LinkedIn is an online platform that people use to connect with professionals to help grow their career. LinkedIn profiles let you present your skills and experience to companies, increasing your chances of becoming employed at your dream job.

Over 200 countries and territories have people and employers on LinkedIn. In total, about 433 million people have profiles. It is the only social media site that is used significantly by the older population, or people ages 50-65. Reports also indicate that about 98% of recruiters and 85% of hiring managers use LinkedIn.

There are many other benefits to creating a LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn lets you connect with anyone, anywhere. “Connect” is a term that relates to networking. It is what happens when you meet someone who can help you find a job. By connecting with people, you are giving yourself more opportunities for employment. LinkedIn can be especially useful for people with autism because it allows you to communicate in a comfortable, online setting. You can make (and maintain) your work connections without any of the social anxiety that often stems from face-to-face communication.If you are interested in create your own LinkedIn profile, here are some helpful hints to get started.

Name, Picture, and Contact Information

It is important that these three things are accurate.

  • Use your first and last name.
  • Upload a picture. Your profile is more likely to be viewed if you have a photo. Make sure this photo is just of you (no friends or family!) with a plain background.
  • Include information such as your email address, Twitter account, and Facebook account. This will help people get in touch with you. Be sure your email handle, Twitter feed, and Facebook profile are professional before linking them. If they aren’t, do not include these links.

EXAMPLE: Meet my friend, Lincoln. Lincoln wants to get LinkedIn. Signing up, he puts his name as Lincoln Brown. He puts his sports jacket on, stands in front of a white wall, and takes a photo of himself. He then uploads this photo to his new LinkedIn profile. Lastly, he types in his email and a link to his Facebook.

Headline

Your headline has been reported to be one of the most important parts of your profile. The headline tells people, in few characters, how you identify yourself.

It is important to use keywords in your headline. Keywords are specific words that people search for when looking for employees. Examples include “Videographer,” “Psychologist,” or “Sales Associate”. Using a keyword will make your profile more likely to pop up when companies narrow their search. Here are examples of some headlines that stick out. How to create an expert headline can be found here.

EXAMPLE: Lincoln loves food. He has worked in the food industry when he was a teenager. The most important thing Lincoln wants people to know about him is that he has experience in the food service industry. His headline says, “Senior manager improving food and customer service” This headline now tells people Lincoln’s main attribute.

Summary

The summary is where potential employers learn why you are unique in your industry. Your summary should embody each important aspect of who you are: what you do, what you like, and what your talents are. Here are some templates for your summary.

EXAMPLE: Lincoln writes:

I am a current employee at Chipotle serving food in my community. I have worked at various food chains such as McDonald’s and Chipotle. I am most specialized in food service: taking orders and preparing them in a timely manner and hope to have my own restaurant one day.

In my free time, I study and learn about nutrition and health. Cooking is my favorite part about studying nutrition. I throw together delicious dishes with lots of superfoods! My favorite thing I have made so far is an oven-seared honey-glazed chicken with a side of kale, quinoa, and avocado salad.

Please feel free to contact me if you are looking for an employee with knowledge and passion for food service. My email is LinkedInLincoln@exampleemail.com.  

Experience

Adding your experience helps offer insight into your job history: what you have learned and what skills you have acquired. Your experience is like your footsteps, they show how you got to where you are. Make it interesting. Do this by talking about what you have accomplished, including projects and publications.

EXAMPLE: Under this section Lincoln lists his past jobs, along with the places he has volunteered with. At each job, he learned different skills. Here is a portion of his experience section:

[Job Title] Crew Member
[Company] McDonald’s
[Time Frame] January 2012 - August 2013
[Description] Managed customer service and cut speed of service by an average of 4 minutes per customer by implementing team strategies.

Recommendations

Getting recommendations from past supervisors, coworkers, and clients boosts your profile by confirming to potential employers that you are a reliable worker. Your recommender can tell everyone why you are good at what you do! It can be scary to ask for a recommendation, but nothing bad can come from asking.

EXAMPLE: Lincoln was an excellent employee at his past jobs. As a result, he asked his supervisor and a frequent customer to write him a recommendation. Under this section, the supervisor and customer have written positive recommendations for him.

Groups

Groups are platforms for you to connect with people who have similar interests to you. There are multiple types of groups, including your alma mater, associations, TED talk fanatics, writers of the future, and so on. Inside groups, you can post an article, video, or discussion topic to promote your name and conversation. People will recognize you in the group and this can increase your networking opportunities. You can also comment on other posts, letting you become part of the community. Learn more about how to use groups here.

EXAMPLE: A few minutes after searching groups, Lincoln has joined “Food Innovation,” “Cooking Nutrition,” and “Food Industry Careers.” He also joined “Elite Soccer” because of his love for the sport. Within the first ten minutes, Lincoln is already discussing the newest ways to serve food efficiently, how to mix oil and vinegar, and who is going to be ranked #1 this year in the soccer world. 

Other Helpful Hints

  1. Connect with as many people as you can
  2. Use various keywords whenever possible to enhance the likelihood employers find you
  3. Update your status to keep yourself visible
  4. Simplify your personal URL to just reflect your name: www.linkedin.com/in/lincolnbrown
  5. Endorse other people’s skills so they endorse you (This means people agree that you have a specific skill)
  6. Share updates