By: Gracie Covarrubias, DePaul University organizational and multicultural communication major ’18 and Career Center communications assistant

Let’s face it– nowadays there’s a social network for everything. LinkedIn hit the social media scene in 2003 has been a critical resource ever since. Although LinkedIn has been around for over a decade, there’s still so much to learn about leveraging this platform to achieve your career goals. We rounded up our career advisors to get the inside scoop on the do’s and don’ts of navigating LinkedIn.

  1. Make sure your profile picture is appropriate

Your profile picture says a lot about you. Your picture should be a business professional headshot or a business appropriate photo from the waist up with a clean background. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule. Kalin Noel, a Career Advisor for Business students, explained when creativity is appropriate, “You’re allowed to be creative when it comes to your industry. For example, if you’re in the veterinary sciences having a picture with animals is completely acceptable because it fits with your field.”

  1. Have a good summary

Keala Murdock, Career Advisor for students in the Business school, is passionate about investing time in curating a stand out summary. Keala shared, “Think of this summary as your 30 second elevator pitch. It’s a quick overview of who you are, what you do and what you’re excited about or looking for.” All the advisors agreed, your summary should be concise and provide a road map for how someone should read through your profile.

  1. Your resume experience should match your LinkedIn experience

A common mistake that many people make is deviating from their experiences too much on LinkedIn. LinkedIn offers you more freedom when crafting your accomplishment statements, however, there shouldn’t be a dramatic difference between what’s listed on your resume and LinkedIn profile. If anything, you can use LinkedIn as an opportunity to add a few more accomplishments but make sure there’s consistency.

  1. Stick to bullet points

Unlimited freedom to craft accomplishment statements isn’t always a good thing. Narrative, long-form summaries of the work you’ve done should be avoided, unless it’s a creative risk you’re willing to take. For the most part, recruiters and managers won’t have the time to read through paragraph after paragraph of your accomplishments. Stick to the classic format here!

  1. Explore careers

Many people only use LinkedIn as a networking tool and miss the opportunity to explore careers. Ed Childs, Career Advisor for students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, encourages all of his students to use LinkedIn as a way to learn about career paths. “It’s simple, type in a company you want to work for or a job that you’d like to have and, once you find a person with the role, take a look at how they got there. Then take it a step further and reach out to them to for an informational interview.”

  1. Job search

LinkedIn rolled out a new feature just last year that allows companies to post current job openings to their company pages. If you have a company that you’re interested in working for, find their page on LinkedIn and follow them to get updates on new jobs. You can also use LinkedIn to identify recruiters. Kalin, a former recruiter himself, shared that recruiters love using LinkedIn to find talent. Similarly, reaching out to recruiters or hiring managers about positions you’re interested in is a great way to put your name on their radar.

  1. Join groups

Groups are an underrated feature of LinkedIn. They are used as centers for conversations and serve as mini think tanks for professionals. Be sure to join the DePaul University group as well as groups specific to your industry and jump into conversations. This is a great way to get noticed.

  1. Post your professional accomplishments

LinkedIn is the perfect platform to share professional life updates. Did you just land an internship or wrap up a huge project for your marketing class? These are things worth sharing with your network! Don’t be afraid to share photos, status updates and even write articles on things you feel an expertise in.

  1. Leverage endorsements

With LinkedIn’s current profile setup you can list up to 50 skills that range from proficiency in Microsoft Office to public speaking. Leslie Chamberlain, Associate Director for the Alumni Sharing Knowledge program (ASK), encourages students to leverage this feature, “You can increase your SEO and appear on more searches by maximizing this skills feature. Don’t be afraid to fill out all 50 skills.”

  1. Ask for recommendations

LinkedIn has a great feature that allows people to offer public recommendations on your behalf. This tool is best used by coworkers and supervisors to provide insight on their experience working with you. If you’ve worked with a professor on a project, reach out and ask them to write a recommendation for you too! Think of them as mini recommendation letters for future employers to gain insight on your work ethic and ability to work on teams.

When it comes to LinkedIn there’s always something to learn! Don’t miss out on the countless opportunities to use this platform to your advantage in your networking journey or the job search. Want an extra set of eyes on your LinkedIn profile? Stop by the Career Center and meet with a Peer Career Advisor to get some LinkedIn advice. No matter where you are on your LinkedIn journey, the Career Center is here to help.