This blog was written by Brett Vergara, our Campus Ambassador from St. John Fisher College in New York. You can follow Brett on Twitter at @BrettSVergara.
LinkedIn is one of the fastest growing social networking sites on the web. Although it is only one of many social networking sites, LinkedIn is probably the best known site for professional networking. It shares features of other common social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, but puts a business twist on things. It is incredibly beneficial to be on LinkedIn, especially as a young professional.
Now… it’s time to get started. You want to make sure that your LinkedIn profile truly represents you and what you are all about. Here are some of your first steps:
List your positions
You want to include your previous work experiences as well as any current positions you hold. It is also important to describe some of your responsibilities at each of these positions. LinkedIn has a fancy feature that even allows you to import your current resume onto LinkedIn to make this step nice and simple! Think of your LinkedIn profile as the online version of your resume… just a bit more expansive.
Add Your Education
Adding your education is one of the best ways to network with others on LinkedIn. Doing this as well as joining alumni networking groups from your college can give you access to hundreds of professionals. The networking possibilities are mind boggling!
Adding a Profile Picture
This should be one of the first steps you take after creating your LinkedIn profile. It is important for people to match a name with a face! Your profile picture should look as professional as possible and it should only be you in the picture. You may not have the budget to get a professional headshot, but just try your best to look nice and classy.
Adding a Summary
This is the last step and then you are officially all started up on LinkedIn! Some people don’t even include a summary on their LinkedIn profile, but it can definitely make your profile stick out from the rest of the pack. Think of your summary on LinkedIn as your “elevator speech”. A personal brand pitch.
Customize Your Profile URL
When you first create your LinkedIn profile, the extension of the URL of your page will be something along the lines of /pub/49039040/bvergara. It looks real messy. If you log-in to your profile and look under the “Improve your profile” button there should be a URL in the footer of that box with a little "edit" option next to it. When you click through you can see there is a way to customize your URL on the right hand side of the page it re-directs you to. It is under the "Your public profile URL" box. It is a great way to make the link look just a bit more clean and professional. That way you can even include your profile link in your e-mail signature or even on a networking business card! Mine is Linkedin.com/In/BrettVergara. Feel free to connect!
Congratulations, you are officially on LinkedIn… now what? There are countless benefits to being on LinkedIn and several opportunities you can now take advantage of. Here are just a few benefits:
-The ability to be known and enhance your personal brand
-The ability to be found by recruiters or other hiring authorities
-The ability to find others and make important connections
-The opportunity to learn and share
-The ability to connect with group members
-The opportunity to show you are plugged in to current technology
LinkedIn is rapidly expanding and the professional world is taking notice.