Here’s how to take your LinkedIn profile from Beginner to All-Star in 5 steps:

  • Choose a professional photo

    • Headshots are always the best way to go for a business-like profile, but most college students don’t have headshots just lying around. You can enlist the help of a friend with a nice camera or an iPhone 7 plus (thank you, portrait mode) to take some amateur headshots, or you can still create an impressive profile even without a headshot. If you find a nice photo of just yourself (no group photos, no selfies), that can work just as well as a headshot.
  • Listen to the tips from LinkedIn

    • LinkedIn is always asking you to add more information or write a personal statement to strengthen your profile, and while that might not be exactly how you’d like to spend your free time, it truly does help improve your profile. Each bit of information you offer a potential employer could help persuade them that you are the right person for the job.
  • Post what you do

    • When you do something exciting at your new job, your first response might be to post it to Facebook. However, LinkedIn also allows you to share posts, and it is an easy way to boost the portfolio of work that potential employers can see. Through sharing your achievements on LinkedIn, you can showcase all of the projects and pastimes you can’t fit onto a one-page resume.
  • Narrow your search to find connections

    • When you search for connections, filters can be your best friend. Are you graduating and moving to a new city where you don’t know anyone? Filter through results. For example, you can filter by people in New York City who attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This also shows how important it is to add detail to your profile. If you find someone who attended the same university as you but it’s not on your profile, how will they know if you have anything in common when you try to add them?
  • Personalize it

    • LinkedIn always suggests you add a personal message when you request to add someone, and if you’re smart, you’ll follow that suggestion. Many of your connections may not even be someone you know in person, so they are apt to simply delete your request if they have no idea who you are or why you want to connect with them. They also may meet many other prospective employees every day, so you need to jog their memory to ensure they remember you. For example, if a hedge fund manager came to speak to your economics class and you took the time to introduce yourself, later you may want to send them a message stating that you heard their lecture and spoke to them afterwards.

In a competitive world, you can use these tips to ensure you stand out above the rest.

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I am from Elon, NC and am a junior at the University of National Champions – I mean, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. When I’m not napping on any available flat surface on campus, I love reading, traveling and going to concerts. I’ve been lucky enough to go to Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, England, Barcelona, and more. My concert history ranges from Paul McCartney (he's still got it!), to Jack Gibbons playing Chopin, and even to Ludacris. I’ve spent my time at college working for The Daily Tar Heel and the majority of my writing career has involved my editors trying to prevent me from adding bad puns to my headlines. Whenever I’m not writing for Around Campus this summer, you can probably find me at Sup Dogs eating a tray of cheesy tots.