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Build a Professional Online Presence through LinkedIn

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LinkedIn is a professional networking site that includes nearly 225 million professionals from over 150 industries and these numbers continue to grow each day. LinkedIn connects professionals from around the world allowing them to connect in ways that may not have been possible before. LinkedIn allows members to connect to people, ideas, companies, and jobs. It is a great tool that could create future career opportunities when used effectively. Below are basic strategies to build and maintain a professional profile on LinkedIn.

1. Build a complete profile. Building and maintaining a complete profile is extremely important because it communicates commitment, attention to detail and consistency. A complete profile includes a professional-looking profile photo, a headline and summary that are rich with keywords, highlighting your experience, listing all the schools and colleges you have attended, adding skills to your profile, getting recommendations and endorsements from previous managers/supervisors, adding your industry and zip code, and customizing your profile URL.

2. Add additional sections to enhance your profile. There are great opportunities for current students and recent graduates to showcase their skills and experiences by adding courses related to the field, honors and awards, organizations and affiliations, volunteer experience and causes, and projects.

3. Join LinkedIn Groups.
Members can join professional groups and associations related to their field and career goals. This is a wonderful way to engage with peers to share information and become part of the trending conversations.

4. Connect to other members in meaningful ways. Members can add connections they already know by using their e-mail accounts to search people they know on LinkedIn. Members can also connect with people they may not know directly by sending a connection request. I always recommend writing a personalized connection request to help build the relationship.

5. Follow companies and search for jobs. Many companies have LinkedIn profiles and actively post jobs on LinkedIn. Members can research companies related to their industry and follow them to receive news and updates. LinkedIn also allows members to search for jobs and receive e-mail updates when new positions arise that match their search criteria.

Building a complete profile that is rich with keywords, connecting with others in meaningful ways, and contributing to industry related discussions are ways that you can build an online presence. Maintaining a professional online presence is important for all professionals and imperative for job seekers. What strategy can you use today to build a more professional LinkedIn profile?

Shannon Wells
Career Counselor and Experiential Learning Coordinator
California State University, Sacramento, CA

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