Getting started with LinkedIn

Coming out of college with your new degree is a most satisfying moment. Yet moving out into the workforce remains one of the most difficult changes for any graduate.

When it involves getting a job, there’s an adage: “It’s not what you know; it’s who you know.” Making these connections was extremely difficult. But with the Internet and services like LinkedIn, that saying can now be read as: “It’s about what you know, what you’ve done, who you know and who you’ve yet to meet.”

LinkedIn is a handy website that many professional job hunters turn to find a job, and many employers turn to find talented, prospective, employees. LinkedIn displays your profile in terms of your work and education history. Making a good LinkedIn page can be easier than working with Facebook, and it’s free.

The first and biggest thing to keep in mind is the audience for your page. Your audience is going to include prospective employers and associates who you may know, and any of these people might help set you up in your dream career.

Putting the minimum amount of time and effort into your page is just going to make people ignore it (Using the “social media language,” is going to make those friends avoid you, or call to see if you need help).

Fill out every section of your profile. It’s easy to do with the site’s set-up. The page will even let you know how good your page is through the “Profile strength” meter.

Starting with the basics: include a photo of yourself, clean cut and presentable with a smile. In addition to your photo, you will also be including a headline that introduces you. Look at other LinkedIn users similar to yourself in the same area that you’re targeting.

In the headline space, do not use your job title and company. Not many people will understand what you’re about from those two descriptions. Instead, state your specialty, value proposition, or anything that answers the viewers question of, “what’s so great about you?” The more specific the better, but keep it concise.

Now, let’s go on to filling out the whole page. On the menu of your page are a list of choices for what you want included on your site.  Your online profile will take all of the information that couldn’t fit onto a space-constrained paper resume, so it is up to you to fill out as much as you can of your work and education experiences, but remember to be concise. Your summary field should have up to five or six of your biggest achievements, at least, if not more. Use bullet points, it will make it easier for your readers to view.

The rule of thumb is that if the information is relevant to your desired field, then list it on your profile. There are options to list what languages you know, skills you have, publications, certifications, awards, interests, personal details, contact information, causes you care about, volunteering experiences, organizations and more. Ensure accuracy. Here are more tips for job hunting on the site.

Eventually, you will  have the opportunity to make connections with others on LinkedIn. From people you know to others in your field, LinkedIn can help build a network of potential employers and people who will introduce you to them.

The most important part of your LinkedIn experience is to be excited. Show that you enjoy what you do. There’s more to go into, and there are other people who can help get you on the right track. Registration is free, so sign on and find your career path.