Getting LinkedIn to Work for You

By Jessie LeTarte

If you’re like me, on the cusp of graduation, you’re probably looking for a way to make connections that could lead to a career. Well, here’s an easy answer for you; get on LinkedIn. Yes, the social media site that everyone knows, but no one seems to actually use.

This is a young professional’s best friend

You may have heard LinkedIn described as the, “Facebook for professionals.” I hate that description. It’s uninformative, and gives a totally different idea of how LinkedIn should actually work. In my opinion, LinkedIn is the Rolodex of the 21st century. It allows you to connect instantly to people, and grow your professional network digitally.

With LinkedIn potential employers can see your resume, what skills you have and endorsements of your work by people you’ve worked with. By utilizing LinkedIn wisely, you can keep in touch with people you might not have ever seen again. So, now that I’ve convinced you how great LinkedIn is, I bet you’re thinking that you just have to upload your resume and be done with it? Nuh-uh. Here are some quick tips on the best way LinkedIn can help you with job hunting.

  • Use a tasteful picture of yourself.

Please, no goofy t-shirts or open beers. This picture is supposed to be a first impression, make it a good one. Don’t use photos with Instagram filters or of you making a kissy face, either.

  • Write a great summary.

Like a photo, the summary is another first impression. It’s a space where you get to sum up your experience in your own words, as well as explain in detail what skills you know. Make sure you talk about you, not the company you worked for. You’re selling yourself. Highlight your accomplishments and your experience.

  • Add skills and ask for recommendations.

One of the great, new things about LinkedIn is the “Skills & Expertise” section. Like a typical resume, you can add skills such as, press release writing, social media or media relations. Unlike an old-fashioned resume, people in your network can endorse your proficiency in those skills. Having endorsements from previous employers is a great way to show that you can actually do the skills you say you can.

  • Write updates with what you’re currently working on, or interesting information about your field.

This isn’t Facebook, no one needs to know about the funny thing your cat did. But, it is important that you let your network know any projects you’ve done recently. Posting interesting articles about your field shows that you’re dedicated to learning. Engage with your network, and comment on what they post, too.

  • When asking to connect, write a personal message.

LinkedIn’s standard message for asking to connect is a little… lacking. When you want to add someone to your network, write a short note detailing where you met. If they’ve done something to help you out, thank them. A lot of professionals get requests from random people. Reminding them how you know each other adds a personal touch.

With technology ever changing, it’s important for young professionals to get ahead of the game in any way that they can. Utilizing LinkedIn could make the difference between that first entry-level job and being a barista for the next five years.

I have nothing but respect for baristas.


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