If you’re a functioning human being, you need to have a good LinkedIn profile.
“But Writtalin, I love my job!” said no one ever, “I would never want to leave!”
Not a valid excuse.
At some point in your future, you’ll either need or want to begin the job search anew, and you’ll kick yourself for not keeping your profile up-to-date when you had the resources to do so. Now it just looks like you’ve been working at the same pizza restaurant that you delivered for in high school for the past ten years. Good job you.
Keeping your LinkedIn profile relevant not only increases your credibility, but constantly opens you up to a world of opportunities with little additional work from you. Mind-blowing concept: you won’t have to scroll through Craigslist desperately hoping for the perfect job to appear. Recruiters and successful companies will come to you.
-Fill out everything. In full sentences.
See all of those blanks on your profile? “Honors and Awards,” “Extracurricular Organizations,” “Job Description,” “Summary,” etc.? Fill them with informative, fact-filled content about your life. Leave no stone unturned. Every certificate, piece of paper, plaque, or high five that you’ve ever received should be listed there.
People love getting recommendations, and LinkedIn is an easy way to trade them without awkwardly asking in person. This is also why keeping your profile up-to-date is important. You’re much more likely to get a great recommendation from someone you just worked with than your third grade best friend. Find your coworkers, managers, and classmates’ profiles, and endorse them for a bunch of skills – LinkedIn will usually prompt this at the top of the page. Then, write them an inbox message. First include some small talk, then ask that they recommend you for the work you did together (provide specifics to jog their memory of all of the fantastic things you did). Finally, offer to write them a recommendation in return. Ta-da! Credibility up the wazoo.
-Take a classy photo.
You’re not kidding anyone with your close-cropped photo from that one time you went wine tasting/attended your cousin’s wedding/went to prom and got wasted but generally looked nice and took a picture with twenty other people in it. Sacrifice a little pride and either have a friend snap a photo of you, or get a copy of an ID photo that you’ve taken at a previous job. Worst case scenario, you can take a selfie from your laptop video camera, but don’t underestimate how much effort it takes to make it not look like a selfie.
-Connect with everyone and their grandmother.
There is absolutely no reason not to connect with someone on LinkedIn. You won’t be tagged in inappropriate posts or photos, and all you can do is brag to other people about how accomplished you are. Even the creepy strangers who reach out to you are most likely just trying to hire you for a vague job, which, given your situation, might not be a bad thing. If you only have a basic profile, you can only message people that you have some sort of connection with, so connect away! Your second cousin might be that missing link you need to contact a future employer.
-Follow respectable, related organizations.
These include your university, previous employers (to show you’re still on good terms), and some extracurricular activities. A good extracurricular would be your greek organization. A bad one would be your adult softball league that’s officially called “BoozeBall.” This shows that you’re not on LinkedIn solely in your own self-interest. You want to stay up-to-date on current events and business news, and maintain connections.
This is going a bit above and beyond, but it makes you look like a classy real live adult. Choosing what to share on LinkedIn is easy: pick a major company (Apple, Google, Facebook, etc.) and post literally anything about them that’s generally related to your industry. At any given point, there will be something newsworthy going on in their sales/marketing/engineering/tech department that should be safe for you to share. Voila! You are well-informed, active in respectable social media, and generous in sharing information.
Go update your profile right now, and check in on it every time something changes in your professional life. If you’re actively looking for a job, log in daily. And when you have job offers being launched at you from every direction, write me a recommendation on LinkedIn.
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