“So what’s your plan after graduation?” This is arguably the most dreaded question a person can ask a college student. Roughly 80% of students change their major throughout school, either due to disinterest, competitiveness, or difficulty. I changed my major twice; Nursing when I applied to school, then Economics the first week, and then finally History when I realized I wanted to study my passion. The only issue with not having a plan after graduation, or majoring in one of your passions, is that you have to find it within yourself to pave your pathway to success.
As most first-time LinkedIn users, I began using my LinkedIn profile to scan businesses and job opportunities, as well as expanding my network to friends and family. Transitioning my role from LinkedIn user to LinkedIn utilizer, I am now using the site to benefit business growth for my clients. As our company slogan states, LinkedIn is business, not social.
Since I began work at Intero as LinkedIn Coach and Lead Generation Specialist, I have viewed over 2,000 profiles, sent hundreds of messages and have spent over 150 hours on LinkedIn, learning something new each day. It’s fascinating how much power one website has, and how much it can constantly be changing to become something better.
During these searches, I have developed my own list of tips that all LinkedIn beginners and long-time members should know. Whether you’re brand new to LinkedIn, or have been using the site for years, make sure you’ve covered all of these bases.
- Profile pictures:
It may seem obvious to include profile pictures on this list, but having an appropriate profile picture is so important. We have written about this one before, but it can never be written too much. When someone searches for you on LinkedIn, the first thing they see is your profile picture. When you meet someone for the first time, first impressions are everything, right? Same goes for LinkedIn. When I source potential leads, I may skip over certain people simply because they have an unprofessional profile picture. Please, don’t post a selfie, a family photo, a beach vacation photo, a mirror picture, or a picture of you with a beer in your hand. Invest in a quality, professional headshot. My first LinkedIn profile picture was taken right outside my office using a digital camera. Just make sure the lighting is right, you’re wearing an appropriate shirt and smile!
Your summary is a statement about who you are and what your purpose is; write about what you do and why you do it. You can also include what you enjoy and how that helps you progress in your career. Include your passions and how those support your decisions in your career and in life. But always, always remember to keep your summary up to date and relevant towards your jobs and experiences. Your summary is a necessary component of your profile, read more about these Helpful Tools to Update Your LinkedIn Profile.
- Sharing content:
Sharing content is very important because it will move your profile up in searches. This means that when someone is searching for a professional with your expertise, you will appear higher on the search results list because of your presence on LinkedIn. Share content that is relevant to you and your career and passions. And remember that quantity does not equate to quality – keeping your shares to 1-2 informative or valuable posts per day is a better strategy than over sharing. Consistency is key. If you recently got a job promotion, make a status update and share that exciting news with your connections. Always interact with your connections through the posts that they share as well. Whether you’re commenting, liking, or sharing, being active through the content on LinkedIn can add value to your LinkedIn profile. Check out this post on how to publish if you’re unfamiliar with this process.
- Staying connected:
Again, quality over quantity. You may have heard the more connections you have, the better. Though having tons of connections will make you appear higher in searches, having quality connections is very important because you want to have the ability to reach out to your connections. Reaching out to those connections can connect you with 2nd and 3rd level connections, further expanding your network and presence on LinkedIn. Make sure you’re expanding your network with users you know, or users who send you a message with their connection request. Writing a personalized message in your connection request makes the request more personal, heightening the chances the user will accept. Want to learn more about how to expand your network? Click here to read more.
- Logging in and staying up to date:
This is arguably the most important tip. Remember to log into your LinkedIn account as frequently as possible. Ideally, you should be logging in daily to stay up to date with your connections and content. Check your messages and connection requests. All you need is 5 minutes to scroll through your newsfeed and notifications.
*Side note: If you switch jobs, update your profile so people know you’re not the Manager, COO, and Account Executive at 3 different corporations.
You might read these tips and think, “Well of course I do all of those things!” but you’d be surprised by the vast majority of people whose profiles don’t have the proper profile photo, have an outdated summary, show as working in 5 different positions, and have 12 connections. Always stay connected, stay up to date, and interact with your LinkedIn community! To make all of this easier, download the mobile app so you can access your account while you’re on the go.