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Today’s post will tackle how to set up a LinkedIn profile in just seven minutes. For anyone who isn’t familiar with LinkedIn it’s a professional social network that allows you to display your work experience, education and a whole other list of things that we’ll go through shortly. LinkedIn is an essential tool for every job seekers arsenal and is a highly effective method of business to business networking. Just to put things into perspective LinkedIn had over 161 million members as of the 31st of March 2012. So, lets get cracking.

Step 1: Go to www.linkedin.com

On the right hand side of the screen you’ll see the sign up form below. Simply fill it out and hit the green “Join” button below. Make sure you choose a password that’s secure but that you’ll remember in the future.

Step 2: Create Your Professional Profile

After submitting your name, email and password you’ll be brought to the second stage of the LinkedIn sign up. This page requires you to fill in details in order to create your professional profile. This section is pretty straight forward so fill it in and click “create my profile”.

Step 3: Connect

Once you’ve filled out the second form you’re given the option to “find people you already know on LinkedIn”. What this involves is LinkedIn scanning through your email contacts and finding any that are linked to LinkedIn profiles. Any contacts that are on LinkedIn will appear in a pop up box and you have the option to “connect” or “skip”.

Step 4: Confirm Your Email Address

In order to proceed with the sign-up process you will need to go to your email (the one you gave in step 1) and confirm that this is your account. The email will have a “click here” to confirm link and once you’ve clicked it you’ll be brought to another confirmation page on LinkedIn where you need to hit the “confirm” button.

Step 5: Sign In

After you’ve confirmed your email address the next step is to sign in to LinkedIn. The box below will appear and you will be required to enter the username and password you submitted all the way back in step 1.

Step 6: Share

This can be a great way of building your contact list quickly. If you use Facebook and/or Twitter click one of the share options that can be seen below. This will share a post on your Facebook and/or Twitter page letting your friends know that you’ve joined LinkedIn.

Step 7: Edit Your Profile

 Your now officially signed up to LinkedIn. It’s now time to start exploring and filling out the different sections of your profile. This can take a bit of time to do but if you have a resume already typed up get it out and use it to assist you. To edit your LinkedIn profile click on the “profile” tab beside the “home” tab. Once you click “profile” a small drop down list appears. Select “edit profile”.

Grab a cup of coffee, have your resume at hand and work your way down through the different sections of the profile. Spend some time on your profile summary which is one of the first things people will see when they click onto your page. Optimising your LinkedIn profile for search is an essential part of using LinkedIn effectively. Check out our post on optimising your LinkedIn profile and follow the six steps. So, that’s it.

You’re set up with a LinkedIn profile. How did you find the sign-up process? Have you any questions on how to set up a LinkedIn profile?