Book Review: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to LinkedIn

By Devon Glenn 

LinkedIn currently connects 161 million professionals around the world. Are you one of them? This latest installment in the Complete Idiot’s Guide series by Susan Gunelius offers a comprehensive tutorial for companies, recruiters, and job seekers who want to use LinkedIn for both professional networking and B2B marketing.

As the title implies, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to LinkedIn starts with the basics of setting up a profile and connecting with colleagues for beginners who don’t have accounts and don’t know where to begin. The author speaks to a broad audience, with minimal amounts of technical jargon and few anecdotes, but dives into more sophisticated tasks, such as running click-ad campaigns and installing plug-ins on your website or blog. This is a book that can be passed around the office.

Written in five parts, the book covers all of LinkedIn’s services step by step, breaking the chapters into manageable sections that highlight particular tasks and applications. Readers can either go through the book cover to cover, or skip to the chapters that relate to them. In the “Marketing Yourself Through LinkedIn” section, for example, there is a chapter on LinkedIn ads that’s further subdivided into the types of ads available, how to target your audience, and ways to track the results. The subjects are easy to navigate, from the table of contents in the front of the book to the index and glossary in the back.

Professionals who are already using a number of other networks and software applications will be relieved to find instructions on how to make LinkedIn a part of their daily routines, like how to connect a LinkedIn account to Microsoft Outlook. More experienced users might even discover features they’ve overlooked, like the “share only tweets that include #in” button that they can click in their Twitter settings to make sure that only work-friendly tweets are posted to their accounts.

Gunelius’ instructions are concise and easy to grasp. The book has few illustrations, but large headings and sidebars like “quick tips” and “insider secrets” help break up the text.  Readers with poor eyesight might have a hard time with the screen captures, which have been shrunk to fit the page, but the important buttons are usually highlighted. Each chapter begins with an overview and ends with key takeaways for easy reference.

These bullet points, as well as the lesser known apps, are much better for including in a presentation than the book’s statistics on the company and its users, which are already (though understandably) out of date. For that, check LinkedIn’s About Us page.

Practical, concise, and easy to implement, LinkedIn users of all levels will want to have this book handy while they’re setting up their pages or trying out new features.