Before you start using LinkedIn, you're going to need an account on the website first. The process is a bit long and involved, but it will help you hit the ground running by connecting you with work colleagues (past and present), businesses that you're interested in, and the business sectors that you specialize in.
Open your web browser of choice and go to www.linkedin.com.
On the home page of LinkedIn, you will see a sign-up box.
Click in each of the boxes highlighted here and type in:
- Your first name
- Your last name
- Your email address
- A password for your account
When you've entered all of this information, click Join Now.
You will be asked to provide some basic information to get your profile started.
Click in each of the boxes highlighted in the screenshot above and type in or select:
- What country you live in
- Your mailing code
- Whether or not you are a student
- Your current job title (if applicable)
- The company that you currently work for (if applicable)
Once you've filled in these details, click Create Your Profile.
Next, you will be asked what you want to use LinkedIn for. Click one of the responses that appear (whichever one is most appropriate to your situation).
Next, LinkedIn will ask to import contacts from your email account and see if any of them are on LinkedIn already. This will help you find "Connections" on LinkedIn quickly. (See our LinkedIn Connections tutorial for more about "connections".)
You can click in the box marked "Email" and type in a different email address, if you want to import contacts from a different email account. Then, click Continue. Or, click Skip if you don't want to do this right now and look for connections later.
(NOTE: If you choose to do this step, you will be asked to sign into your email account and confirm that you want to give LinkedIn permission to access certain parts of it.)
LinkedIn will send you an email to confirm that there is a way to reach you if something happens to your account, such as you forgetting your password or otherwise getting locked out (see our How to Reset Your LinkedIn Password tutorial if this actually happens to you).
Go to your email client and log in. Find the email from LinkedIn Messages titled "[Your Name], Please Confirm Your Email Address" and click it to open it. Then, click Confirm Your Email Address, or the blue hyperlink right below it.
Next, you will be asked to follow some companies related to your current job or company. You will receive updates from them, including announcements and any jobs posted by them. (For more information on "followers", see our LinkedIn Followers tutorial.)
Click a company with a "+" sign beside it to select it and turn the plus sign into a checkmark. Click a company with a checkmark beside it to deselect it. You can also click Select All to select or deselect all of the companies that LinkedIn has suggested.
When you're done, click Add [X] Companies in the bottom-right corner. You can also click Skip if you don't want to follow any companies on LinkedIn right now.
Next, you'll be asked to follow certain "channels" on LinkedIn. This will provide you with news and insights in business sectors that you're interested in.
As you did on the previous screen, click a channel with a "+" icon beside it to select it, click a channel with a checkmark beside it to deselect it, or click Select All to select or deselect all channels that LinkedIn has suggested for you.
When you've made your choices, click Add [X] Channels, or click Skip if you don't want to follow any channels on LinkedIn right now.
Next, you will be asked if you want to install the LinkedIn application on your mobile phone. We recommend that you just click Skip here.
After this, you will be taken to your profile page on LinkedIn. Congratulations on signing up for LinkedIn!
(P.S. If you'd like to learn how to fill out your profile page while you're here, jump to our How to Write a LinkedIn Profile and Add a Photo tutorial.)
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