I signed up for LinkedIn: Here's my story

In a recent blog post, I talked a little about LinkedIn. After about a day of serious writing and reflection, I decided to complete my own profile and see what I could do with LinkedIn. If you read the earlier post I wrote about LinkedIn, don’t worry! We’ll be talking about completely different things this time around.

We're all really familiar with technology, but I still loved the simple-to-use beginner steps for my account. I followed the steps easily enough and filled out most of my profile from there.

One of the first steps that tripped me up a little was getting a profile picture, and I realized I wasn't taking a great photo. Here's some good advice on taking more professional selfies.

Thanks to my previous post about blogging, I remembered to unpack each job into multiple tasks. For example, “blogging” turned into three tasks: conducting interviews, attending events, and researching topics.

After I added my education and job experiences, I created a summary that went over who I am and what I do. I wrote a couple paragraphs about my job, schooling, and hobbies that translate into skills. I added a section of “What I’m Really Good At” at the bottom to show off a few very specific skills that I believe I have.

I also added in a “I’m currently obsessing over” section because my adviser and pal in EWU’s Career Services had it in his profile. I didn’t use this space to talk video games or music, but I did get to talk about how much I love letterforms and the colors I’m seeing in autumn (the more I design, the more I notice subtle changes in color. I highly recommend looking around and noticing those kinds of things).

Then, I added connections to my profile. I wasn’t sure who to add so I only added people I knew and trusted professionally. This meant that I didn’t add any of my friends.

Wait, what?

Well for one, LinkedIn is a professional network, not a social network. My family and friends don’t have experience working with me. As LinkedIn connections, they aren’t helpful.

One thing I was afraid of was endorsement bias. That happens when someone endorses you for a skill they couldn’t possibly know I have. How could my friends know about my Photoshop skills if they’ve never seen my Photoshop work. where I’d be endorsed for a skill my friends don’t know if I have.

I’ve seen profiles where someone has every skill endorsed by someone they have never worked with, and it’s not impressive. What’s worse is the anxiety I felt about being endorsed and then having a friend expect me to endorse them in return.

I ended up adding a few professional contacts including my boss, a few of my instructors, and folks around the college. I tried to find instructors who knew my skills and might be able to speak for them.

Every time I added someone I sent along a message. This isn’t necessary for people I’ve known forever, but I found that adding a little message meant to me that I was thinking seriously about them as a business contact, not just someone I added for the heck of it.

Finally I worked on my headline. I originally wanted to use “Baron of Blogs”, but decided my skill level wasn’t quite up to that par. I ended up with “Admissions Blogger, Publishing Student, Guy with Photoshop” because I felt like that fit with who I currently am, though I might change to Baron of Blogs when I’ve done more. 😉

LinkedIn image of me and my title

I’ll sign off with this interesting tip. You’ll see people across LinkedIn with connections ranging from 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 3rd+. 1st connections are your connections, 2nd are the connections of one of your connections, and so on. This helps you gauge how connected you are to someone else.

Now get out there and make connections!

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