LinkedIn Guide from Co-ops + Careers

LinkedIn is a social media networking site that allows people to connect with colleagues, peers, and industry professionals. Individuals highlight their skills, experience, and examples of work on an interactive platform. 

Why Should I Use LinkedIn? 

  • Personal marketing and branding. Your profile has the capacity to hold far more information than your resume. 93% of industry recruiters use LinkedIn – so make sure you are selling your best self! 
  • Career-related research. Millions of people across the world are using LinkedIn. You have the ability to reach out to those individuals and learn far more than a website will ever show you. 
  • Professional networking. You have the power to expand your personal network far beyond its current state. You can also continually maintain your network over time through direct communication on the site. 

How can I use LinkedIn? 

Promote your brand, highlight your accomplishments, connect with alumni and industry professionals, join groups, conduct informational interviews, engage with employers through discussion boards – the possibilities are endless. 

How Do I Get Started?

  • Create an account at www.linkedin.com
  • Add information to your profile. Include as many sections as you think appropriate (education, experience, volunteer work, courses, and so on). 
  • Get your profile reviewed by your advisor. Just like your resume and cover letter, this is a professional marketing tool that should receive feedback before use. 
  • Connect with classmates, colleagues, professors, friends, etc. And send them a personalized invitation. 
  • Don’t stop now! Continue to update and add information to your LinkedIn account. 

Tips and Best Practices 

  • Complete your profile. Think broadly about your experiences and fill in as many sections as you can. Aim for “Advanced” or “All-Star” status. 
  • Think carefully about your heading. It doesn’t need your be your current title, but it must be relevant. 
  • Customize your URL. Do this while in edit mode and choose some iteration of your full name (ex: SamRSmith10). 
  • Upload a professional, high-quality photo. Ask a friend with a quality camera, but please, no selfies! 
  • Write a concise, thoughtful summary. What do you care about? Why are you on LinkedIn? 
  • Utilize the auxiliary features. Professional Content, Publications, Projects, Patents, Posts – share your work! 
  • Connect with peers, colleagues, supervisors, friends, family, professors, and advisors. 
  • Utilize the Find Alumni tool to identify alumni with whom you want to connect. 
  • Personalize all requests to connect. Don’t just send the stock message – share information about who you are and why you’re reaching out. 
  • Join groups and follow companies. Comment and engage with others on these platforms. You will get noticed. 
  • Identify companies and/or industry contacts – then reach out to them. This is an important piece of networking. 
  • LinkedIn is a professional platform. Do not spam or harass others. Post only work-place appropriate materials. This is not Facebook – respect the rules. 
  • Recommend others (and get recommended in turn). Recommendations support your claims about skill level and professionalism in the workplace. Always offer to write one before you request one of others. 
  • Don’t forget about the Skills & Endorsements section – google industry competencies and list the ones you possess. 

NOTE: Remember to update your LinkedIn every few months. Never let the information get stale!