Last month, we started a blog series titled 25 Ways to Spend Your Summer. Over the course of the last couple of weeks, we have been following up with mini blog posts about some of the suggestions we made.
So far, we’ve written about biking, walking, and doing nothing. But while we believe these “leisurely” activities are, while (regretfully) neglected, vital to our well-being as humans—we understand that you are also here for the more practical tips relating to your education and career.
Today’s blog post is the first installment of such a “practical” post: building a LinkedIn profile.
Before we get to how you actually build a profile, perhaps I need to convince of why you should make one in the first place.
So, why should you get on LinkedIn?
There are plenty of good reasons circulating the inter-webs, such as that having a LinkedIn profile builds an online presence (which is essential in our modern world in almost all fields of work) and that connecting with other LinkedIn users helps you solidify existing connections while building new ones.
A LinkedIn profile also functions as an online resume—one that goes beyond the PDF version you send when applying for a job.
These are all great arguments for joining LinkedIn, but I want to share with you my absolute favorite way to use the online platform: creeping.
I know you have been there: you’re three years deep into the Instagram of your friend of a friend’s girlfriend’s cousin, and if you make one wrong move while scrolling past, you will set off a social landmine by liking a three-year-old photo.
You’ve creeped on Facebook and Instagram, and what did you get out of it? On LinkedIn, your creeping has a nobler purpose than knowing that your friend of a friend’s girlfriend’s cousin’s puppy, a Neapolitan Mastiff, loves chasing butterflies (which I mean, I’ll grant, is valuable information).
On LinkedIn, you can search for profiles of people working in the industry you wish to enter (or are considering entering). With the ease of a couple of clicks, you can see the career summary of a person who is working your dream job.
Where did they go to school? Which internship did they take post-graduating? Which continuing education course(s) led them to their current position? Do they have an MBA, and if so, from which institution?
Then, you can find more people working that position and review their job history as well. Did they take a different path to where they are? Maybe instead of doing an MBA, they travelled around South America and managed restaurants on beach fronts.
Compiling data of all the different ways people reached their career goals will help you realize that there is no one path to success. More importantly, you can start paving your own way.
Take a look at the LinkedIn profile of someone in an important management position; they probably started as an intern or maybe as a volunteer at a community center. To fulfill your ambitious goals, start small and climb the ladder upwards from there.
So, there you have it. My favorite way to use LinkedIn.
Convinced? Stay tuned for Part 2, in which I will walk you through how to actually build your LinkedIn profile.