6 Steps to Owning LinkedIn

Posted by | May 14, 2014 | Tips for Interns

I’m always surprised by how few people I know are using LinkedIn. It seems like a pretty common sense thing to me: it doesn’t matter if you’re still in school, have an internship or a stable job, you need a LinkedIn profile. It’s the Facebook for professionals, allowing you to portray yourself in the best light possible. Whenever you apply for a job, you can be quite sure that the recruiter will Google you, so why not make sure they find your LinkedIn profile, where they can learn more about you as an employee?

Whether you have a LinkedIn profile, or are just thinking of creating one (give yourself an edge this exam season, instead of YouTubing cats, create a LinkedIn profile, seriously!), read on to make sure that you know what you’re doing with it!


1. Picture Perfect

First things first, make sure you uploaded a picture to your LinkedIn profile. As fun as stalking other people with an empty profile might be, leave that for Facebook. You are using LinkedIn to show off what you can do. So make sure that people who Google you find the right person. This is especially important if you have a rather common name. I don’t have to mention that your picture should actually be fit for public consumption, right? No surprise snap shots from a night out with your friends, please!

2. Make The Headlines

Your  headline is your selling point. This is the big thing that will get you noticed, so choose wisely. Don’t equate getting noticed with standing out – it isn’t always the best idea. Make sure your headline is concise and shows off who you are, without going overboard. After all, someone in a creative line of work has more wiggle room with originality in order to catch the recruiter’s eyes than, say, someone in accounts. Decide what kind of job you’d want to have and have your headline reflect that.

3. Tell Your Story

But don’t do it in the summary – leave that be for now. Fill out the education and experience sections with as much information as you remember. You don’t necessarily have to add your primary school here, that’s going a bit overboard. Start with your secondary education and work your way up to third level, if you’ve attended. List any jobs you want people to know about but really think about it. Did that pet sitting gig you had over the summer give you any skills which can be used in other jobs? If so, list them. If not, skip it. When it comes to filling out the summary, don’t repeat yourself; list your accomplishments rather than duties.

4. Level Up!

You will be prompted to provide a list of skills you have, which people will be able to endorse you for. Again, use your judgement while filling out this section. While you might have made some photo manips on Meme Generator, it doesn’t necessarily give you Graphic Design skills. Don’t lie, don’t overstate. If you’re drawing blanks (I know I did when I was filling my profile out), Google job descriptions for positions you’ve held and see if you have any of the listed skills. If you haven’t had a job yet, think back to what you’ve learned at school. Microsoft Office suite is a pretty standard thing to learn while at school, so you might want to add that. Do people compliment you on your organization skills? Definitely brag about that in the skills section!

5. Check It Out

Run spell check on what you wrote. Re-read it out loud, that way you’ll be able to hear the flow of the sentences and catch any which might sound awkward. Make sure your past jobs are described in the Past tense and your current one in Present Continuous. Have someone close to you read through it, or leave it be for a few hours and come back with a fresh set of eyes. This is extremely important, typos and grammar mistakes can diminish your chances!

6. Spread The Word

Share your profile on your other social media sites and ask to connect with people you know. Once you get some connections, ask them to recommend you for your past positions. Don’t forget to return the favour, it’s only good manners!

Do you have a LinkedIn profile? Do you find it useful? Let me know in the comments!


— Author: Lena Zwolak

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