So, you’ve created your LinkedIn profile. You’ve uploaded your headshot, your relevant experience, your education history, your skills — you’ve even started growing your network!
Now that you’ve set up your profile, how exactly do you start to utilize LinkedIn to your benefit? What content do you post? How often should you post? How do you broaden your online network, while still maintaining meaningful connections? In order to start really putting your profile to use, here are some do’s and don’ts as you begin to navigate the world of LinkedIn:
DO: Keep your profile active and up to date.
Remember that you’re building a professional snapshot of yourself and your accomplishments; be proud of everything you’ve done! Make sure to update your experiences on your profile as often as you would with your resume. That being said, where do you begin? If you find yourself at a loss for how exactly to build up your LinkedIn profile, head on over to the O’Brien Center for Career Development and simply ask for help! The O’Brien Center is an excellent source to guide and advise you on gaining professional headway — use it to your advantage!
You can begin to set up your LinkedIn profile by setting your headshot as your profile picture, a short description of yourself under the “About” section, your relevant experience from prior jobs, volunteer experiences, and extracurricular activities you were and are involved in (especially any leadership positions you may hold!), and special skills you possess. You may even want to start reaching out and making some connections with your peers! Once you’ve set up the basics, the O’Brien Center can assist you in how to keep your profile up and running, how to alter your sentence structure and word usage in order to make a desirable impression on those viewing your page, and the relevant content you may want to begin posting! Try to get a feel for the website and the presence you seek to achieve. This can help you to prepare specific questions you may need to be answered to make your profile the best it can be!
DON’T: Only update your profile information. Make sure to stay active and post often!
CareerSherpa.net recommends at least one post a day if you are searching for employment. If you’re simply looking to strengthen your connections, at least one post a week should suffice. Your posts can encompass a variety of content; in fact, a diverse collection of content makes your profile more interesting! Congratulate members of your network on important professional anniversaries or promotions, make a general post requesting or providing professional advice, post whenever you start a new position or receive an academic or professional award, post your favorite motivational mantras or quotes, or industry-relevant articles or research you stumble upon. Just don’t get carried away and post too often — you may begin to clutter your network’s feed unnecessarily and have your posts ignored by the very people you seek to impress!
DO: Have a good balance of posts comprised of campus news, news related to the position(s) you’re involved in, personal promotion, and promotion of others in your network.
This means posting about any promotions you receive to Executive Board positions, any awards and recognition you receive, posting when you begin a new internship or co-op, posting your promotion to captain of a sports team, any time you attend a conference, and anything else along these lines! Always remember to congratulate others and cheer on your peers in your network as well for their own accomplishments.
As you will recall from above, diversified content makes for an interesting profile. Once you’ve decided upon the desired frequency of your posts on your profile, you can begin to develop an exemplary balance of posts with media, industry research, updating your accomplishments, and cheering on your peers. You can even mix up your content and repost news relating to other interests you may have beyond those you display on a regular basis in your particular field (just remember to keep it professional!).
DON’T: Treat your posts and profile as you would with your Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter profiles.
Yes, LinkedIn is a form of social media; however, this is your professional profile. Think of your posts and the information you choose to share as others’ first impression of you — make it a good one! Always remember the importance of staying professional.
LinkedIn is a great platform to enhance and build your professional brand online, while other forms of social media serve more as a means to developing a personal brand (still, keep in mind that your personal forms of social media are still accessible to potential employers. You should try to remain consistent in presenting yourself well across all mediums of social media!). Themuse.com points towards LinkedIn’s recommendations feature as a great option to help you to broaden your professional brand. Essentially, this option allows for you to request comments from other members in your network (past employers, peers, coworkers, etc.) that endorse your character and reputation. You may even be asked to return the favor as well!
Aside from LinkedIn, it’s important to make your professional brand extend beyond simply your LinkedIn profile. Themuse.com recommends its readers to consider their professional brand on Twitter and Facebook as well by making sure your profiles are complete, up-to-date, and active with content that displays aspects of your personality. This can allow for those interested in your LinkedIn profile to get an idea of who you are beyond your posts on one single platform.
DO: Reach out to those you know on LinkedIn to broaden your network.
Don’t be afraid to request a connection with your classmates, former professors, peers, coworkers, acquaintances, career advisor and anyone else you may wish in order to build a meaningful network!
DON’T: Connect with people you don’t know just to increase the amount of connections you have and broaden your network.
It’s much more appropriate and helpful for you to connect with people you know in order to truly strengthen your network and keep it authentic.
DO: Share some of your favorite websites and online tools to help others in their professional lives.
Your network will appreciate you sharing your expertise that you’ve learned, especially since many of them may reside in the same industry as you. If you find an online tool, website, or other resources that may be of use to your peers, pay it forward and help those around you, and encourage others to do the same.
DO: Learn from your network.
Feel free to scroll through your own feed and get some ideas of what to post from your growing network. Find out what content receives the most engagement, content you find yourself gravitating towards, how to best craft a post with appropriate and professional language, and get a feel for the environment on LinkedIn.
Your LinkedIn profile serves as an additional platform for you to make professionally meaningful connections and further your networking opportunities beyond those you have in person. The only way to achieve the engagement and attention of potential employers you want is to keep your profile active and up-to-date. These essential do’s and don’ts of LinkedIn can provide you a beginner’s guide on how to make your online presence the best it can be!
Looking for even more LinkedIn tips? Check out this great article from Resumelab!