Ten Ways to Use LinkedIn by Guy Kawasaki: Updated for 2011

May 6th, 2011 | by Jason Alba |

One of the most famous references on how to use LinkedIn is Guy Kawasaki’s Ten Ways to Use LinkedIn.  I still see people point to this post, today, more than four years later (LinkedIn was almost 4 years old when it was written).

I wanted to revisit Guy’s post and speak about each of the points:

  1. Increase your visibility. More true than four years ago.  Many professionals are seeing their LinkedIn Profile in the first few search results on Google.  And, with LinkedIn’s growth since then (they had just a few million signups), now it seems like everyone is on LinkedIn (they aren’t, but it seems like they are).  It has become more important than what it was four years ago… definitely being on LinkedIn (and hopefully having a strong profile) will help you increase your visibility.
  2. Improve your connectability. Guy says to put your past employers in your Profile also, so people will be able to find you if you worked for them.  Definitely true.  Lonny Gulden, a recruiter in Minneapolis, says to also include old names from past employers (because of an acquisition, merger, etc.).  Another trick is for people to put in the maiden name, so if someone who knew you from pre-marriage is looking for you, they can find you.
  3. Improve your Google PageRank. PageRank is not the same now as what it was four years ago, but the idea is to be found in the search results.  LinkedIn carries weight with search engines… you can tie into that.
  4. Enhance your search engine results. It seems like #1, #3 and #4 are saying pretty much the same thing… it’s all good.
  5. Perform blind, “reverse,” and company reference checks. The point here is to use LinkedIn as a research tool to learn about the people you think you want to work with (based on their Recommendations).  Definitely a good idea.  Not only can you learn more about them, you’ll see who they are connected to, determine if they are good networkers, etc.
  6. Increase the relevancy of your job search. An interesting idea posed here is to search for your skills and see where the people who come up work.  Not a bad idea… it should give you ideas on how to make your own Profile better (comparing it to theirs), what companies they work at (which you might not have known about), see what Groups they are members of, etc.
  7. Make your interview go smoother. He suggests knowing more about the person can give you stuff to talk about… where did they go to school, etc.  Learn stuff about them from their Profile, and then you can easily say “I saw on your LinkedIn Profile that you ________.”  It’s a good idea to research a bit on who you are going to talk with, whether it’s a networking interview, a job interview, or whatever.
  8. Gauge the health of a company. He suggests talking to people at your target company, or better, talking to people who have left the company, since they might divulge more/better information about their former employer.
  9. Gauge the health of an industry. Find people who are in the industry you want to get into and talk to them.  Find people who have failed in that industry and talk to them (to see what they learned, what they would do differently, etc.). #8 and #9 are excellent ideas leading to informational interviews, where you want to (a) get information, (b) brand yourself, and (c) ask for introductions to new contacts.
  10. Track startups. Guy is the startup guy, so of course this goes on his list.  It’s funny he suggests to search for “stealth” to see who’s trying to be, well, stealth.  LOL.  It worked though, I just tried it and found over 7,oo0 results of people who have “stealth” in their Profile, many in their title.
  11. Ask for advice. Guy says “LinkedIn’s newest product, LinkedIn Answers”… COOL.  So they launched this sometime in Dec/Jan 2011?  I tried to find an announcement on their blog but I couldn’t.  Anyway, yes, use answers.  He says to use it to get advice… but I have other, more important, reasons to use Answers.
  12. Integrate into a new job. As suggested by Vincent Wright, who taught me a lot about LinkedIn and networking, he says to study Profiles of your new coworkers.  Great idea…. don’t stop networking once you land a new job!
  13. Scope out the competition, customers, partners, etc. Do competitive intelligence research on your competition… definitely a good idea, if you pay attention to your competition.

So there you go – all 13 points are still relevant… and good reasons to use LinkedIn.  I hear people say “LinkedIn doesn’t work for me,” but what they are really saying is “I didn’t do anything, and got nothing in return.  So it’s broken, right?”

I won’t appease them… they need to understand the tool, use the tool, and then they will get value out of the tool.

What value?

Any of the 13 things above.


  1. 2 Responses to “Ten Ways to Use LinkedIn by Guy Kawasaki: Updated for 2011”

  2. By Shari Weiss on May 7, 2011 | Reply

    Jason, thanks for the update on Guy’s “prescient” advice from four years ago. This is a great kind of post where you can add your personal experiences with each piece of advice.

    I also love in and teach my BabyBoomer friends how to answer that question “I’m on LinkedIn, Now What?” . . . so I’ll be showing them your article.

    When I got to number 2, I immediately went to my profile and added my maiden name. Thanks for that tip AND the entire article.

    BTW, you mention, YOU have a more important reason to use ANSWERS. Are you like several of my online friends who “mine” the Questions EVERY DAY to answer AND find new clients?

  3. By Kent Paul Dolan on May 13, 2011 | Reply

    And yet I quickly found I had to cancel my LinkedIn account — the email litter the site spews about every trivial action by every link-mate, and the ability in turn to abuse and “game” the site by trivial actions which that spew gave those link-mates to keep constant attention on themselves was making it even harder to find “value” email in all the “sludge” email.

    Score for LinkedIn? Nice idea, badly executed.


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