Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat…you likely have a few of these, if not all.
Probably the most taken for granted social media site is LinkedIn. Where I utilize my Instagram page to excessive pictures of my pets (cat lady status), my LinkedIn is much more important to me.
I may not check it as frequently as my other social media sites, but I make sure that my LinkedIn page is always on point. Why does it matter, you ask? What does LinkedIn benefit me? LinkedIn shows that you are competent, professional, connected, current, and serious.
I cannot tell you how many connections I have made via LinkedIn inviting me to apply for jobs or to connect to someone major in my network. Yes, it is overwhelming to begin, but here are 10 simple tips to start and strengthen your LinkedIn page.
1. Choose a clear, close-up photo
If you have a professional photo, great! Use that. But if you do not, at the very least, find a close up photo of only you.
Crop out your boy, your friends, or your cat. There should be no confusion as to who you are and it really does help to put a face to a name.
Also, as many of us are young college students or recent graduates, please try to avoid pictures taken in bars. It is more obvious to others than you would think. Profile pictures on LinkedIn are just as important as profile pictures on Facebook.
2. Write a personal summary
Yes, objective statements in resumes are outdated. But what I love about LinkedIn is that it is secondary to your resume. Typical resume rules do not totally apply!
You have more freedom to truly express yourself, and the personal summary provides your chance to do so. Tell a little about your story, your goals, your work history, and let your personality shine through!
Think of it as that part in an interview when the interviewer asks you to “tell us a little about yourself.” This can either draw interest or boredom, so take some time to write a brief statement.
3. Drop new connections a note
Did you know you can personally message non-premium members? Use this to your advantage. Rather than “connecting” (LinkedIn’s term for a friend request), with a past professor who may not remember you, feel free to send them a line to re-introduce yourself and offer availability to be open to any questions they may have. It doesn’t hurt, and it shows you are taking control of your future.
4. Endorse connections for skills
It takes 1 second to endorse people for a skill listed on their profile. Do it for a few people, and likely they will return the favor, enhancing both your profile and your visibility on the site! I recommend listing more specific skills than Microsoft Word, Proofreading, or Customer Service. The more specific you are, the more specialized you look.
5. Ask for and give recommendations
Along with point number 4, receiving recommendations on your profile looks great to potential recruiters. The easiest way to receive recommendations is to give or to ask.
6. Change your individual URL
Ok, guys, this is cool. When you create a page, your actual “LinkedIn website” (or URL) probably will look like http://www.linkedin.com/in/rachelfo1928949198419235 or something excessive like that.
Did you know you can change this? Go to your profile and look under your profile picture. There you should find your LinkedIn URL. When you put your cursor on the URL, a wheel button should pop up on its right. Click on that and it will bring you to profile settings. From here, look on the right side of the page, where it says “Your public profile URL.” You will be able to edit your URL to be more simple.
I would suggest just using your first and last name if it is available. This little step shows that you are proficient and detailed-oriented. Speaking of details…
7. Be detailed
There are no hard, fast rules of LinkedIn, so I utilize it to be a longer version of my resume. I can be more specific about my accomplishments and goals.
8. Share your page
Now that you created your own personalized URL, share it everywhere you can! Add it to business cards, resumes, or even your Twitter and Facebook pages.
9. Post relevant articles and participate in discussions
Search for a few groups and companies of interest for you and participate! Make it a point to share an occasional and relevant article that you found on your own. It helps convey that you read and regularly invest in your own development (which you may not do, but you should!) It also encourages interactions and boosts your visibility. A win overall.
10. Keep it up-to-date
Once you complete your profile, make it a point to keep it updated, especially if you are job searching! Whenever I update my resume, I update my LinkedIn as well.
The only thing worse than not having a LinkedIn page is having a very unfinished or outdated one. Make it a point to check in even once every two weeks and add a few people, like a few articles, and make sure it looks well-maintained.
LinkedIn has been a major resource for my career and I know it will be for you too. To connect with me or use my profile as reference, visit my LinkedIn page here. Do you have other tips about how to best utilize LinkedIn? Comment below!