Many young professionals, college students and even high school seniors, have expressed confusion and uncertainty in how to use LinkedIn. LinkedIn can seem like a daunting social network and many say that they don't know where to start. Think of LinkedIn as the professional Facebook. You want to use it to make connections and nurture relationships with professional contacts such as classmates, professors, coworkers and supervisors. Below are tips for getting started with LinkedIn and harnessing its power.
1. Complete your Profile
One of the greatest mistakes that new users make is leaving their profile incomplete. It reflects badly on your personal brand showing that you are either lazy or careless. Include a professional head shot, summary, contact information and your work experience. One important part to pay careful attention to is the headline. This is the fuel for being found on LinkedIn. Conduct research on keywords commonly used in job descriptions you are seeking. Recruiters and employers often look for candidates with a particular job title, and specify a city as another search parameter. For example "Social Media intern in New York City" is a much better headline than "Student at XYZ school."
Good example: As social media intern, I learned how to develop and manage a social content calendar for multiple platforms, encouraged engagement that led to the nurturing of client relationships and enjoyed working in a face-pace environment that involved strict deadlines. During my time managing client accounts, there was a 30% increase in engagement and 10% increase in the social media fan base.
2. Share industry news and become a source of information.
Professionals love to read, find and engage information constantly. Become a source of information by reading about the latest happenings in your industry and providing your own perspective on it with a short comment. LinkedIn Today is a section of the website you should visit that is designed for bringing your industry news to you. Share your work and internship projects and assignments as well as blog posts that you have written. Using the status update, you can keep your contacts up to date on what you are doing professionally as well. Try to share something a few days a week to keep your profile fresh.
3. Grow your network.
LinkedIn is a platform that is driven by the connections that you make with others. Don't be afraid to connect with those you haven't met in person. You should use LinkedIn to connect with and maintain contact with professionals, those you want to learn from and those with similar interests as you.
The Contact Settings section allows you to state the best way to reach you, and this is a great place to list an e-mail address, a phone number, website and Twitter handle. You want to make sure that those who are interested in learning more about you can reach you and that your settings allow for you to receive introductions, InMail and 3rd party connections to see your profile.
Note: when you ask someone to connect with you and send them a request, make sure you tailor the message and say why you are looking to connect and how you came across their profile. Highlight any mutual connections, group memberships, school affiliations or employers that you may have in common.
4. Join groups. They are a great way to network and discover connections with your interests.
Some groups for students and recent graduates would be:
Connect with me: Add Emmelie De La Cruz on LinkedIn