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Did you know that over 116 million people use LinkedIn–making it one of the largest social media mediums available today?

The first way to get started on LinkedIn is to setup a personal account. It’s extremely important to setup your account in a business-friendly way.

And that’s the problem many users have: they setup their LinkedIn profile like a Facebook account. Not bad for Facebook, but awful for LinkedIn.

Here’s why: Unlike other social media sites, LinkedIn is specifically geared towards professionals. Not bands, reality TV shows, or political debates. If Facebook is like a playground, LinkedIn is like a trade show. It’s business-oriented.

Here are few basic things to keep in mind:

Step 1: Create an Account

Visit LinkedIn’s homepage.

Step 2: Include your full name an a professional-looking image

In most cases, you shouldn’t include a picture of you and your cat, you at the beach, or you drinking with friends. Staying professional is best.

Step 3: Add Your Work History

At the very least, include your most recent positions. Click: “Add a Position”

Also, take the time to include a description of each position. This will fill out your profile more, and increase your candidacy for a new job, client, or partner.

Step 4: Customize your URL

Note: MarySmithLuvsPuppies87 or BenjaminButtonNumber1Fan are both probably not appropriate. It is often best to simply use some variation of your name. Also, by using your first and last name, you will help people find your profile.

In addition, make sure you do not include your company’s name in the URL. Those things change.

Step 5: Ask for Recommendations

Recommendations are a great way to show your credibility online. Essentially, they function as referrals, as testimonials–but for you–not just your business.

And like they say, to have friends, you must be a friend. Spend a few minutes. Write a few recommendations for people who you would legitimately recommend–and who would recommend you.

Written by: Daniel Griffith on May 23, 2012

Daniel is an Author, Designer, and Entrepreneur. With over 10 years of industry experience, Daniel utilizes his unique blend of mathematics and poetry, engineering and creative thinking to solve both technical and business challenges.

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