Social media platforms are so prevalent in today’s day and age that it can be hard to know which platforms to join and for what purpose. Facebook, Twitter, Tiktok… what do they mean and what are they for? Social media is so ubiquitous that many platforms have sought to break away from the pack by gearing their site and their brand towards a particular demographic and use. In short, different networks purposely attract a different clientele. Tiktok is popular with teens, Instagram appeals to the amateur photographer in all of us, and YouTube the amateur videographer. LinkedIn, on the other hand, is all business… literally. The most popular professional career social network on Earth, LinkedIn boasts over 500 million members worldwide and allows members to customize an online professional profile and share it with anyone. It also hosts job openings and allows you to create connections with other members and even network in customizable groups. Here’s how to get started and get yourself ‘out there’ on LinkedIn.

How to create your LinkedIn account

Signing up for LinkedIn is incredibly easy. The LinkedIn signup page will only ask you for two pieces of information: your name and your chosen password (1). Unlike most other social media accounts, a pseudonym or anonymous ‘username’ is not allowed on LinkedIn. This is a network where you want to show off your skills and achievements, something that’s difficult to do behind a false name. Once you enter this information, click ‘Join Now’ and the system creates a bare bones profile in your name. Just that easy!

How to regain access to your account

Very things are more frustrating than being locked out of your account and not knowing why. Maybe the system hiccuped and thinks your password is wrong, maybe you’re typing it in wrong (watch that CAPS lock!), or maybe you’ve just plain forgotten your password. As with most social media networks, if your credentials don’t appear to be working, the easiest thing to do is to request that LinkedIn reset your password here (2). The system will prompt you to type in a new password and then retype it just to be sure you’ve written it properly. Once you hit ‘OK’, the password will be reset in the LinkedIn system and it will then ask you to retry signing in with your new credentials. If that doesn’t work, there’s the chance that LinkedIn has restricted your account. An algorithm in the LinkedIn system automatically restricts accounts if it believes that you are sending an unusually high number of messages to other members, i.e. “spamming” other users. LinkedIn generally sends its users a warning first, before restricting accounts. Regardless, if resetting your password doesn’t allow you to regain access, you can follow this link (3) and ask that LinkedIn verify your identity by uploading a clear picture of your driver's license or passport. This is a privacy measure to ensure that nobody else can ever control your account and the information therein.

How to edit your account

So you’ve created your very own LinkedIn profile - now what? Now it’s time to build your profile, basically an online resume if you will. As stated before, LinkedIn is a professional/work social network and, just as you would in a job interview, you want your profile to make a good first impression. You can start by adding your profile picture. Click the gray circle in the upper left of your profile and LinkedIn will prompt you to add a picture from your saved photos (or Camera Roll if you’re using the free LinkedIn app). You can also upload a header picture as well. This is a horizontal image that will be displayed at the very top of your profile. Perhaps you’d like your company logo to head your profile, or a photo of your business itself. You could insert a photo of your family or even just some beautiful local scenery. It’s your profile and it’s up to you how it turns out!

Once you have those basics squared away, it’s time to build your profile from the ground up and show your contacts (and prospective employers) what you’ve accomplished in the business world.. LinkedIn will ask you to add your job history. Under ‘Experience’, click the ‘+’ button. LinkedIn will prompt you to add the company you worked for, the time period you were employed there, your title, and a space underneath to describe what your position entailed. You can add as many positions under Experience as you like. Under Experience is a section labeled ‘Skills and Endorsements’. LinkedIn has a variety of skill assessments that you can take for free. If you score in the top 30% of test takers, you pass the test and can display a badge on your profile that will be visible to visitors which shows your proficiency in that field. Connections can also write a recommendation letter for you (which appears in your Recommendations field) and you can also list your interests at the bottom of your profile page. How do you make official Connections on LinkedIn? Easy. Simply use the search tab at the top of the page to find the person you are looking for, click on their name, and visit their page. Once there, click on the ‘Connect’ button on their profile. Once they see this connection request and accept it, you are officially connected on LinkedIn. This LinkedIn help page (4) has many easy-to-learn tips for making your profile stand out in the crowd.

How to hibernate your page

Hibernating your account is an alternative to closing it. You can reactivate your account 24 hours after you’ve hibernated it. Your profile won’t be visible to anyone, even your connections while your account is hibernated. While your account is hibernated, your LinkedIn profile won’t appear in searches on the platform. This includes searches on other LinkedIn products like Recruiter. Your posts and comments will remain intact, but you’ll only be identified as “A LinkedIn member”. If you have a profile photo, it will be replaced by a generic icon. To Hibernate, you must login to your LinkedIn account on a desktop. Click the Me icon at top of your LinkedIn homepage and select Settings & Privacy. Select Settings & Privacy from the dropdown. Select Account preferences. Select Account management. Click Change next to Hibernate account. Select the option that describes why you’re hibernating your account. Enter your password and click Hibernate account to complete the hibernation process (5).

How to delete your account

If, for whatever reason, you have decided that LinkedIn isn’t for you, it’s easy to close your account for good. Click the ‘Me’ logo in the top right corner, then ‘Settings and Privacy’ and ‘Account Preferences’. Click on ‘Account Management’ and then ‘Close Account’. LinkedIn will ask you the reason for your decision to close your account. Once you’ve selected a reason, click ‘Next’ and finally ‘Close Account’. LinkedIn gives you the chance to reopen your account within 14 days of closing, but recommendations, endorsements, invitations, and group memberships are not recoverable (6). Once the 14 days pass, no element of your profile is recoverable and you will need to create a whole new account if you decide to rejoin LinkedIn.

It can be difficult to know what networks are worth your time when you’re constantly being bombarded with social media buzzwords and fads. But for a loan officer, in a business always striving to be at the cusp of technological advancement, LinkedIn is subjectively one of the most important and useful in existence. Looking for a fresh start? Need a quick and easy way to show a prospective customer your bonafides? Interested in networking with others in the industry? There’s no easier way than to connect with them on LinkedIn and show off what you’ve achieved in the past and what you can do for them in the future.

  1. Sign Up | LinkedIn

  2. Reset Password | LinkedIn

  3. Verify Identity to Recover Account Access | LinkedIn Help

  4. How Do I Create a Good LinkedIn Profile? | LinkedIn Help

  5. Hibernate Your LinkedIn Account

  6. Close Your LinkedIn Account | LinkedIn Help

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