Think about the most iconic symbols in history: Nike, Coca Cola, McDonalds, and Apple, to name a few. How are we able to instantly recognize these companies by their logo? Branding. In today’s society, we are all attempting to capture as much attention as we can. How can we do that on an individual scale? One way to do this is by using LinkedIn. In the same way companies use branding to attract customers, you can use branding to attract employers.
Continue on to learn the top 5 tips for LinkedIn success!
Tip #1 Build out your profile
When I say “build out”, I really mean “build out”. LinkedIn provides many opportunities for anyone to share as much about their professional portfolio as possible, and it’s important to take advantage of this opportunity. It's important to have a complete profile, and fill out as much information as possible!
1. Take the time to share a short description about yourself in the About section (write in 1st person, not 3rd)
2. Add in your work AND volunteer experience (such as tutoring with RWD :) )! These are valuable pieces of information that the world should know.
Under each experience, it is recommended to do a bullet point list and start each bullet point with an action verb.
Any past experiences should be in past tense and any current work or volunteer obligations should be in present tense.
3. Add in your education (high school and/or college), and also feel free to add any courses, certifications, or licenses you have.
4. Add a professional photo.
Upload a professional headshot of yourself to brand your profile!
Pro tip: Treat your LinkedIn profile like a detailed resume. You are your best marketer. No one can market yourself better than you can! LinkedIn is an opportunity for you to do that.
Tip #2: Join LinkedIn groups
There are so many groups on LinkedIn that you can join where you can learn from other professionals! There are groups for thousands of different topics, and I recommend you find groups dedicated to subjects you want to learn or may be interested in. Use this opportunity to find ways to directly learn and garner resources from professionals in these fields.
Pro tip: Request to join private groups! I would recommend you have a built out profile first though.
Tip #3: Leverage LinkedIn’s job board
Most companies and organizations are on LinkedIn. If you are looking to intern or are searching for a job, LinkedIn gives you direct access to all jobs at the touch of your fingertips. You can get detailed information about any job all in one place. This includes access to any company’s LinkedIn profile, where you can see who the employees at that company are, as well as any social media updates that may interest you!
Pro tip: Build out as much of your LinkedIn profile as possible. I know I keep reiterating this, but LinkedIn’s artificial intelligence algorithm recommends jobs that are similar to the work you may have on your profile. For example, if you have a lot of skills and experience related to marketing and social media management on your profile, you will get a totally different selection of jobs from someone who may have more hospital or lab experience on their profile. Even if both parties type “intern” into the search bar, totally different results will show up!
Tip #4: Highlight your personal side
LinkedIn sometimes has been dubbed the “Facebook for professionals”, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make your LinkedIn personal. If you have a side blog, make music in your own time, have a podcast with a friend, create graphic design projects, or are a freelance video editor, you should add it to your profile! Everyone is unique and it is important to share the things you are passionate about that may or may not be aligned with the work or volunteer opportunities you are currently involved in.
Pro tip: Add direct links to relevant websites in your “About” or “Featured” section to highlight what makes you unique!
Tip #5: Add connections
The point of LinkedIn isn’t just about building out a profile and not adding any connections. No one will be able to see your profile if you don’t connect with anyone. Find friends who have a profile and connect with them. If you have a mentor or teacher who has a LinkedIn profile, add them. The more connections you have, the more robust your profile will be!
Pro tip: If you add someone and are unsure if they remember you, my suggestion would be to add a note to your request and share how and where you know them. This brings them more clarity and allows the person to connect you with an instance in their life. Also, make sure to connect with Read Write Discover!
BONUS Tip #6: Ask for recommendations
As we all progress in our lives, graduate from school, and enter the workforce, it’s important to take notice of your accomplishments. If you have a professor in a class that you liked and could attest to your skills, don’t be shy to ask for a LinkedIn recommendation. The same goes for a manager, a peer or someone you worked with, even someone you may have managed. Recommendations contribute to your brand, as proof of being a leader, collaborator, and hard worker.
Pro tip: LinkedIn recommendations are public on your profile, so it’s totally fine to ask your recommender to cover certain key points or highlights.
Best of luck on building out your LinkedIn profile! I’m looking forward to seeing your amazing work, and just remember, you are your best marketer!