LinkedIn 101: Networking Like a Pro

LinkedIn was a game changer when it entered the App world as an innovative hybrid between a social media and business platform. While many of us might have sat through a classic high school marketing class where we were forced to make a LinkedIn account as a teenager, the App takes on an entirely new usefulness when you're older. Especially if you're a senior, there's no better time to start looking ahead and thinking about how you can expand your professional circle. Here are a few hot tips on how to take your profile to the next level and start making your dream opportunities a reality! 

Re-vamping Your Profile 

There's a few ways to take your profile page to the next level and tweak the details to ensure employers see the important stuff right away. 

Bio- Make sure your bio gets straight to the point and explains your current situation in the most eloquent terms possible- this means if you're just a student and don't have an internship or position right now, get creative!

Marketing yourself as if you're your own personal brand gets you in the mindset of advertising your most profitable skills- instead of "English student at Rollins College", maybe you name yourself an "English major specializing in creative and editorial writing." It's also great to say what you're looking for right in the first line to make it easy to stand out, like on a dating app- "Business administration student seeking Financial Analysis opportunities." 

Attachments- Take advantage of the file upload option on LinkedIn, and have an updated copy of your Resume uploaded at all times. Make sure your Resume's file is titled with your last name, or first and last name. This way, when employers are weeding through hundreds of applications and switching between tabs to compare candidates, your resume won't get lost in the shuffle. 

If you have writing samples that have been published, a public project or a content portfolio you've developed, this is the perfect place to attach the link. A profile page without a resume or some sample work attached is not likely to stand out. If you do happen to have some work you can show off on the site, mention that in your bio if you don't currently have a job. Example: "Journalist- see featured posts for samples." Pointing people in the right direction shows you're proud of your work and want to show it off. 

No Selfies- Period.

Obviously not everyone has a perfect headshot with a plain background, or a professional photographer at their service to snap a studio-worthy shot. I've seen countless different profile photos on my LinkedIn feed that range from semi-professional to downright unacceptable- even if you look great and it's your best angle ever, that close-up of you on Park Ave or even a tasteful pose in a beautiful park is not the move. With Facebook the general rule might be to keep things polished and avoid profile photos with alcohol in them, but on LinkedIn you want to make sure your background is a plain white wall or other simple backdrop, your hair is pulled back or tucked behind your ears, and your face is close and clear enough to identify. Stay away from full-body photos, and try to get a shot wearing a blazer or top that doesn't expose your shoulders. Old fashioned, I know, but it's as important as ever!

Try a Premium Trial (But Remember to Cancel It)

Belonging to LinkedIn Premium makes you feel like a modern Carrie Bradshaw, on top of the world, busy doing career queen sh*t and going nowhere but up. It's thrilling and a bit addictive because you can gain page-view insights that a regular LinkedIn accout won't reveal to the user. On a regular account, you'll be notified when people view your profile, but you can't see everyone's names as well as who's searching your name. This background knowledge helps you know what companies have you on their radar, and makes you feel pretty damn good when you can watch your page views skyrocket! 

Just don't make the same near-fatal mistake as me- the subscription is almost $70 per month, so cancel your trial after a few weeks of fun. It's not the same going back to the other side, but it's worth it even for the one-month free trial to see who's searching your name!