LinkedIn 101

Posted by Calling All Optimists on Feb 15, 2019

Do you need a LinkedIn profile? The short answer is 100% yes. LinkedIn is your ticket to a huge professional network of 500 million users and countless opportunities for professional development. It also takes minimal time to set up and doesn’t require constant upkeep.

Not sold on the idea yet? LinkedIn also:

  • Bolsters your credibility. Picture this: a potential employer gets your job application and gives it a look. You seem like a great choice, so they Google you and you pop up on LinkedIn! They see your experience and education are all there and you have connections and endorsements that add legitimacy to your experience! Boom, you’ve just become an even better choice.
  • Upgrades your networking. LinkedIn is the Rolodex of today. By connecting with people, you can maintain your current relationships and build new ones. And the best part is all of the information about your professional network is in one place because you never know when you’ll need to reach out to someone!
  • Allows you to research careers. If you’re interested in a career change you can view both job postings and profiles of contacts with the career you’re interested in to read about what they do, where they work, and what education and skills are needed for their careers.
  • Allows you to connect with alumni. If you’re thinking about returning to graduate school, you can search for schools you’re interested to view a list of alumni that attended that school who you can connect with to learn about the school and programs you’re interested in. 
  • Takes your employer research game to the next level. We all know that getting a job isn’t quite as easy as just blindly sending in an application. With LinkedIn, you can research an employer and see who you might be connected with who works there or knows someone who works there. Then you’re an easy ask away from a quick conversation to get you one step closer to the job.
  • Lists potential opportunities. Companies also list jobs on LinkedIn! So when you research companies, you’re able to quickly see if they have available opportunities. Sometimes all it takes to apply is submitting your profile. Bonus: LinkedIn will also suggest jobs for you!

Ready to start sprucing up your LinkedIn? There are tons of ways you can fill out your profile and this checklist from LinkedIn breaks down the sections. But before you get too crazy with all the options, we want to make sure you have the basics. 

Every LinkedIn profile should have:

  • A professional photo. We get it, you might not have a killer headshot. But, you should try to make your photo as professional as possible. If you don’t have a headshot from work, take a photo against a plain background in good lighting and a professional outfit.
  • A headline. Your headline is pulled from your current job by default and displayed by your name in all LinkedIn searches. So if your current title says what you want it to say, great. But if not, make sure you edit this to match how you want to portray yourself such as “Communications Professional” or “Recent Marketing Graduate Seeking Opportunities”. You get the point.
  • A summary. This is your time to shine! Your summary is a few sentences at the top of your profile describing who you are. Keep it short, but sweet. Focus on who you are, what you have to offer, and your goals (especially if you’re seeking an opportunity).
  • Experience. Now we’re to the part that looks a lot like your resume! Take the time to add in your work history and note what you accomplished in each role.
  • Skills. And last, but not least, list out your skills! Think of easily searchable keywords that describe your areas of expertise. This section is great because you can add your top skills and people can endorse them so potential employers know you can deliver!

Now you’re ready to start building your LinkedIn network!