4 Tips for Building a Killer LinkedIn Profile (and Why You Should Have One)
LinkedIn could be one of your most valuable job searching tools. These days, more people are flocking to the social media platform to find work or find job candidates. By creating a thoughtful profile, you could land your dream job without even trying.
Why You Need to Take LinkedIn Seriously
LinkedIn has some pretty big plusses for job seekers and the general working public.
You Can Market Your Skills
For one thing, having a LinkedIn profile these days is just smart online marketing.
When you’re interviewing for a job, you’re selling yourself and your skills. LinkedIn helps you do it online and makes you searchable. Better a potential employer happen upon your professional LinkedIn profile than your party picture-plastered Instagram or Facebook account.
You Can Take the Easy Way Out
What’s more, many online applications now allow you to input your personal information, resume, and previous work history from your LinkedIn profile, saving you time and energy in the long run. It’s pretty sweet, actually.
There are also job openings posted on LinkedIn that you can apply for directly through the platform. If you don’t have a LinkedIn account, you won’t be able to get to them.
You Can Network Like a Pro
LinkedIn can also open doors for you that you didn’t know existed.
These days, more and more people find their jobs because they know someone rather than because they submitted a cold application. That means that making connections, both in person and via a professional online platform like LinkedIn, can help you find a job now and in the future.
Playing a Strong LinkedIn Game
It pays to play the game, check your profile, and engage. Run your LinkedIn account like a business and you’ll be sure to get some attention from the right kind of recruiters. Here are some tips on how to do it.
1. Fill out as much as you can.
Every section in your LinkedIn profile has meaning. If you’ve volunteered in high school or college, add that. If you’ve got specific skills you can add, search them out from the list. If you’ve got previous work experience, be as detailed about your responsibilities as you can.
If you’re not good at writing, head over to the Think Tank Writing Center. Have a peer take a look over your content and help you refine it so you sound your best. Remember: This is going to be seen by potential employers and colleagues, so it’s important to give off a great first impression.
2. Connect with professors, previous employers, and other “grown-ups” you have relationships with.
Whatever relationships you’ve built in your youth, use them to your advantage as you prepare to enter “the real world.”
If you cut your neighbor’s grass, try to find him on LinkedIn. (That was a job, right?!) If you have professors or other campus staff who know your face and name, track them down on LinkedIn. If you had a part-time job in high school or if you can find teachers that may remember you, connect with them. Every relationship offers potential. Don’t be shy; these people will likely be happy to help you if you ask.
When you do this, personalize the “connect” message a bit and tell your connections that you’re looking to build a strong network for your future career. They’ll be more likely to accept your request.
3. Put in some hustle for reviews and endorsements.
Reviews and endorsements are job currency. Just like anywhere else, a positive review or affirmation of your abilities is going to make potential recruiters look more carefully at your profile to see how you may fit into the position they’re trying to fill.
Ask those “grown-ups” you know to endorse you or write a review when it feels appropriate. Again, these people want to see you succeed and will help you when given the opportunity!
4. Stay active.
We don’t mean “Go to the gym.”
The key to having a great LinkedIn profile is to create it and keep it up. Setting up an account and then leaving it dormant won’t help you. This is a social media platform, just like Instagram or Snapchat, and the more you’re on it, the more attention you’ll get.
Make an effort to post a few times a week by either sharing interesting articles you’ve come across, writing relevant content and publishing it on LinkedIn’s native publishing platform (like a business blog), or posting and commenting on your connections’ posts. Look at how businesses run their social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram and emulate them. Whatever they’re doing to market themselves is a smart thing for you to be doing, too.
Don’t get stressed about your next steps after college. You’re going to be fine! By creating a killer LinkedIn profile and keeping it updated, you’ll be well on your way to landing your first “real” job as a grown-up.
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