Earlier this month, we told you about getting the most out of your LinkedIn profile and boosting your presence. However if you have yet to sign up, you probably won’t find it that useful…yet.

LinkedIn is the most popular and powerful professional network out there, and it can help you with every step of business networking, finding work and staying abreast of the latest developments in your field. So here’s our complete beginners’, totally from scratch, bare-bones crash course in getting started on your very first day on LinkedIn.


Your first step is to sign up with the form on LinkedIn’s front page. Simply enter your name and email address, pick a password and click Join Now.


Start filling in your profile right away with details of your current or most recent position. You’ll fill in more background information later, but for now your form should look like this.


LinkedIn is pretty keen to get you importing your contacts and sending invitations to connections right away – even before you really have a profile. You can import your contacts from your email address book, but if you’d prefer not to, or would rather not direct your contacts to an empty profile right away, you might want to skip this step for now. You can always do it later.


Next you’ll need to confirm your email address so LinkedIn knows it’s really you. Of the options here it’s best to click “Send a confirmation email”.


Head to your inbox and click the big yellow button there to continue the signup process.


Here you’ll find a number of potential connections already found for you, based on your location and industry. Many of them will also be associated with you through having your details in their email address books. Place a check mark next to any profile to add someone as a connection now, as long as you actually know them, or leave this step for later.


You’ll be invited to download the LinkedIn app for your smartphone – simply enter your number or skip.


The final step before being directed to your profile is to choose which account plan you would like. While the paid version obviously features lots of extra benefits, most people start with the free tier and pay to upgrade later.


Finally you’ll click through to this screen, where you can start building your profile properly. The friendly help boxes will help you work out where to start and let you see what information you’re missing.


A handy shortcut to filling out your work and education history is to upload your existing CV. To do this, click the small down arrow (▼) next to “View profile as” and select “Import resume”.

That’s it for the basic setting up of your LinkedIn profile. For it to succeed in the long term though, you’ll need to keep building your presence with an image, skills, endorsements, testimonials and more. The “Profile Strength” indicator on the right side shows you how far along you are.

It takes no more than about five minutes to actually sign up, but the process of filling out your profile could take more like an hour, and your connections will then expect you to maintain your LinkedIn presence as often as needed after that. Look out for our blog next week following this one, which is about getting the basics of your profile right on LinkedIn.

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