Is Linkedin Overwhelming?

February 26th, 2009 | by Jason Alba |

I just spent the last two days in 5.5 hour presentations with Jim Browning, who is a LinkedIn expert in Atlanta.  Jim does a lot of Linkedin training and consulting in Atlanta and surrounding areas.  I was excited to finally meet Jim in person, as we’ve bumped into one another on various Yahoo Groups, and he signed up for a premium JibberJobber lifetime account (I was very impressed that he did that, since he’s not in a job search… tells me that Jim GETS relationship management and career management!).

Jim’s presentation is about 2 1/2 hours long, and I was excited to finally see another LinkedIn trainer do his thing, instead of me always doing it (I wanted to know what they talk about, and learn from them!).

By the end of Jim’s presentation, I was tired.  Overwhelmed.  I’m glad I knew something about LinkedIn, because if this was my first introduction I think I’d feel the weight of the world.

Where do you start?

When does it end?

What do you have to do regularly on LinkedIn???

So much to learn.  And then there’s stuff you are supposed to do.  Geesh.

I know what I think is important.  I also know what I think is critical, allowing you to have a “two minute LinkedIn strategy,” as opposed to having a strategy which takes a ton of time.

But let me throw it to you – what do YOU think is important?  Where do YOU start on LinkedIn?  What do you do regularly?  And what is not important to you?

  1. 15 Responses to “Is Linkedin Overwhelming?”

  2. By Daria Steigman on Feb 26, 2009 | Reply

    Hi Jason,

    Terrific post, because with a few short paragraphs you left me with that hmm moment. I think the challenge with LinkedIn is to understand the basics before getting distracted by all the shiny tools.

    My LinkedIn basics:

    a) Reading my network updates to keep track of everyone I know. It’s not only a good way to know who’s changed jobs or added contacts, but it’s also a way to find out about new LinkedIn groups I might want to explore.

    b) Updating my status, often by posing a question from a blog post or something else that hopefully offers value.

    c) Inviting interesting people I connect with both online or off to join my network.

    I also use LinkedIn Answers to crowdsource ideas for my business column and to identify potential interviewees. More recently, I’ve also started asking colleagues and clients for recommendations. And it’s on my to-do list to focus on that most basic item of all: tweaking my profile.

    On second thought, maybe LinkedIn is overwhelming!


  3. By Sophie Lagace on Feb 26, 2009 | Reply

    An excellent question which I was just pondering myself, since I’m supposed to give an introduction to LinkedIn as a brownbag presentation here in a few weeks!

  4. By Grandpa Guy on Feb 26, 2009 | Reply

    Since active job searching is not highest on my priority list (this week), my daily LinkedIn activity is limited to these:

    1) Check connection updates for people I know
    2) Respond to connection requests
    3) Read a couple of group and news updates
    4) Write a brief note to a connection I haven’t heard from in a while
    5) Think about writing or requesting a recommendation
    6) All that other stuff, update status, books I’ve read, review my profile …

    This could be overwhelming, but it is easily worth 5-10 minutes each day.


  5. By Dianna Huff on Feb 26, 2009 | Reply

    I now participate in a LinkedIn group I started. I find this of great use of my time — I get to network with a bunch of like-minded people, discuss a topic of interest, and actually learn something to boot.

    I think Groups are the best part of LinkedIn — and the most under-utilized.

  6. By Walter Feigenson on Feb 27, 2009 | Reply

    For people who want to use LinkedIn to be found (e.g. for a job search), there are things even more important the connections most people focus on. This comment focuses on people who are starting out.

    1. Get a great, simple “Professional Headline” – and as you point out, Jason, it shouldn’t be your job title, but what you *do*. I think it should be short enough to put on your business card. Mine: I help people get found on the Internet.

    2. Upload a good picture. When you’re out networking and meet somebody, they’re MUCH more likely to remember you if they can match your name with your face.

    3. Complete a good background section. It should be complete and include all the keywords you need to be found by those 500,000 recruiters on LinkedIn.

    4. As you’re linking with people, try to find at least one or two people who are massively linked so you can expand your network quickly.

    5. Join appropriate groups so you can InMail people without becoming a premium member.

    6. Put your LinkedIn address on your business cards and in your email sig.

    While LI can be overwhelming, you don’t have to do everything at once, and you rarely (if ever) have to be technical to do anything on the site.

  7. By Randi Bussin on Feb 27, 2009 | Reply

    Great article and I agree that you have to take LI slowly and add features as you go.

