If you've done any kind of serious career prep, chances are you've heard all about LinkedIn. It's a space where you can find jobs and internships, connect with people for work purposes, read inspiring stories, and more.
While LinkedIn is an extremely helpful tool, most of us aren't really taught how to use it aside from being told to make a profile. There's so much more to the site than just listing one's resume, and that's where we come in today.
Today, I'm sharing everything I've learned about using LinkedIn to further my career. Below are some tips and tricks you can use to conquer LinkedIn yourself.
Little note: I actually found out about the College Fashion internship via LinkedIn. So it definitely is helpful!
1. Have a Clear/Professional Looking Photo
The very first thing people see when they click on your profile is your picture. First and foremost, it's important that you have one so people can put a face to your name. I'm not saying you have to find the best photographer of all time but it shouldn't be a selfie. Your photo should look clear and more professional than other photos you have of yourself. Honestly, a nice headshot will suffice and what's recommended.
If you're wondering where to get a headshot taken, chances are your university probably has services that offer them. I know my university, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, has events where you can have your headshot taken. So, definitely look into what your school offers or just ask a friend to take a decent photo. Also, here's an awesome article that explains the importance of a great profile picture.
2. Make What You're Currently Working on Visible
Your profile page is a snapshot of who you are. As I said, the first thing people see is your profile picture. Right under your photo is a tagline. In the tagline you can write what kind of position you currently hold.
For example, my tagline says “Contributing Writer Intern at College Fashion”. This allows people to see what kind of work I do and get a sense of what career interests I have before scrolling down my page.
Though I believe listing my current position is the best route to take, I've seen people write other things, from the university they attend to the fact that they are seeking employment opportunities. Either way, you always want to keep in mind that the person looking at your profile can be a potential employer. What do you want them to see first?
3. Make Sure Your Resume is in Good Shape
Can I be honest with you? This is an area I have to work on. I have my resume on LinkedIn, but I could definitely spruce it up to look more professional. It's a work in progress!
When you fill out your profile, this section is non-negotiable. Essentially, you type in your information as if you were writing a resume. Visually on the screen it looks like an electronic resume where people can view what you've done. Just like when you apply to jobs and need a clean and clear resume, the same applies to LinkedIn. Make sure to add your most relevant experience, especially things that pertain to the area of work you want to do.
For more on this topic, see our guide to creating a perfect resume, and our list of unexpected skills to put on your resume.
4. Be Consistently Active
The best piece of advice I received about LinkedIn was to spend like 15-30 minutes a day using it, and to approach it as a social media platform. Though LinkedIn isn’t viewed as a typical social media platform, it operates exactly like one.
You know how with YouTube the more consistent you are with your posting, the more followers you gain? LinkedIn has the same concept. If people continue to see your name popping up, eventually they might click on your profile. I'm not saying you have to spend tons of time on LinkedIn, but when you have free time just hop on it.
Some easy ways to be active include creating and share content you like, commenting on the posts of people whose careers you admire, or writing posts yourself. I'll go deeper into these below.
5. Post Your Own Content
I think posting my own content has been the biggest factor in my LinkedIn growth. Posting my own content allows people to see exactly what I do. My content highlights the skills I talk about in my resume. For example, I post all the articles I have published with College Fashion, my blog, and my campus newspaper.
The cool thing about LinkedIn is that it allows you to see how many views certain posts get and the kinds of people who view them. This helps you gauge what people gravitate towards in terms of the content you produce.
6. Like and Comment
Never underestimate the power of liking and commenting on other people's posts. I've recently been doing this and it has proven to be a great way to connect with people. People are constantly sharing their content, stories about their jobs, their journeys, advice, or whatever they please. This is one of the coolest parts about LinkedIn because you get inspired by what people are doing with their work.
Recently, I commented on a post by a successful author I follow. They wrote a post about how their dream of being a bestselling author came true. I commented something along the lines of congratulations and how their success is not only inspiring to people but especially people of color. I didn't do it with any intention of them following me. I just wanted to congratulate them. They liked my comment and commented back. Then, I think the next day they ended up following me. Just by simply being nice I gained a new connection. Little commenting tip: make sure to include the person's name in the comment.
There are a billion and one things to know about LinkedIn. I am in no way a master of LinkedIn. (For example, I need to master the art of direct messaging people. When I figure it out I’ll let you know!) But I’m constantly learning new ways to use it and it’s honestly fun to me. These are the actions I took to increase my visibility and following. I’m not going to guarantee they'll gain you 500 connections overnight but they will at least get you noticed more.
What is your best tip for conquering LinkedIn? Do you plan on using any of these tips? Let me know. Thanks for reading!