Get Started on LinkedIn

LinkedIn Overview

In this section we will be covering how to create a LinkedIn account and best practices for interacting on LinkedIn.  LinkedIn is the chosen social media platform for professionals and is a crucial component to building a strong network, long term career opportunities and credibility in your field.

Networking on LinkedIn is an important component to your job search and allows you to access opportunities that may not be listed on the major job sites.  These opportunities are referred to as the “hidden job market”.  Additionally, your network can provide insight into potential employers and companies.  Networking and forming relationships with other professionals who share common interests in your profession is crucial to building a successful career.

Components of LinkedIn

Utilize LinkedIn as a social media platform: LinkedIn is an important tool for you to use throughout your professional career.  It allows you to showcase your profile, skills, network with other professionals and build your brand.  A LinkedIn profile is just as important as your resume.  Many employers will review your social media presence prior to hiring you.  Having a professional profile is critical to landing the right opportunity.

TIP: The majority of recruiters use LinkedIn to search for candidates.  Even if you are not actively looking for an opportunity a recruiter may still contact you to have a discussion regarding a certain role.  Keeping your LinkedIn profile up to date, interacting on the platform posting interesting articles, creating content and building connections may lead to your next opportunity. These are “passive” networking opportunities that can lead to actual roles.

Steps for Getting Started on LinkedIn

Step 1: Create a LinkedIn Account:

  1. Visit:
  2. Type your first and last name, email address and create a password
  3. Click Join Now
  4. Complete additional steps as prompted

TIP: Watch the video on how to create an account:

Step 2:  Upload a profile photo and banner

A LinkedIn profile that stands out must have a headshot. Employers want to put a face with a name. They want to make sure the person they are interviewing is a professional.  Your profile picture is the first impression employers will see of you.

  1. Click on your profile
  2. On your profile click on the Camera icon
  3. Select a photo to upload
  4. Follow the prompts to upload

TIP 1: You should be the only one in your profile photo.  Use a headshot that contains 60% of your head and part of your torso. Your headshot should not include a full body photo.  Remember to smile!  A great smile engages your network and potential employers.

TIP 2: Upload a banner image that reflects your personality and career interests.

TIP 3: Watch the video for step-by-step directions on how to upload your photo:

Step 3: Create a great headline

Your headline is the first thing people will see and read after your photo. A great headline will catch the reader’s attention and determine if your visitors will click on your profile to read more. Your headline needs to be compelling and draw your visitor in to want to know more about you. This is your opportunity to brand yourself as a professional.  The headline should inform the reader of what you do, add credibility, and establish your brand. It is career focused and clearly states what type of work you do.

Examples of headlines include:

IT Professional Helping Companies Leverage Technology to Increase Efficiency and Security

Data Scientist | Designs and Maintains Data Systems | Utilizes Data-Driven Insights to Create Strategies for Company Growth

B2B Sales Executive | Help companies drive revenue and accelerate growth through effective sales strategies

Additional examples can be found here:

TIP: Watch the video on how to update your LinkedIn headline:

Step 4: Create a LinkedIn Summary/About Section:

The About/Summary section is your opportunity to brand yourself.  This is the who you are, what you do, where you do it and why you are good at it.  Essentially it is the summary section of your resume; however, can be much more interactive.  This is your opportunity to quickly get the reader’s attention, introduce yourself, highlight your skills and talk about who you are outside of work on a professional level.

Review the following website for great templates:

TIP: Unlike your resume, your LinkedIn summary can be much more interactive and use personal pronouns. The summary section allows you to show your personality.

TIP: LinkedIn uses keywords in its algorithm from your summary section.  Review job descriptions that align with opportunities you would like and include those in your summary.

TIP: Use the end of your summary section to ask the reader to connect with you.

Ex: Please connect for networking opportunities.

TIP: Make sure to leave spaces in between sections and paragraphs. This will make it easier for the reader to read quickly. You can even use emojis to attract the reader’s attention!

Article on when and how to use emojis on LinkedIn:

Step 5: Adding your experience

This section should follow your resume and mirror the employment opportunities, skills and experience.  You want to build out this section with items directly from your resume.

How to video on how to add your experience: 4m 25s

TIP: Make sure you do not click the box to update your headline! This will change your headline at the top of your LinkedIn account.

Step 6: Add your Education:

LinkedIn Video to add education:

TIP: Adding your education is a great way to network with other alumni from your school!  You have similar interests and a great introduction to connect!

Step 7 Add Volunteer Experience:

The volunteer section helps to showcase additional skills that are transferrable to your career.  This is especially true for new graduates who have limited work experience.  The volunteer section also connects readers to causes that interest you and shows that you are care about your community. Key skills may include: teamwork, task management, project planning and communication and organization.

LinkedIn Video Link on Volunteer Experience: