Many young professionals don’t give LinkedIn much thought as a social platform. They may think it's something they filled out during a college class to get credit or set up years ago and have not touched it since. It seems to be one of those boxes to check to start your ‘professional career.’ However, it’s really one of the strongest tools to communicate your experience and background. That’s why it’s so important to have updated information like an appropriate headshot, intro, education and experience listed (including internships). You need a complete LinkedIn profile to be the most effective, especially when job hunting.
Young professionals may think LinkedIn is not a fun or glamorous platform like Instagram and they don’t get to show off their beautiful vacation photos and 5pm cocktails. But what it is, is an important platform that many use to search for employment candidates, job postings, freelancers, contractors and vendors and overall professional networking. It’s the best place to show off your work accomplishments, skills, past experience and volunteer work so that you can network virtually. It can also be the best place to level up in your career and allow employers to find you.
In fact, I hired an employee by searching LinkedIn and finding a candidate, based on their experience, that I thought would be a great fit. I contacted her on the platform and set up an interview. A month later, she joined the team. It works!
Below are some of the best ways to do that through your LinkedIn account.
Build Your Living Resume
Resumes that capture all your experience, especially a seasoned career professional, seems impossible. It’s not easy to fit your life into a one or even two-page document. It's a document that you only pull out when you need it, and it can often be outdated. Consider LinkedIn your living resume online that you continually update and maintain throughout your career. It stays updated and ready for folks to preview.
On LinkedIn, you can have all your past employment outlined with well-rounded descriptions that capture the work you did for that company (or internship). You should add any volunteer work, sorority/fraternity roles, awards, computer skills and even a career objective to your profile. And when you start a new job, you can announce it to your friends while simultaneously adding it to your living resume.
Create a Portfolio
You should have a place to display your work if the job you have now, or in the future, involves any kind of content creation. If you already have a portfolio website, or even if you don’t, LinkedIn is a great place to showcase your best work for everyone to see it.
You can insert your best work to the “About” section at the top of your profile. A creative way to up your “Experience” section is to add some of your projects from each job to their description on your page.
Grow Your Network
This may be the most important part of your LinkedIn profile. It could be considered the Facebook of the professional world. You might be connected with everyone from your neighbor growing up to your work mentor, and each of these connections are connected to so many more people. LinkedIn will not only show you friends of friends but second and third level connections. There’s no reason to be shy about sending connection requests. It’s one of the main points of LinkedIn — to help us network. Go ahead and send that connection request to someone in your dream industry. Keep in mind that they may not connect with you, but it’s worth a shot.
Hopefully with these tips you will get started on revamping and updating your LinkedIn profile that will push your career and network to the next level.
Make sure to check out The Importance of Networking for some more tips on growing your network.
Well, that’s all I have for now.
Thanks to Emily McWilliams for her assistance with this blog post.