So you’re in the job search, or starting to think about your first internship. Your mentors and advisors tell you to start making connections and networking like crazy. How do you go about doing that, especially when you’re still in school or just starting?
Your answer: LinkedIn.
LinkedIn can be confusing at first, and you may not quite understand how to use it, or what to use it for. But if you know its capabilities, it’s really a great tool and resource for professionals, whether you’re just starting out or a seasoned pro. LinkedIn is great for building a professional network, sharing professional content and even finding jobs. But first, you have to build your profile.
Here are my best tips and advice for rocking your LinkedIn profile and getting the most out of this awesome professional social network!
The first step to building your LinkedIn profile is a professional, clean photo. Your beach pictures might be cute, and that picture of you touching the top of the Eiffel Tower is really cool, but unfortunately LinkedIn isn’t the place for those pictures. A clear, nice-looking headshot is ideal. My friend from undergrad, Melanie, did my professional portraits last year. She’s awesome! Most colleges should have a department that will take professional headshots and portraits for free, too.
Under your name, you can list a title for yourself. If you’re employed, this is where you list your job title. This gets tough and tricky when you aren’t employed. Be creative! If you know what industry you want to pursue a job in, say that you’re a “specialist” or “professional” in that area. For example, I want to work in online media, so my title says, “Online Media Specialist.” Some of my classmates list themselves as “Interactive Media Professionals.” Even though I’m a grad student, I prefer to not list that as my professional title on LinkedIn.
Your profile has so much room to showcase your work and experience. It’s a lot like an online resume, except not limited to one page. Seriously, list everything you can here, as long as it’s relevant. Previous jobs and internships, projects, publications, other languages, volunteer experience, certifications, societies and clubs, academic institutions… if you’ve been there or done it, put it on your profile! List as many skills as you can, and maybe your connections will endorse you for them!