LinkedIn for Newbies: Yes, You Need One

Ah yes, LinkedIn. The social media for professionals. To start us off, here is a very favorite clip of mine from 30 Rock:

So Jack Donaghy may believe he’s above LinkedIn, but not everyone feels this way. I’m writing this post in response to Undercover Recruiter’s (@UndercoverRec) tweet that I retweeted:

To not get hired because you’re not on LinkedIn would be awful because it’s actually an excellent resource that everyone, regardless of whether or not you are a job seeker, should be using.

Here are five tips that I would suggest when it comes to LinkedIn:

1. Have a complete and accurate profile with an appropriate picture.

Example of a profile picture.

Simple jewelry, clean hair, and just so happy to be here. Note that I’m not daging or showing off.

LinkedIn not only makes initial set up easy by allowing you to upload your current resume, but it actually is constantly encouraging you to update your profile and provide more details.

While you may only include two to three previous jobs on your current resume, your LinkedIn profile is an appropriate place to list literally any and all work experience that you’ve had. You never know what qualities someone else is looking for, even if you may believe it to be unrelated to a job you’re seeking.

While filling out your information, be consistent in your voice, have your page be free of typos and grammar errors, and use your summary section to present what you can contribute, not what your goals are!

2. Recommendations are important. Endorsements are more like likes on Facebook and Instagram or favorites on Twitter.

Endorse people within or out of your network genuinely. You should not be endorsing people for things you don’t know they’re successful at. However, endorsements are a nice way of flattering and gaining attention.

Recommendations are incredibly important. You may say that you are a forward thinker that drives results, but to have another person go out of their way to announce that to others gives you serious credibility. How do you get recommendations? If someone you work with has given you an accolade or complement, thank them immediately. If the conversation deems it appropriate, mention how great it would be if you were able to include that on your LinkedIn.

Another way to gain recommendations? Try giving one! If you work with someone who is truly amazing and has gone above and beyond in a project or career that you were directly involved with, recommend them.

3. Network with purpose, and know who you’re networking with!

Funny story: I requested to connect with my dad on LinkedIn when I was just starting out. I didn’t bother to change the generic message that says,

“I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.

– Meredith Greer”.

I received a message back saying that he was refusing to connect with me because it looked like spam, and in the future to always cater my message to the person I’m reaching out to. At this point in time, I am still not connected with my dad on LinkedIn.

And, like the Undercover Recruiter article states, not knowing who you’re interacting with on LinkedIn is a huge mistake.

I connect with students I would say hi to.

I connect with professors whose classes I enjoyed and was successful in.

I connect with professionals who I’ve reached out to for classes, extracurricular, or internship purposes.

I connect with coworkers.

If there is someone on LinkedIn that you want to connect with, but you don’t know them personally, change that! Reach out to them in a message, on Twitter, via email, or call them up! Ask for a quick interview, ask for advice, mention something you have in common, or be completely honest and say that you admire their career path. Once you’ve gotten your (positive) response, connect on LinkedIn saying that you’d appreciate staying in touch professionally.

4. Join groups that are of interest to you and engage.

I am currently a part of PRSSA, PRSSA Delaware Chapter, Social Media Marketing, and three different University of Delaware networks. Like forums, I’ll follow along posts and get a feel for the conversations. Once I understand the dynamics of the group, I contribute either with meaningful comments or ask questions. Asking for advice from a network of hundreds of professionals in an industry is a good idea.

5. Creep.

I’m so serious. You guys thought Facebook stalking was fun? Well, here’s the work version. If I am even remotely interested in applying for a job, I immediately follow the company on LinkedIn and begin looking up contacts at the company. What could be better than finding out a recruiter had the same first job as you? Or even just being well informed before an interview can make all the difference between getting a position or getting rejected.

To cap everything off, feel free to follow me on twitter and check out this amazing and inspiring article filled with career advice from the founder of LinkedIn himself, Reid Hoffman.


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