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Simple tips to boost your LinkedIn profile and expand your network.

Everyone has heard the phrase, “It’s not about what you know, but who you know.” In May of 2003, that mantra met technology and LinkedIn was created. LinkedIn is a business and employment-oriented service that is the frontrunner for professional networking. It allows employers/recruiters and professionals to connect on a level that was previously almost unheard of. Professionals can expand their network and have a professional presence all over the world.

If you don’t have a LinkedIn, we encourage you to make one! It is a free and easy way to begin networking with potential employers and co-workers. If you have one but are not sure how to optimize it, we have a few tips to build up your LinkedIn profile to garner more web traffic.

LinkedIn can be a little confusing and overwhelming for those who are just getting started. The first thing you’re going to want to do is make sure you have an appropriate profile picture. Remember, LinkedIn is the cyber-professional world. You do not want to have a picture of you from when you were 12 at a birthday party, nor do you want a picture that may be a little iffy. Take a forward-facing, simple, professional photo of yourself so that employers get a feel for who you are. Accounts that do not have a profile picture are glossed over far more than accounts with pictures. Employers like to be able to connect a face to a name, and a picture of you is an extension of this concept.

For your profile, you want to take advantage of the different items you can add, like a summary or past work experience. Remember, your LinkedIn is you presenting yourself virtually. Add all relevant information about yourself so that employers get a full picture of who you are in the workforce. A headline is a great way to give a little snippet of information about yourself, such as “Mechanical Engineering student seeking a co-op.” A summary is a great way to expand and share more about your professional experience. Be concise in your summary about your experience, qualities, skills, and goals. LinkedIn also has an awesome feature where you can upload documents and physically show your work experience, such as different reports, videos, blogs, etc. This will allow others to see more of what you can do and what you excel at.

When you begin connecting with people, try to make your first 50 or so connections with people in your immediate circles. This can be classmates, friends from high school, co-workers, the UAH Career Services Office, etc. You’ll want to start small before you begin branching out. Plus, you will establish more credibility before you begin connecting with people that you do not know as well. You want to broaden your circle as much as possible, so do not be afraid to connect with people you briefly met either. The network effect is real, so the more people you have in your circles the more people you are able to connect with down the road. Remember, it’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know.

LinkedIn is just another resource to add to your professional toolbelt, so bring the same amount of excellence to your LinkedIn profile as you would to your resume. If you need help along the way, UAH students and alumni can schedule LinkedIn appointments with Career Services in Charger Path.

Your LinkedIn is where employers can see more in-depth who you are and what you are about. Give them the best virtual impression that you can, and go connect with the world.