Some of the best professional advice I’ve ever received came from my college academic advisor. He told me to make sure I had a nice, professional profile on a new networking website that I had never heard of – LinkedIn. I took his advice and went back home to start building my LinkedIn profile. At the time, I couldn’t comprehend how this was going to be beneficial to me when I ventured out into the work-world. Little did I know, I was building a very simple, but effective, tool to make me stand out in the crowd.
Today, LinkedIn is a massive networking tool with over 200 million users, and yet, there are still those out there that aren’t using it properly or aren’t using it at all. I can admit that at first I didn’t see the benefit of having a LinkedIn profile. I just thought of it as a sort of “professional Facebook.” What I didn’t realize was that by creating a strong profile, I was creating a virtual marketing tool for myself – an extension of the traditional resume that could be easily updated. I was able to differentiate myself in a sea of endless resumes and I was amazed that something that was so easy was so effective.
Since then, I have used LinkedIn in order to open many doors that would not have been available to me had I not used this tool the way it was meant to be used. Professional networking used to mean grabbing lunches and attending user group functions, now it includes reaching out over LinkedIn. It allows another option for connecting in a convenient way for those who have precious few free moments in the day. You can quickly give a snapshot of who you are with the click of a mouse as well as discover new career ventures.
Despite LinkedIn’s obvious strength as a networking tool there are still those that treat it as if it is a social networking tool and not a professional networking tool. With an ill-advised photograph and the refusal to use proper grammar, you can quickly rule yourself out of any potential opportunities. Take the time to set up a profile correctly. LinkedIn can make you stand out in the crowd – especially if you are just starting out in your career.
If you don’t already have a profile, take 30 minutes out of your day to set one up. Whether you are just starting out in your career or someone who has been around for years, there are big benefits to having your professional profile on LinkedIn.
Here are some tips to get you started or to help you do an update of your current profile: