who are connections
("1st degree"), but you can see certain information about people
who are in your network's network ("2nd degree") and your
network's network's network ("3rd degree"). For example:
• Your 1st degree contacts are your Connections—in
LinkedIn terms, your strongest ties.
• When you want to communicate with a person connected
to one of your connections (2nd degree, to you), you must
request an introduction from your 1st degree person,
who forwards your communication (s/he is the
"Forwarder"). If Barbara is the 2nd degree person I want
to reach, and I'm connected to her through Boris, I write Barbara a note stating
why I'd like to connect with her and a note to Boris in which I request an
introduction to Barbara. Boris reads both and can choose to forward my note to
Barbara or not.
• The same process, with another link, accesses 3rd degree people. Here, I write a
note to Robert (3rd degree) stating why I'd like to connect with him as well as an
introduction request to Boris (1st), and Boris writes a note to the 2nd degree
person (Cathy) whom he and Robert have in common. Cathy then views the
notes and passes my note to Robert (or not). In this case, I can't see Cathy
because I don't know her (she's in Boris's network, not mine). She will often
write a short cover note as well.
• Note that several people see your communications and requests, so take this into
account when writing them. Scott Allen's Linked Intelligence is loaded with
helpful examples (see "Other LinkedIn Resources" below).
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The strength of the network is trust, trust, trust. Someone you know is always goin to
be much more responsive to your requests. Also, if you help others, they tend to
reciprocate. Here are the numbers of my network, as of writing:
• 1st degree: 734 - 2nd degree: 924,900 - 3rd degree: 5,445,200
• That means I can communicate with over 5,445,200 people, out of the
9,000,000 LinkedIn members.
The LinkedIn Network
Outside your 3rd degree network is the LinkedIn network, but you can only see it or
communicate with it if you upgrade your membership.
As a "Business" member you may send three "InMails" per month, thereby contacting
up to three people from the LinkedIn network to whom you are not connected with
already. InMails go directly from you to someone you have not yet met before. So, I
can send someone an InMail and, if they respond, you are able to communicate with
one another. As an additional step, you could decide to connect, then they would be a
1st degree connection. When you receive an InMail, you may refuse it, block them
from ever contacting you again, or respond. This is an important safeguard against
You can invite people who are not members to join LinkedIn. The value of the LinkedIn
network increases by the more people that are a part of it.
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Using LinkedIn to Enhance Your Employment
What do companies like Glam Media, Ebay, Netflix, and Disney have in common? All
these companies (and many, many more) have used LinkedIn to recruit candidates for
"The main reason that companies are using LinkedIn is to find passive job candidates.
Another reason why companies are using LinkedIn, is because referrals from their
employees are highly valued because they typically have a higher success rate LinkedIn
helps companies leverage the networks of their employees."
-Kay Luo, Director of Corporate Communications at LinkedIn
How Employers Use LinkedIn
Recruiters search LinkedIn's database of information for people with relevant skills sets
and experience pertaining to the client company’s existing requirements. This is a
typical recruiter’s go-to site when first sourcing for a position.
It's also important to note that LinkedIn has reached a point where it's almost
unprofessional not to be on LinkedIn. There are members from all 500 of the Fortune
500 companies. LinkedIn members comprise 130 different industries, and include
Take a little while to search around on LinkedIn and I'm sure you'll find lots of contacts
from your friends, current and prior employers, clients, and vendors. All those contacts
have the potential to help you grow your career or find a new job. In addition, it can be
a good source of employment references, as well as reference checking.
You can search the Jobs section of linked in by keyword and location or used the
Advanced Search option to search by more specific criteria. This is a great function
because you can see who the hiring manager is and how you are connected to them.
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How to Use LinkedIn
In Guy Kawasaki's “Ten Ways to Use Linked In”, he provides good insight into how to
increase the value of LinkedIn.
-“Increasing your visibility, because by adding connections, you increase the
likelihood that people will see your profile first when they're searching for
someone to hire or do business with."
-"People with more than twenty connections are thirty-four times more likely to
be approached with a job opportunity than people with less than five."
How to Use LinkedIn to Find a Job - Or Have a Job Find You
• Create a Profile. Create a detailed profile on LinkedIn, including employment (current
and past), education, industry, and web sites. Put any accolades, awards, skills, or
features that set you apart from the rest of the pack in your profile. And remember to
use key words!!
• Consider a Photo or a Logo. You can add a photo (a headshot is recommended or
upload a larger photo and edit it) to your LinkedIn profile.
• Build Your Network. Connect with other members and build your network. The more
connections you have, the more opportunities you will have.
• Get Recommendations. Recommendations from people you have worked with and
know personally carry a lot of weight. See the section on recommendations in this
• Search Jobs. Use the job search section to find job listings in your area or far away.
• Use Answers. The Answers section of LinkedIn is a good way to increase your
visibility. Respond to questions, and ask a question if you need information or
assistance. By answering a lot of questions you can be listed as a specialist on
• Stay Connected. Use LinkedIn Mobile (m.linkedin.com) to view profiles, invite new
connections, and access to LinkedIn Answers from your phone.
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10 Etiquette Tips for LinkedIn
Here are ten tips for establishing yourself as a trustable and well-mannered online
networker, when using LinkedIn:
1) Create a user-friendly profile. Your LinkedIn profile is your virtual business card.
Make sure that it represents you the way you want to be viewed by the world. Take a
few minutes to fill in the gaps.
2) Invite true friends - or at least, true acquaintances