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LinkedIn is a social media platform designed specifically for the business community, with over 303 million active daily users. Unlike other social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, LinkedIn isn’t about showing off your recent vacation or fancy dinner. LinkedIn is all about promoting yourself or your business.

Since this platform is so different from others, some students find it hard to navigate. Luckily, we’ve done our research and have some simple steps to make your best first impression.

Update your photos

Think of your profile photo as your first impression. You want to look friendly, professional, and be appropriately dressed. Even if you look great in a picture you took at the beach with your friends last weekend – that’s not the picture you want to use. 

It’s easy to take a professional-looking photo with your smartphone. So, grab and friend, put on your Sunday best, and start snapping. For tips on choosing the best picture for your LinkedIn profile, click here.

Now that you’ve chosen the perfect profile picture, it’s time to select a background photo. Choosing the right background photo can help your page stand out, which means you’ll get more engagement.

Rewrite your headline

Your headline is the first thing someone will read when they see your profile. It defaults to your job title, but you’re so much more than your current position. 

You want to make your headline unique, so you stand out from your peers. Here are some examples to help get your creative juices flowing.

Customize your URL

Although it doesn’t hurt you to keep the randomized number URL that you’re automatically given when you sign up, it doesn’t help either. Your URL is so easy to change, and will really go the extra mile in showing that you pay attention to the details and care about your personal brand.

You can change it in 3 simple steps:

  • Click on “Profile”
  • Click “Edit Profile”
  • Click “Edit” right under your photo

Spice up your “About” section 

Have you heard of an elevator pitch?

Let’s say you’re on an elevator with someone who could change your life, and you have 30-seconds to tell who you are, what you do, and what you want. Basically, you have less than a minute to sell yourself, make a good impression, and pique their interest. That’s what you want to do with your About section.

An elevator pitch is not only good to have for your LinkedIn profile, but something you should know when attending any type of networking event or interview. 

**Pro tip: Avoid using career-specific jargon and tell a story that’s uniquely you.

Request Recommendations

It’s not enough to tell people how great you think you are, you’re going to need others to back up those claims. 

Reach out to colleagues, previous employers, or people you’ve worked closely within a business setting to write a recommendation for you. It’s not as hard as you think! But, if you’re nervous, you can use this template to help you ask. 

Remember, quality is better than quantity, so be choosy and only reach out to those who you feel would do a good job.

You’re all set!

 Now that you’ve improved your profile, it’s to make sure it’s set to “public” so recruiters can find you. As your career evolves and you learn new skills, make sure you’re keeping your profile up to date. 

All that’s left is making sure you’re prepared for those interviews!

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Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form and assistance available to the public for free at fafsa.gov.