May 21, 2024

How To: Make LinkedIn Your Best Friend

By: Nikki Roubos

In today’s increasingly competitive job market, fewer college graduates are receiving job offers than ever before. An analysis by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York estimates that the latest unemployment rate for college graduates stands at 4.4%, doubling the rate for individuals with a college degree. It has never been more critical to leverage your resources as an undergraduate. Among these resources, my favorite and most accessible platform is LinkedIn. Optimizing your LinkedIn profile before graduation makes navigating the job market far less intimidating. So, how can undergrads master LinkedIn?

1. Craft Your Brand

Before you set out to begin your networking journey, set aside some time to curate your profile. Potential employers and connections value a polished profile. This is not the place to use your favorite Instagram photo or a casual selfie; your profile picture should be a professional headshot or something similar. Your banner is just as important and should be customized to reflect your identity. Canva has custom professional banner templates, or opt for a photo of your college campus. Be sure to showcase your skills and expertise. Your headline should include your major, current job position, and graduation year. Elaborate on your skills and expertise in the “experience” section and provide detailed job descriptions to give recruiters a sense of your skills. 

2. Follow Your Favorite Companies and Brands 

All the brands and the companies you admire have a LinkedIn page. Follow them to gain insight into their professional activities and stay updated on all things business. Staying updated will make your feed exciting and tailored to your interests. You can even see if they are hiring and potentially land your dream job! 

3. Engage with Industry Thought Leaders

Networking with professionals you admire within your industry is the most underrated yet valuable strategy. More often than not, professionals want to mentor those of us entering the workforce. Reach out directly to ask about connecting and potentially schedule a conversation. Doing so will keep them in your network and give you a contact for any future career help. Continue to engage with their content by liking or sharing their posts. This will help you gain visibility among professionals in their network. 

4. Join LinkedIn Groups

One of the best ways to stay informed on current industry trends is to join LinkedIn groups. Groups are a great way to expand your network and meet people interested in what you are. Often these groups serve as hubs for job opportunities, with recruiters frequently posting openings. Identify groups that align with your interests and career goals. Perhaps the most beneficial group to join as a public relations major at the University of Oregon is the SOJC PR LinkedIn group. This group has a fantastic network of UO alumni and staff who want to help us Ducks! Some of my other favorite groups as a public relations major include PR Professionals and PR Daily.

5. Utilize the Job Board 

The last step to mastering LinkedIn is to take advantage of the job board. LinkedIn continually updates job and internship opportunities. If you have a resume and cover letter ready to go, it is incredibly easy to apply. Even if you’re not looking for a job or an internship, you can use the job board to stay ahead of the curve. Take a look at what jobs are out there and read their descriptions. Familiarize yourself with what skills recruiters are looking for, and master them. Using the job board as a resource even when you aren’t actively applying for jobs is the best-kept secret. 

Now you are ready to get out there and join the professional world. Try out these strategies and unlock the power of your LinkedIn profile.

Author’s LinkedIn

12 thoughts on “How To: Make LinkedIn Your Best Friend

  1. I love your post Nikki! As someone who is graduating very soon, I am very worried about how difficult it is to get a job offer. This is a stressor that I’m sure a ton of people have, however, with your tips, I am hopeful that I can use LinkedIn to my benefit. Because LinkedIn is a very popular platform, it seems very important for a successful future to have a professional LinkedIn account.

  2. Hi Nikki, this is a very relevant and insightful post! I loved how you used a list format and compelling visuals. That made it very easy to read and understand. These are also great tips I’ve been using in my job search so far!

  3. Hi Nikki, thanks so much for sharing. Great Post! This blog was very interesting to me personally, considering I will be graduating very soon. In my first semester here at the University of Oregon in a J100 level class they required us to make a LinkedIn as an assignment. Ever since when speakers come to visit they always tell the class to add them on LinkedIn for future reference. I find it so interesting and helpful. Professors and alumni care about the success of its student body.

  4. Hi Nikki, I loved reading this blog post! LinkedIn is such a relevant platform for college students as we must prepare for our future careers. In an SOJC course during my sophomore year, I remember the professor telling us to set up our LinkedIn accounts as early as possible to start creating connections with others and get a head start for our life after graduation. I made my profile but was lost and did not know what information to add. The tips you provided in this entry are great for those who do not know where to start. The point I found most helpful is to join LinkedIn groups. As a member of the SOJC PR Network, I have connected with others who are or were once part of UO by messaging them to discuss their career path. By doing this, I gained a lot of insight as to what I want to do with my career and received a lot of advice from those in the PR field. I suggest anyone unsure of their future do the same too!

  5. Hello Nikki! I found your article to be very insightful and informative. LinkedIn is a powerful tool for networking, especially in the public relations field. I thought your third point, networking with professionals you admire within your industry, to be interesting and something I would implement on LinkedIn. More often than not, professionals want to mentor those of us entering the workforce. Overall this article is extremely beneficial to not only SOJC students, but to all students.

  6. Hey Nikki! This a great post and super timely for a lot of us students. Working on a LinkedIn presence/making connections is a great first step into entering the job market ready to tackle the next steps of sealing down a first job. This information is extremely valuable for all students in this day and age, and your tips are well said and thought out.

  7. Hi Nikki! I loved reading this post. Talking about LinkedIn is a super relevant topic with our age group. As we are nearing a professional career, everyone has been scrambling to make their LinkedIn stand out. I feel like everyone has been trying to make as many connections as possible and sending out cold messages. I found your tips super helpful and easy to understand.

  8. Hi Nikki! Your post was so insightful. I feel like LinkedIn has become so social and it’s hard to sometimes feel like I am using it correctly in my advantage. I agree that joining groups and start to use it for networking is so important. I will definitely be referring back to your tips.

  9. Great blog Nikki! You really captured the importance of LinkedIn and how to properly take advantage of all it has to offer. I myself struggle to feel I have mastered the idea of it but your helpful tips on how to do so really stuck with me. The “Craft your brand” part really struck me because I agree with how beneficial it is to showcase your skills in an effective way for a possible employer. I loved your piece and I think you did a great job!

  10. Hi Nikki! I enjoyed reading your blog post, I think it’s very insightful. Linkedln is probably the most important networking platforms in today’s world. I agree following your favorite companies and brands is a great way to put your foot in the door as well as joining groups to connect with others.

  11. Hi Nikki, this is a great post for all people not just students who are graduating. That being said, I am glad to have read your posts and hopefully I can incorporate some of these ideas and tactics into my own LinkedIn profile.

  12. This was a great post! As someone who definitely needs to sharpen up her LinkedIn and learn how to use it better, this was very helpful to me. I think others will find it very helpful too. You offered great insight that I hope to implement in my own LinkedIn after reading this.

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