“Just take the picture”
“Isn’t that Molly’s blazer? It looks way too big.”
“OH MY GOSH, take the picture!”
I was exasperated, I had been standing against the only white wall in my house, in my sister’s blazer, with hair curled and a fake smile plastered across my face in hopes of capturing the perfect headshot for my LinkedIn profile picture. I had heard about the magical world of LinkedIn and I knew I needed to join the bandwagon.
LinkedIn is a space to further develop your online professional identity, make connections, and get a head start to launching your career. According to Kent Anderson, author of The Rise of LinkedIn, “the platform is growing rapidly to serve the fast growing community of users.” LinkedIn is growing at a fast pace. It’s time for you to join the conversation.
Setting up your profile can be a process but there is a whole wide world full of YouTube tutorials! Yes, I repeat YOUTUBE Tutorials on LinkedIn! One of my absolute favorites is called the InternQueen! She gives step by step directions on how to set up a profile, polish a profile, and connect. Her channel is full of professional insights all packed into a conveniently short video of five and a half minutes.
Fontbonne’s Director of Career Development Christine Keller also gave me great insights into the basics of LinkedIn and how to make my profile unique.
From the feedback and guidance I have gathered, I am pretty excited about my LinkedIn profile. You can be, too! Make sure your LinkedIn profile is ready to publish by following these tips:
Perfect the profile picture
Your profile picture is the window to your soul… Not really, but your profile picture is incredibly important. You want to choose a picture that is a professional shot of your face. Employers and people who want to connect are looking to see who you are and your profile picture is the first step. If your profile picture is that selfie of you skydiving, you’re most likely going to give off the wrong impression. This profile picture does not have to be a professional headshot; just be sure to look professional, with a neutral environment behind you.
Craft your bio/mission statement
Your biography sets the tone for the rest of your profile. Give a brief description of your current position, but then hit them with a powerful sentence about who you actually are and what you actually want to do. Keller explained to me that a mission statement gives employers a taste of who you are, and makes you unique to the million of other LinkedIn users. Mission statements are created especially for you and your life goals. For example, on Microsoft’s LinkedIn page their mission statement is one sentence that catches the reader’s attention. Keep the mission statement short and powerful to set the tone for the rest of your profile.
Don’t compare. Make connections.
This was the hardest part for me. As I listed out my experiences, I realized I did not measure up to what other LinkedIn users had on their profile. Someone had “ambassador for peace corps.” That is amazing. Then I went back to my profile and began to feel insecure.
You cannot let yourself feel less than—LinkedIn is all about connecting, job searching, and developing into the professional you are. LinkedIn is shared by all ages of people, so if you stumble upon a 30 year old with an exceptional resume, do not freak out that you are 20 and have nothing that compares to them; instead, message them and see if they would share their experience on how they got to where they are.
Embrace the creepiness
Before you embark on searching LinkedIn for people with your dream career, remember users are notified when their profile is viewed. LinkedIn notifies people when their profile has been reviewed, so if you do not know the person at all, refrain from scrolling through their profile unless you really want to connect.
In the for Journal of Accountancy, David Fisher stated that, “Always remember that this is your network. Who you are or are not connected to is always your choice. In addition, remember to listen to the other profiles around you, be open to learning and be open to being ignored.” Use LinkedIn with intent to either connect, educate, or progress. The image below is an example of how LinkedIn notifies you that your profile has been viewed.
Make sure your LinkedIn profile speaks to who you are today, and who you want to be in the future. To students the world of LinkedIn can be daunting. But your LinkedIn profile is not going to stay bare forever. Post about each internship you have through your college career.
When you have your first real job, remember to write that too. Don’t be afraid to talk about the future, but Keller recommends to remove “I” statements. If your future plan is graduate school do not say “I plan to go to graduate school” say “Plan to attend graduate school.” Make it clear from your profile that you have plans that will be followed.
LinkedIn is an amazing platform with endless opportunities for connections. LinkedIn is a space to share your professional portfolio and start making connections for your dream career. Remember, put your best foot forward with a professional profile picture and an eye catching mission statement. Do not search people just to search; reach out with intention, because LinkedIn can and will tattle tale on you.
Lastly, embrace your place in life and remember LinkedIn is all about growing your network and career possibilities. LinkedIn: love it or hate it, you need it.