    For clients in job search or career transition, I suggest starting with:
    1. Updated profile, including recommendations
    2. Joining and being active in groups
    3. Adding/inviting as many connections as possible
    4. Researching interested companies for connections
    Just my two cents worth.

  8. By Christine Dennison on Feb 27, 2009 | Reply

    Great comments! The media seems very focused right now on the pros and cons of internet networking — it’s very easy to get overwhelmed and feel pressured to “do it all”…In my work as The Job Search Coach, I frequently help clients who are new to these concepts, and help them stay focused on the basics of LI. Yes, there are a lot of distracting shiny toys! Priorities for a job seeker:
    -Solid, easy-to-read profile…error-free and checked to make sure the information is in the right boxes! (I’m amazed at the number of typos and weak Professional Headlines on the profiles out there…)
    -Build those connections and get those references for easy credibility
    -Learn to use LI as a powerful database
    -Participate in forums

  9. By Jeff Goldman on Feb 27, 2009 | Reply

    What I do regularly is reading and posting on group discussions. The group discussions are a great knowledge management tool. Plus, I find being able to view people’s profiles on the groups discussion boards add more personalization and context to the discussions. Being active in the groups also provides many potential connections with people that have a common professional interest/goal.

  10. By reinkefj on Feb 28, 2009 | Reply

    When I’m trying to help people with LinkedIn, I focus on getting the to DO something. Starting seems to be hard for people. I encourage them to do something each and every day.Just get started. Put an old job in. Put up a picture. Put up the answer to a question. Put up a recommendation for someone. You get the idea. Every newbie says it’s overwhelming. So I tell them it’s like “eating baloney”. You don’t start by sitting down and gnaw on a big tube of baloney. You go a slice at a time. ROFL, fjohn

  11. By Piaras MacDonnell on Mar 1, 2009 | Reply

    Think of LinkedIn as a garden.

    To achieve exceptional results you need to be constantly doing a little. “Seeds” in the form of updates to your profile, additions to your network or comments on groups may not show results right away but will eventually bear fruit.

    From experience, be the constant gardener.

  12. By Laurie Berenson on Mar 1, 2009 | Reply

    Great post, Jason! For me, one area of LinkedIn that I consistently visit is Answers. As a solopreneur, it’s a quick, no-cost, approachable way to establish a reputation and build credibility while offering guidance to people who’ve taken the time to submit questions.

  13. By Amy Franko on Mar 3, 2009 | Reply

    I’ve just stumbled onto this blog – the comments are great!

    I’m a small business owner in the learning and development field. LinkedIn has helped me build my visibility and credibility. A few things I try to do consistently:

    1. Use my profile URL on business cards, my email signature, and any documents I produce (where appropriate)

    2. I join specific groups where I can contribute expertise and ask good questions – I try not to overload on joining groups.

    3. I make an effort to reach out to my connections in some way regularly. I also look through my connections’ connections to see if there is anyone I would like to meet.

  14. By Sheagar on Mar 8, 2009 | Reply

    Jason Alba – why do you have a network when everything you write and everything about you is “Me!” “Me!” “Me!” “Me!” “Me!” “Me!” “Me!” “Me!” “Me!” “Me!” “Me!” “Me!” “Me!” “Me!” “Me!” “Me!” “Me!” “Me!” “Me!” “Me!” “Me!” “Me!” “Me!” “Me!” “Me!” “Me!” “Me!” “Me!” “Me!” “Me!” “Me!” “Me!” “Me!” “Me!” “Me!” “Me!” “Me!” “Me!” “Me!” “Me!” “Me!” “Me!” “Me!” “Me!” “Me!” “Me!” “Me!” “Me!”

    Of course, I mean You!

  15. By Brian Schuster on Mar 19, 2009 | Reply

    Hey Jason,
    Like the post and I plan on subscribing to your feed. As far as linkedin is concerned, I always start with groups. Through groups, I go and find people I feel I can help or be helped by. By meeting these people, I make a connection and try to work my way out of LinkedIn via email or phone. My goal is to always raise the level of communication.

  16. By Jason Alba on Mar 20, 2009 | Reply

    Hi Sheagar… wish I had your URL so I could see if you are being sarcastic or serious about your comment.

    Either way, I write ME ME ME because this is simply my place to think about stuff that affects me, and how it might affect others. If you want something more scrubbed and boring, there are other blogs to follow.

Post a Comment