Reach All-Star Level on LinkedIn

After my last blog post, I asked my Facebook friends what they wanted me to cover in my next one. Answers included: "How you manage being so freaking awesome," "What it's like living with me" (submitting via my roommate), and "How to make a LinkedIn page rock as much as yours." I don't pretend that everyone who reads my blog thinks I'm "freaking awesome" or that my LinkedIn page rocks, but for those who got a little excited at the prospect of learning how to be a LinkedIn All-Star, this post is for you.

Truth be told, I'm not an expert. I think my LinkedIn profile is only as strong as it is because I'm obsessed with lists and my profile is basically one giant list of my accomplishments. I have, however, been fortunate enough to do quite a bit of research about LinkedIn for my company this summer. I've learned a lot about how to use it to not only job hunt, but also to grow your personal brand.

1. Be a little obsessed with yourself

If you don't see yourself as an all-star, recruiters won't either. Be proud of your accomplishments and the positions you've held! I think a lot of students assume they have nothing to offer on a resume or LinkedIn profile, because the only job they've had is working a cash register at Target or serving coffee at a restaurant. But, you've heard it before and you'll hear it again: any experience is good experience. Write about your experience as if every job you've held was a big deal, and it will appear as such to others.

2. Be thorough and consistent

Fill out every box.

What I mean is this: When you add a new piece of experience to your profile, LinkedIn will ask you for your title, company name, location, and date range. Then, it will ask you for a description. Fill each of these boxes out! The more information available, the easier it will be for others to find you. At any job, there are at least two or three bullet points of responsibilities you can write about. So, write about them.

3. Be social

LinkedIn is a social network. Its purpose is not the same as Facebook's, of course, but it's still designed to put you in touch with others and stay in-the-know about what they're doing. After you meet someone at an event, someone speaks to your class, or you make a new friend somewhere, connect with them on LinkedIn. Then, log on once a day or so to keep up with what your connections are liking and sharing.

4. Be Bold

Again, because LinkedIn is not Facebook, it is not the place to sit staring at your shiny new profile picture waiting for someone to send you a message and offer you a job. Show some initiative and reach out to others either before or after you've connected with them; tell them why you want to connect, what you admire about them or their business, and--if you're really feeling saucy--invite them to grab coffee so you can learn more about their industry and their role therein.

5. Be Smart

Determine what type of message you want to convey on your LinkedIn profile and adhere to it. Whatever you include in your headline, summary, and commentary on posts is a direct reflection of the type of person you are, and you want people to view you as kind, fun, and hardworking, right? Be careful not to cross into "Facebook Territory" by sharing too much about your personal life on LinkedIn. Find the balance between maintaining your professionalism and letting your personality shine. Connect with me on LinkedIn!