• Maggie Fortune

A Beginner's Guide to LinkedIn: 5 Tips To Get Started

If you're in the same boat as me, AKA graduating from college within the next year or so, then hop in because I am about to dish out all of my favorite LinkedIn tips I've learned over the years to help me get a step closer to building my career path.

I'm sure we've all heard about LinkedIn by now, as it's been around for over 10 years at this point. Whether it's your professors nagging you to set up your profile, or your favorite influencer telling you about how much it can help - they're not lying. LinkedIn is something everyone should get into, whether you're a new college student or a business professional, it is there to help you succeed in your education and your career.

In this blog post, we will explore 5 tips that I think are absolutely essential to someone who has no idea what to do with their LinkedIn after signing up.

1. Choose the right profile picture for your LinkedIn Profile

I know this isn't exactly Instagram, but photos can help make you stand out to future employers and connections. Make a great impression by having a recent and professional photo of yourself. I'm not saying you have to get all fancy and hire a photographer (but if you want to, go for it!), just do what I did - drag your 15 year old brother outside with your iPhone to snap a few pictures in the gloomy Boston weather. Then spruce up the photo with minor edits such as decreasing the red saturation from your freezing cold cheeks, or photoshopping that piece of pepper out of your teeth that you AND your brother somehow failed to notice...thanks bro.

2. Grab potential employer's attention through your "About" section

Now this is something I only realized recently, the about section on your LinkedIn profile will be your best friend. This is basically where you give a summary about your life - including your current career status, skills, and highlighting your experiences. Don't get too wordy and keep it fun! No one wants to see bullet points of what you think you're good at...they want to hear WHY you're good at it and how you got there. Create your story in the about section and keep the audience interested.

3. Grow your network

If the word "networking" scares you as much as it did me a few years ago, it's time to let go of that fear and start connecting with anyone and everyone who could help you climb the ladder of success. First start off with connecting to everyone you personally know, even that random girl that everyone in your town seems to know but no one remembers how you know them...happens often for me. Making these connections will lead to more and more connections - but don't just connect and be done - get to know them, explore their profile and see what they've been up to since the last time you saw them in third period English class in 2015. There are so many benefits to building your network, but the main one is that you are putting yourself out there to be seen by so many people. You never know when one of your connections will lead you to right where you need to be.

4. Take skills assessments that cater to your future career

When I started applying for internships a few months ago, I kept getting asked if I wanted to take skills assessments. Me not knowing what it was, I decided to go through and take the assessment, I think it was for Photoshop or something in that realm. I basically was taking a quiz on Photoshop, which is a scary thought but if you know your stuff, you'll be fine AND you get to retake it as many times as you need. These assessments essentially become little badges on your LinkedIn profile which gives you an upper-hand when applying for jobs and internships. Though displaying your results isn't required, I highly recommend doing so!

5. Engage with connections in your feed

Lately I've caught myself scrolling through LinkedIn like it's my Facebook or Instagram feed... and I still can't decide if that's a really embarrassing statement or not. Well, you gotta do what you gotta do to engage with your connections and keep that relationship flowing. Congratulate John from your old internship for starting his new job at Geico, I think he'll appreciate it. When you add comments and likes to job updates, company announcements, etc., you are putting your name out there and making yourself a little bit more memorable. So next time you're scrolling through Instagram, think to yourself "hmmm let's go check out LinkedIn."

With all that being said, just remember that LinkedIn is your personal landing page for all recruiters and employers - make a good impression.

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