How to be successful on LinkedIn

By Mallory Cromer

It’s that time of year again. The holidays are over and spring semester is upon us, which means summer will be quickly approaching. For many students, including me, this means scrambling to figure out internship plans (and for some particularly nostalgic seniors – plans for their postgraduate career). No matter what stage you are at in your college endeavors, a polished LinkedIn profile is a must-have for all students hoping to impress future employers.

LinkedIn is used as a recruiting tool for employers and is currently the number one professional networking platform with over 500 million profiles. Consequently, the challenge is making your profile attract attention in such a large candidate pool. Whether you are sweating over your tentative plans for the summer or you have already secured a job, LinkedIn is the perfect place to showcase your skills, grow your network and manage your professional identity. Here are five simple, yet helpful tips to boost your profile and maximize your LinkedIn experience: 

  1.     Use a professional picture

First things first – make sure your profile picture is professional. This seems simple, but your picture is one of the first impressions that employers will have when viewing your profile. Attire may depend on the industry you are going for, but business casual is a good rule of thumb.

  1.     Write a compelling summary

Although it is tempting, do not use the summary LinkedIn generates, and definitely do not leave it blank! Use this as a chance to expand your headline and showcase your writing skills and personality. Along with your picture, the summary is one of the first things people see in your profile. In addition to this, summary content plays into the search results for employers. Research keywords from your desired industry to increase your chances of showing up in a search. Be sure to write in first person and keep it concise, yet informative. This information should complement what you have on your resume, which you can also upload to your profile.

  1.     Connect with alumni

Now that your profile has been mastered, make meaningful connections. Connecting with all of your friends is great, but take it a step further by connecting with alumni from your college. Fellow alumni are more likely to connect with you over random strangers, and it does not hurt to reach out to them with questions. This is especially helpful if you met them at a campus event or club meeting, because it helps solidify your interaction with them and expand your network. 

  1.     Research prospective employers

LinkedIn is an easy way to find and follow companies you are interested in. Once you are following them, you will stay in the know about what the company is up to and if any positions you are interested in open up. This will be especially helpful when interview time rolls around and you have lots of prior knowledge about their recent accomplishments. 

  1.     Stay engaged

Continue to update your profile as you progress through your college career and beyond. Add to the experience and skills sections when necessary. Join groups and contribute to them regularly. Share and comment on content that inspires you, or even share your own content. Endorse your classmate’s or colleague’s skills. All of these things will help get your name out there and increase your chances of getting noticed by potential employers.

Use these tips and your chances of being employed post-grad will skyrocket. Happy connecting!