LinkedIn Hacks For Newbies

By Scarlett McCain | @scarlettmccain 17518050542_4bff99dcd5_b1

LinkedIn is weird. Like any social media platform, it’s about connecting with other people. But this is the business casual version of Facebook, meant to foster useful contacts in the business world. Many students drag their feet at making a profile, and even more rarely like to actually use it as a social platform.

Here are ways I’ve found to make the LinkedIn experience as pain-free as possible -- even fun.

Fill Out the Profile.

Seriously. Just follow the prompts. LinkedIn will ask if you want to improve your profile -- volunteer experience? Do you have a certification? Are you skilled at things aside from your wicked procrastination skills?

If you already have a current resume, have it on hand. The bulk of your profile can be filled out using that information.

If you don’t have a resume, now is a great time to consider doing that.

LinkedIn will give you a rating to let you know how far along you are on your journey to a complete profile. Right now I am sitting at “All-Star”, just a sliver away from 100% completion.

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*(Bonus: LinkedIn can also point out some shortfalls. My volunteer experience still remains alarmingly blank.)

No Blind-Friending Allowed. (Usually)

On Facebook we balk when someone with zero mutual friends sends us a request out of nowhere. It is no different here.

Between friends, it might be forgivable: I agreed to import my contacts en masse rather than manually search for people one by one.

But a personal message can tip the scales if you want to connect with that great guest lecturer in your marketing class. No need to complicate, just: “Hi, I really enjoyed your talk on Social Media in Professor H’s class. I would like to connect with you.”

On the flipside, I’ll accept all requests unless I have a pressing reason to decline (which I haven’t yet, my life is not yet that exciting.)

Jump to the top of the list.

LinkedIn is professional, but it doesn’t mean that fun is banned. On LinkedIn mobile, searches are ranked alphabetically, meaning if your name is Zim White, you are at the bottom of the totem pole. A nice way to get around this is to put an emoji in front of your name (or any other symbol that is not a letter or number, but really an emoji is much more entertaining.)

Still, remember that this is still networked-focused and try to have it relate back to your profession.

Get around the paywall.

I use the free version of LinkedIn, as a part of my college budget survival plan. One of the benefits premium members enjoy is using Inmail. Inmail is a messaging system allowing you to contact people you do not have connections with.

A way around this paywall is acquiring the email address of someone you would like to connect with. ReferYes is there for all your stalking needs.

And of course, aside from letting you connect with a professional you look up to, this site lets you email people directly, which is usually preferable.

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Hopefully, this will aid you down your path to success.

If any future entrepreneurs make it big due to these hacks, please let me know. Feedback is always welcomed.

If you need any extra LinkedIn help (or assistance with any other social media platform, really) just give us a call. We don’t judge your level of expertise.

Will Nesbit