If you're a college student and you're not on LinkedIn, you could be missing out on some (literally) life-changing opportunities. LinkedIn is not just for CEOs and fancy business people. I'm sure you've heard that LinkedIn is Facebook for the professional world, and just like Facebook, everyone is on it!
So, if you've already created a LinkedIn profile, or if you're ready to join, keep these tips in mind to perfect your profile.
1. Add A Picture - Any Picture
You may have heard that your LinkedIn profile picture MUST be a professional headshot. I'm here to tell you that's not true. In fact, a LinkedIn expert once told me that it's much better to use a selfie than have no picture at all. Of course, try to use the most professional selfie you have. You can even find a nice top, a clean background and a friend who has an iPhone with portrait mode and make your own "headshot." Just don't leave your profile photo blank!
2. Strengthen Your Network
Just like Facebook, LinkedIn does a good job of figuring out who you know. Once you add a few connections, you're bound to start recognizing some of the suggested connections. Add away! Don't be afraid to add professors or people you work with. These are the people that may be able to connect you to others! I would even recommend adding friends from high school. You never know who might help you make a connection with a future employer.
3. Add A Summary
Adding a summary to your profile is very important because it gives people an idea of who you are and what you want. This is especially important if you are searching for an internship or job. The summary is the first thing that people will look at when they visit your profile and it's really the only way that your profile visitors will know what you're interested in. If they see that all of your experience is in hospitality, but you know that you're looking for a career in sports, make sure you say that or else they won't know! Otherwise, you may end up with a lot of useless connections.
4. Share Posts
If you connect with professionals that work in your desired industry and have similar interests, they're bound to post some content that will interest you. The first step is to share that information on your profile. If you share someone's post, it will get their attention and show them that you are also interested in that topic. It also shows other profile viewers that you are active on LinkedIn and interested in learning more about your industry. If you don't have an active LinkedIn profile, it's basically the same as not having one at all.
5. Create Posts
Once you're comfortable with sharing other people's posts on LinkedIn, it's time to take the next step and post your own. Maybe you saw an interesting article involving a leading company in your industry of interest on Reddit. It's as simple as sharing that article on LinkedIn to get some attention from the right people. Make sure you use a hashtag or two with your post (yes, hashtags are a thing on LinkedIn!). If you want to take it a step further, you can even share posts that you created yourself (links to articles, graphics, reports, photos, etc.). It's good to show off!
6. Update Your Profile
Just like you keep your Instagram and Facebook profiles updated, it's important to update your LinkedIn as well. Started a new volunteer opportunity? Post about it! Finished a semester-long group project? Post about it! Earned a certification or award? Post about it! Providing an updated look at your interests and accomplishments will allow you to find the best opportunities and connect with the people who will help you the most.