How To: Basics to Starting a LinkedIn

In 2015 it is fair to say we are officially in the Social Media Age. As young professionals, we are the first generation oblivious to a life without social media. As much time we spend with our eyes glued to these forever evolving homepages, why not spend some of those minutes actually bettering ourselves? Instead we tend to show pictures of our friends just to tell someone you guys aren't really friends.

For those of you who may not be very familiar with LinkedIn. It is a social media platform for professionals. People can post blogs, pictures, work experience, community involvement, and more. I personally look at LinkedIn as a living and breathing resume. In my profession, I spend hours a week on the site. I have seen it be a great resource to promote individuals.

If you are someone who doesn't have a LinkedIn or you created an account but never actively update it. Here are a few quick tips to update and keep your profile a great representation of you and your career.

1. Profile pictures: Have a professional photo with suit jacket on. (Not a selfie from Instagram). You can go to Walgreens or the student center and get good photos.Some schools will offer free headshots to students. It will be worth it in the long run.

2.Resume: Have a complete work history on your profile. I would put the same relevant amount of history that is on your hard copy resume. LinkedIn also allows you to attach media to your experience. This is a great opportunity to post videos or photos of projects you were apart of while working that position.

3.Awards Clubs/Endorsements/Recommendation: Update your profile with things you’ve earned. Professional awards and Community organizations that have played a part in your success. Endorsements are big as well. Add any professional skills that you have in the endorsement section. Also endorse friends and people you have worked with. Having a solid number of skills represented in this section will only add more credibility to your name. You can also get a colleague to recommend you under the recommendations section. Here, someone that knows you well can write a personalized statement about your past working relationship and achievements.  Good people to ask for recommendations are professors, co-workers, a boss, and even a good client.

4.Job title: My personal suggestion would be to put your actual work title or profession. Even if you’re involved in different things, putting “Entrepreneur” or “Driven Professional” just looks corny to me. I’d say put your dominate “9-5” title as your headliner. The work experience portion should be where you display your experience. If you are a student, I  think putting “Student at  Blank University” looks fine. Putting your internship title looks good as well. (Blank Intern at Blank Company).

5.Connections: Connect with influencers, parents, family friends that are successful, professors, people you've interviewed with, people you’re going to interview with, and successful alumni.(Always put a personal note in the request if you don't know the person well).

LinkedIn is a living and breathing resume that employers are going to look at. Make sure you are taking advantage of any features that are indicative to you. Every young professional that has an able phone, should download LinkedIn period. Just how you might ask a person of interest for a Instagram name. In a relaxed networking setting, I have seen people whip out their phone and add each other on LinkedIn. You more than likely have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat downloaded. So why not put something in your social media rotation that actually promotes productivity? I suggest anyone older than a freshman in college should have a LinkedIn profile. Don’t let a lack of experience deter you!