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How to Effectively Use Your LinkedIn

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Tampa chapter.

LinkedIn is an essential tool for students aiming to advance their professional development. Serving as a formal social media platform, it provides a space for both employers and employees to showcase their expertise. Within its digital realm lies the opportunity to network with desired companies and industry experts.

Navigating LinkedIn can feel overwhelming, particularly when attempting to connect with professionals you’ve never met in person. However, it holds the potential to unlock doors to internships during your student years and pave the way to your first post-graduation job. Maintaining an active account is invaluable for cultivating your professional presence.

For those already on LinkedIn, let’s explore strategies for leveraging its potential effectively. Whether your aim is to secure internship or job opportunities, expand your network, or craft a compelling profile for prospective employers, there are several avenues worth exploring.

STEP 1: Your Account is Complete

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(UX Planet)

You’ve set up your account, uploaded a professional picture, and stated you’re a student seeking employment. Excellent! Now, let’s focus on key aspects of your profile. Use this checklist while editing your content:

  • Does my ‘About’ section include relevant industry keywords or phrases?
  • Are my skills aligned with the typical job positions I’m targeting?
  • Have I highlighted my academic involvement?
  • Is my headline tailored to my desired position? For instance: “Visual Brand Architect” instead of “Aspiring Graphic Designer.”
  • Are the interests I’m following aligned with those of industry professionals?
  • Consider these questions when reviewing your profile. Remember, the headline should reflect your industry; thus, creative fields may necessitate a more unique headline compared to medical professionals.

Keywords play a significant role in the LinkedIn algorithm. By ensuring consistency in keywords across your profile, especially in the ‘About’ section and resume descriptions, you increase your chances of relevant job opportunities appearing in your feed.

Recruiters often skim LinkedIn profiles, so it’s crucial to highlight important aspects such as experience, involvement, and skills. Take this opportunity to curate your profile as if you were a recruiter.

Step 2: Building Your Dream Job Network

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When building connections, begin with your immediate circle—friends, classmates, or fellow students at your university—who are likely eager to connect. Expand your network to include students with similar interests, both within and beyond your campus. LinkedIn offers a feature that suggests students search for the same job positions they’re interested in. For instance, if you’re seeking a graphic design internship, LinkedIn will prompt you to connect with students who are also searching. This creates a valuable network within the college demographic, potentially leading to job opportunities or connections in various cities.

Transitioning from connecting with peers to engaging with professionals in your field is the next step. Start by reaching out to individuals who have recently secured entry-level positions at your dream companies. These individuals, having recently transitioned from internships to full-time roles, are approachable and willing to offer insights and referrals for future opportunities.

Here’s a personal strategy:

  • Create a list of your dream companies.
  • Explore their business accounts.
  • Search for positions like “Assistant,” “Associate,” “Coordinator,” or “Apprentice,” which typically represent the early stages of career growth within the company.
  • Connect with individuals in these roles and send a personalized note expressing interest in learning about the company and their experiences.
  • Request a brief 10-15 minute chat to gain insights into their journey and the company culture.

STEP 3: Engage!

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(Adlib Web)

Feeling hesitant about posting? No worries. LinkedIn recruiters aren’t assessing your posting frequency or influence. Instead, they’re interested in your connections and interactions within the field.

If you find yourself with spare time, rather than aimlessly scrolling through social media, engage with others on LinkedIn. Like and comment on posts, whether it’s from a friend, a professional’s informational post, or even repost content you believe your connections would find valuable. These actions can attract attention from professionals who may be browsing comments, increasing your chances of making meaningful connections.

Engaging with others is always an exciting opportunity. When you eventually decide to post on LinkedIn, your previous interactions can enhance the visibility and engagement of your content.

Finally, just be yourself…professionally!

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(Media Mister)

Recruiters are interested in getting to know the real you, so prioritize authenticity. Avoid using slang or content that is more suited for Instagram.

Keep in mind that recruiters envisioning you within their brand is crucial. Tailor your presentation accordingly. For instance, if you’re targeting a consulting company where professionalism and organization are valued, reflect these traits in your profile. Conversely, if you’re pursuing a career in graphic design, highlight your creativity through projects and exhibitions. Always consider how recruiters perceive your online presence, as their audience or consumers may also view it. Any content that could harm the company’s image should be avoided.

If your Instagram isn’t private, it’s time to make it so. Clean up your tweets, and conduct a Google search on yourself to see what information surfaces.

If your online presence doesn’t align with your desired image, it’s time to strategize a rebranding approach to help you achieve your career goals.

Quick Tips for LinkedIn:

  • Seek out industry specialists who provide resources for students. Find them on LinkedIn.
  • Example: For marketing students, GradGirl Marketing is a valuable LinkedIn influencer page that offers resources for certifications and internship openings.
  • Utilize your existing connections to reach your desired connections. Your friends may have contacts who know someone at your dream company. Leverage your network!
  • When connecting with new individuals, include a note if you haven’t met in person.
  • Find a mentor. Mentors are experienced professionals in your field who are eager to offer guidance and assistance.
  • Explore trade magazines, organizations, and journals for valuable connections. If you come across an article relevant to your interests, reach out to the author. Reference the article in your message to initiate a conversation.

Best of luck on the market, girlies! We got this ❤️✨

Jennifer is an Advertising & Public Relations student at the University of Tampa. Her focus is on Public Relations with a focus on business consultancy. She currently serves as the President of UTampa's Public Relations Student Society (PRSSA) Jennifer was born and raised on the beautiful island of Puerto Rico where the beaches are as gorgeous as the people. Her primary interests and passions lie in fashion, philosophy, sports, and a developing political interest. In her free time, Jennifer is at local bookstores or watching films from dawn to dusk. Reading is a hobby, but learning is forever. She loves to travel but hopes to settle in the Pacific Northwest someday. Go-to-order at Starbucks: brown sugar shaken espresso, ham and swiss croissant, and a birthday cake pop to-go.