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UMGC Career Connection
Four Ways to Leverage Your LinkedIn Profile

Alyssa K. Cole
By Alyssa K. Cole

LinkedIn is the world’s leading social network for professionals. According to Forbes, “LinkedIn is, far and away, the most advantageous social networking tool available to business professionals today.” With this platform growing more and more overtime, many are wondering what’s the rave all about and how they can take advantage too? Continue below for four ways to leverage your LinkedIn profile for career success.  

Create an All-Star Profile

The first step to utilizing all LinkedIn has to offer is to create a profile. According to The Muse, when your profile is completed and considered an “All-star”, you are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities. So, how can you get your profile to an “All-star” status? Here are a few suggestions to keep in mind:

  • Use a Professional photo.
  • Add a headline and profile summary.
  • Add a creative background photo.
  • Add your current position and previous work history.
  • Add your skills and expertise.
  • Add your education, certifications, and volunteer work.
  • Use keywords throughout your profile that you want to be found for when someone searches those terms.
  • Tell your story using text, video, or images. Get creative!

Build Your Brand to Stand Out

It can be challenging at times to establish a brand and many questions will come up during this process. For example, how do you want to be perceived? And, what services or expertise do you want to show off? Here are a few tips on using LinkedIn to help brand yourself:

  • Create original content - The most successful posts on LinkedIn are true stories where someone learned something or overcame a situation. Try to create content people can relate to, because this is what will engage your connections the best.
  • Engage with connections - When you see your connections posting content that resonates with you, reply! You can keep it simple by liking and posting that you agree, or you can go into detail by commenting and sharing how the post relates to you. Do what you are most comfortable with. Either way, by engaging with others you can generate great conversation and long-lasting relationships.
  • Be consistent - Determine a realistic schedule to be consistent with posting and engaging. Whether it’s once a week or three times a month, determine what will work best so you are able to establish a brand for yourself.
  • Be authentic - It's easy to tell on any platform when things come off as inauthentic. It’s important to always be yourself because people will appreciate it more, so add your personality into your posts! Although it can help to look at what others post for inspiration, don’t forget to always make it your own.

Cultivate Relationships

LinkedIn is the #1 professional networking site to date. With over 700 million users on the platform across 200 countries, there is opportunity to build relationships with others on just this platform alone. However, it can be intimidating or overwhelming if you are new to LinkedIn. Here are some creative ways to begin cultivating relationships on LinkedIn:

  • Publish meaningful content
  • Share your experiences.
  • Share career opportunities.
  • Engage with your connections.
  • Give away free products.
  • Host live events.
  • Refer potential clients.
  • Become a mentor.

Utilize LinkedIn Features

One of the best things about LinkedIn is the variety of tools and features available to its users. Depending on which plan you have, you can take advantage of multiple resources that can make your experience worth the investment. Some common features professionals use on LinkedIn include:

  • LinkedIn’s Job Board - With over 20 million jobs posted, LinkedIn is one of the top places to search for open positions. A great feature about the job board is the capability to also see who the recruiter or hiring manger is—if that information is provided. The premium packages also provide the opportunity to see hiring trends at companies, notable company alumni, and total job openings broken up by the functional area.
  • LinkedIn Groups - With thousands of groups for things such as college alumni chapters, small businesses, and even hobbies, LinkedIn groups are great for anyone looking to network with like-minded professionals. What is also great about groups is they are completely free to join. Don’t know anyone in your field of interest? Take advantage of groups! Locate a group by simply typing your area of interest in the search bar, hit enter, and then select “Groups” right under the search bar. Did you know there’s a UMGC Alumni LinkedIn Group? Join today to start connecting with thousands of UMGC grads.
  • LinkedIn Learning - LinkedIn Learning is a platform that houses thousands of professional development courses. With a variety of different subjects and topics being offered, you are guaranteed to find something within your area of interest. Many institutions are starting to incorporate this resource in their students’ benefits, along with employers, which shows how effective it is. It’s also a great resource if you are unsure you want to pursue a degree or program but want a sneak peek. Courses tend to be one hour or less, which makes them manageable for the average working professional.

With 95 percent of recruiters and millions of users on LinkedIn, this is one platform you don’t want to miss out on when you want to elevate in your career. By implementing these tips and strategies you’ll be on your way to transforming your professional portfolio and brand. Best of luck and, as always, remember that UMGC Career Services is here to support you. To access UMGC’s career tools, receive professional advice, view the job board, or connect with a career advisor, please visit CareerQuest.

Alyssa K. Cole is a career advising specialist with UMGC Career Services. She holds a Master of Arts in Education from Louisiana State University, a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, and is the CEO of AKC Career Consulting, which is a writing and career consulting agency that provides affordable assistance to college students, recent graduates, and entry-level working professionals.