Even if you’re just in high school or college, having a LinkedIn profile is so important. It’s absolutely free and is widely recognized as the best professional networking site.

LinkedIn is a great way to collect all your job experiences in one place. Obviously a resume does the same thing, but updating them to LinkedIn without having to reformat an entire resume is supremely helpful. In LinkedIn, you can also upload past projects, portfolios, and links to your work, that can help future employers better understand your capabilities. Here’s a few reasons why every future female leader should make a LinkedIn profile. 

Show off certifications

Certifications like Google AdWords Certified and HubSpot,you can link to your online certificates to prove you are a subject matter expert in that area. Other industries offer these certifications as well, and they easily connect to your LinkedIn profile. In fact, sometimes it’s the only way to demonstrate your certification.  

It helps rank your name on Google

The Google algorithm and ranking system recognizes LinkedIn profiles and ranks them higher in the search listing. This is great for name recognition and brand building. Especially if you share a name with a criminal.

LinkedIn maintains your contacts in a centralized place.  

As we go to a lot of political conferences, this is a great way to stay connected with those that you meet. Which perfectly segues into my next point…

LinkedIn allows you use contacts for an introduction to other connections.

By having a LinkedIn connection (1st Degree), they can introduce you to 2nd Degree connections (people they are connected with). This is helpful for job searching, connecting with industry leaders, and other networking.

You can follow companies and industry leaders you admire.

Companies and industry leaders often publish articles on the latest developments and press releases for the companies. This is helpful in a job search and just general knowledge of what is going on in your field.

Join industry specific groups for newest data and research.

I’m personally a member of social media marketing and digital strategy groups. Not only are groups constantly posting helpful articles about new trends (a recent example was how Instagram not showing likes on posts will affect digital influencers), but sometimes groups will even post job listings to the group.

Utilize recommendations

If you have a great relationship with a (former) manager or client, you can request that they write you a brief recommendation on LinkedIn. If you have strong advocates, this is a chance for those relationships to shine. They can speak to your unique skillset in a way you can’t.

Recruiting

An important aspect of LinkedIn is connecting with recruiters who may be able to match you to a position if you need a job down the line. Similarly, they may ask you to match a colleague for a position, and you could get a small finder’s fee!

So now that you know you need a LinkedIn, here are a few best practices.

Have a professional head shot.

Be sure to check with your career center. Often times career centers at high schools and universities will have a head shot session. Be sure to wear a plain, business professional top (no patterns- it reflects better on camera) and look groomed with your hair and makeup.

Use action words.

It’s important to use words that effectively explain what you do/did at your job, and how you ultimately impacted the organization.

When requesting to connect with people you don’t necessarily know, include a personal introduction.

There is a box to write a brief note about how you know this person. Take time to detail why you would be a valuable connection to them, and vice versa.

Jordan O
CABINET

Jordan Orris is a second year M.S. Integrated Marketing Communications graduate student at Ole Miss. She graduated from Auburn University in marketing and journalism. Originally from Henderson, Nevada, she enjoys SEC Football, reading, and politics.