This is a post I’ve been wanting to write for a long time, but I never forced myself to actually take the time to write down everything. When it comes to looking for a new job, there are so many different aspects to looking, but one that I feel many new grads miss is Linkedin. Earlier this year, I spent four months networking with people and really learning a lot about Linkedin. This is only the basics of what you need to know, but here’s The New Grad’s Guide to Linkedin.

The New Grad's Guide to Linkedin

What is Linkedin

If you aren’t familiar with Linkedin, it’s a social media network designed for networking and professionals. You’ll make connections, join groups, be able to update your work history, and you can even apply for jobs while on Linkedin (I applied for a few via Linkedin).

But Linkedin is not your Facebook account. This is the place where you’ll find potential employers. Be smart (you can also read The New Grad’s Guide to Social Media and the Job Search for more tips)!

Setting it Up

Setting it up is pretty easy, you simply go and register. Once you register, you’ll add your name, and some basic contact information.

When you add your profile picture, do something professional. Make sure you don’t have a low cut shirt, don’t have anything on the shirt. Do your hair, make sure you look nice. I used one of my senior pictures.

Your photo should have bright background, but one that isn’t distracting. You should be looking at the camera, and smile!

Laura's Linkedin Picture

When it comes to city, pick a big city nearby. When I was back in DFW, I had my city listed as Dallas, Texas, because no one knows where my suburbian town actually is.

Also, fun fact. As you fill out your profile, you’ll see this circle on the right, “Profile Strength.”

You will never get beyond All-Star. It’s just a ploy to get more information out of you. I feel confident saying I have a pretty strong Linkedin profile, and I can’t get that last bit filled in.All Star Profile Strength

The Summary

Your summary is kind of like an objective of your resume. kind of. You want to create a cohesive picture of what you do. Talk about your skills, and how you’ve used them. My summary?

Social media specialist (specifically in Business to Consumer) with experience in Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. As a lifestyle blogger, I believe in telling great stories, sharing tips and tricks, and building awesome relationships with people and brands.

This was written before I moved to Austin (now that I have a job, I’ve neglected Linkedin, so this post is making me go back and update. Now, I’d include experience in my fundraising emails and politics.

Not included in this summary is a brief bit about my self-publishing and my experience in the publishing industry. Since I’m not looking to work in publishing right now, I’m not really focusing on that.

One thing you should include – contact info. Linkedin is kind of weird about this, but if you include your contact info as if it were at the bottom of your cover letter, you can get away with this.

Make it easy for people to contact you!

Adding Past Jobs

So, you want to add your experience. Otherwise there is no incentive to contact and/or hire you. But where do you start?
Here are a few guidelines for adding jobs.

– Don’t add your high school jobs. My job as a party hostess in high school, not completely relevant to what I do now. I’d only add those if you honed in on a skill you’re still hoping to work with today, or if your job lasted into college.
– Don’t add a job that ended poorly, or if you did a bad job. This is a professional website, make yourself look the best as possible.

Jobs you should add?
-Jobs in college – if they were valuable. I learned management and leadership skills from my job in college. totally applicable to life, right?
-Any job after college you’ve done.
-Internships – these are so important to add.

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Skills and Endorsements

Pretty self explanatory, right?

Skills are the things you’re good at. To give you an idea of what skills and endorsements look like, here are mine. I have specific skills that I’ve acquired, mostly social media and blogging related. You can add these yourself, or others can add them for you and “endorse” you. All these pictures are of people who have endorsed me in specific skills.

Whenever you can, definitely endorse people. It’s just filling up the good will jar, and it’s literally as easy as clicking a button.

Skills & Endorsements

Following People and Companies

Recently (in the past few months), Linkedin has introduced this ability to follow influencers. You can follow President Obama and Senator Ted Cruzy on Linkedin. While this is nice, it’s kind of unnescessary. The important following function is the ability to follow companies.

Why is this necessary? Well it isn’t, but companies often post about job listings on Linkedin. You never want to miss an opportunity to find a job! Any job you want to work for, or even companies in related industries, you should be following them.

Connecting with People on Linkedin

I try to just connect with people I know, or have at least met at networking events. You’ll see some people with the acroymn LION next to their name. LION stands for Linkedin Open Networker, or something like that, which basically means they’ll connect with anyone and everyone.

I typically don’t add these people, unless I’ve met them. You also want to make sure the people you add on Linkedin are professoinal.

This isn’t Facebook, y’all. Don’t post selfies, don’t post funny memes, don’t post things that have vulgar language (says the girl with a habit of cussing).

BE PROFESSIONAL, damnit.

Wrap it Up

When it comes to Linkedin, just use your common sense. Be professional, and don’t embarrass yourself. Update it frequently (like at least once a week). The more often you update, the higher you’ll stay in search.

If you fill your profile out, take your business cards to networking events, and really work to make this a full process, you’ll find a job sooner than if you don’t.

Have you started using Linkedin?