Five ways to maximize LinkedIn
Are you making the most of LinkedIn? As of 2023, it’s the 16th-largest website in the world (just two spots below Tiktok!), and it’s also a completely free way to build an online presence that can boost your job or internship search.
Check out these five ways you can maximize LinkedIn to achieve your career goals.
Step one: create a profile.
Think of your profile as a digital version of your resume – it’s a place to show off who you are and the skills you can bring to a new organization.
Don’t think that because you’re still in college, you don’t have anything to add. Even if you don’t have extensive work experience, or you’re in the middle of changing careers, you can highlight the skills you’ve gained just being a student.
Start simple: begin with your name, a profile photo, and what you’re studying at OSU, then build it up from there. Here’s how to get started.
Step two: make connections.
Even if you’re not looking for a job today, you will be someday. Build a network now so that when you need a job, you have a ready-made community you can turn to for introductions or tips on job openings.
First, search LinkedIn for people you already know: friends, co-workers, past bosses, professors, and advisors. Don’t forget current classmates – they’ll be a valuable network for you in the future.
Then, reach out to people you WANT to know. It’s normal and acceptable to send a connection invite to OSU alumni or people with jobs you find interesting. Try to find a point of common ground, such as a shared interest or a mutual acquaintance, and personalize your request.
- How to connect with OSU alumni:
- Sample connection invitations you can modify:
- Hi Xiomara – I am currently a senior studying mechanical engineering at Oregon State and hope to enter the aerospace industry upon graduation. I noticed that you are an OSU graduate with experience in this industry. I would love to connect with you and learn more about your career path. Thanks in advance! – Phuong Quynh
- Hi Mikayla – I am currently studying graphic design at Oregon State University and hope to work for a creative agency one day. I loved your recent post about the brand redesign you did for XYZ client – it was fascinating to hear your behind-the-scenes process. I’d love to connect and learn more about how you got started in this field. – Elliott Hashimoto
- More sample connection templates
Step three: talk to others.
Once you’ve joined LinkedIn, you can increase your visibility by staying active. Even if you just post an update or comment on others’ posts once a month or so, you’re building a reputation as a positive member of an online community.
- Join a group. Just like other social platforms, there are subgroups on LinkedIn for all kinds of interests. Enter a keyword related to your major or potential career in the search bar at the top, then click “groups” to filter your search results. Tip: Start by joining the Beaver Careers Group.
- Share personal updates. You could post about a project you just completed for class or write about a small victory: “Just finished my last final! This term was tough but I loved my horticulture class – I learned so much about plant identification!”
- Re-post an article you liked and take advantage of LinkedIn’s “repost with your thoughts” button to add a sentence or two about why you found it interesting.
- Here are 10 more LinkedIn post ideas.
Step four: Advance your skills.
As an OSU student, you have access to a free LinkedIn Learning account. There are more than 18,000 online classes you can take to gain new skills and earn certifications you can post on your profile. Here’s how to log in to OSU’s LinkedIn Learning.
Not sure which courses to take? Do a search for jobs you might be interested in, then look at the qualifications listed. Are you missing anything? LinkedIn Learning might have a class you could take to fill in that gap. It’s a great (and free!) way to build on what you’re learning at OSU. Check out courses related to business, technology, and creative skills.
Step five: Get job alerts.
Your LinkedIn profile is also the key to an enormous job posting network. Instead of browsing through individual listings, use the platform’s automated tools to get notified about jobs that would be a good fit for you.
- Make sure that you’ve added skills to your profile (these could be personal skills like communication or teamwork, or skills specific to your field, like Python coding or market research). LinkedIn will use your listed skills to auto-suggest jobs for you every time you log in.
- To set up job alerts based on your own preferences, click “Jobs” from the LinkedIn top menu bar, then select “preferences” and “job alerts.”
- You can also search for a job on LinkedIn, and then filter the results for things like job type (full-time, part-time, internship), job location, and experience level.
Want to learn more about LinkedIn?
Use these videos to make your LinkedIn presence even better.