To know me is to know that I love — love — LinkedIn. At 150 million members and growing, LinkedIn is a powerful professional networking tool, and it’s not just for those who are job seeking. Frankly, if you’re in the professional world and not using LinkedIn, I’m not sure what you’re thinking. Our team at V3 uses it for new business development, competitive research and analysis, participating in groups and discussions and engaging with and learning from peers — and, of course, it’s the go-to site for savvy job seekers everywhere.
One of the cool things about LinkedIn is there’s always something new to learn. Sure, the first step is to sign up and create your profile. But once you’ve got the basics covered, there are a number of ways you can customize your experience in order to not only achieve your professional goals, but also to get more personally out of LinkedIn. I do a lot of corporate LinkedIn training and these are some of my favorite tricks and tips. Let’s get started.
1. How to remove a connection
Wanna ditch a connection? Sometimes you need to give someone the boot. Maybe it’s a colleague, a competitor, an ex or just someone you don’t want to be associated with. Getting rid of them is easy as pie. Even better, they won’t know you’ve given them the heave-ho. How to wield this magic? When you’re logged into LinkedIn, Select Contacts in the main navigation bar. At the far right, you’ll see two options: Add connections and Remove connections. Click Remove connections, check the box next to the contact’s name and click OK.
2. Hide your status updates
Sometimes it makes sense to operate in stealth mode. If you’re connecting with new business prospects or making changes to your profile in preparation for job seeking, you may not want to broadcast that activity to your network. Click the drop-down menu under your name in the top right corner of the page, then select Settings. In the profile section, click Turn on/off your activity broadcasts under Privacy Controls. Uncheck the box that appears in the pop-up window and click Save Settings. Easy as can be and now you’re flying below the radar. One tip: remember to turn this setting back on as soon as you’re done, otherwise, you’ll be invisible on LinkedIn and that kind of negates the whole point!
3. Privacy matter to you? Opt out of ads
There was a big brouhaha about LinkedIn and privacy a few months back when it was discovered that a default setting called “social sharing” allows LinkedIn to pair an advertiser’s message with the social content from a LinkedIn user’s network. This allows them to tailor ads more closely to the audience. Bottom line, if you don’t want your info showing up in random ads, opt out. Click Settings under your name, then click Account. Under Privacy Controls, select Manage Advertising Preferences. If you don’t want to see ads, uncheck the box that appears in the pop-up window and click Save Settings. You can also read more about each type of advertising, if you want to learn more.
4. Get a custom URL
It’s much easier to publicize your LinkedIn profile with a customized URL, rather than the clunky combination of numbers that LinkedIn automatically assigns when you sign up. Plus, if you use a consistent name across all of your social networks (and you should), this is a great way to boost your own “brand awareness.” Laugh if you will, but it’s an important part of networking. And when it comes to networking, do you really want anything less than a custom URL on your business card? We think not. How to get your own custom URL? Log in click Profile > Edit Profile in the main nav bar. At the bottom of the gray window that shows your basic information, you’ll see a Public Profile URL. Click “Edit” next to the URL and specify what you’d like your address to be. When you’re finished, click Set Custom URL.