Facebook. Updated.

Twitter. Checked.

Instagram. Scrolled.

But… LinkedIn?

Even for the most technologically advanced generation, LinkedIn is still a mystery. Understandably so, but recruiters, your boss, your boss’s boss, and your future boss, are all on LinkedIn. You should be too!

A LinkedIn profile can be broken into 4 main categories: profile picture, profile summary, headline, and your lists.

1. Profile picture: When you are searched on LinkedIn your profile picture is the first and one of the few things seen. Using a professional headshot is a safe bet. Guaranteed to portray you in a professional manner.

If you are unable to take headshots, don’t fret! Generally shots that show just your shoulders and face are appropriate to use as a LinkedIn profile picture. You should be the only person in the picture and the picture’s center focus.

2. Headline: Your headline is the other aspect of your profile shown when searched. Your default headline is usually the name and description of your most current professional work position. Your headline doesn’t necessarily need to be flashy, but people do choose to create their own.

Headlines are a way to communicate your basic background in a short sentence. If your resume objective is short enough, it may be used as a headline.

3. Profile summary: This is one of your first full impressions to whomever is viewing your profile. It does seem like a daunting task, but it can be broken down into smaller pieces!

First: Visualize who you’re talking to. Be it a potential business partner, future boss,  future landlord, etc. Know your audience. What are they looking for? How are you their perfect fit?
Second: What do you want them to know about you? It may be easier think of this in terms of your experience, or in terms of individual traits. Write your ideas down, be as explicit as possible. You may need to talk this list out with a friend, sleep on it, etc. Definitely work at your own pace, remember, there isn’t a due date!
Third: It’s okay to brag! It’s YOUR LinkedIn profile. Show who you are and what you’ve done, unabashedly. If this concept makes you nervous, research influential people in your field. Their summaries can be very helpful when writing your own.
Lastly: Your LinkedIn summary should be, at most, two paragraphs. First person pronouns are expected, but third person is fine too. Like a college essay, your summary should show your voice in a situation-appropriate manner.

4. Lists! The lists on your LinkedIn include: Experience, Projects, Education, Skills & Endorsements, Community Service, Organizations, Courses, Honors & Awards, Languages, Test Scores, Publications, Patents, and Certifications.
In no way are you expected to have an entry for each list - you’d be one very busy bee!

But they are great ways for your profile reader’s to paint a complete picture of who you are. Copying information from your resume is a great way to start adding information to your LinkedIn.

I highly suggest creating descriptions for each entry in a list! Internship and full-time job recruiters routinely do searches for candidates. By using SEO keywords or buzzwords you can increase your chances of being found by a recruiter.

LinkedIn profiles are public, so you never know who may find yours!

Zaire Johnson will graduate in 2019 from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. A Computer Systems Engineering and Mechanical Engineering major, Zaire dreams of serving as the Secretary of State.