Why do I want a LinkedIn profile?

In the mid-2ooo’s LinkedIn emerged as a new way to connect online. Unlike other online platforms, the goal wasn’t pure social connection. It was touted as a way to form work-based networks. As with any new online presence, many people rushed to join. However, people quickly realized this wasn’t a social media platform like what they were used to. There are lots of people who created a LinkedIn profile in the beginning, but haven’t updated their information, profile picture or connections in years. Let’s dive in and explore what LinkedIn is, why it’s important and some easy steps to update your profile.

What is LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is designed as a professional networking platform. People use the site to stay connected, find a job and improve their job skills. It’s free and offers a way to tailor your professional presence. Users can also write posts, share articles or follow companies. LinkedIn is available on a computer, mobile app or mobile website.

Everyone who joins LinkedIn uses the free version automatically. There is a Premium version, although in the 10+ years of having a profile I’ve never needed the extra features.

You can search for an internship or job, or let employers know you are interested in finding a job. I also enjoy seeing the top shared articles and a collection of popular news topics on the site. You can message other users, which I’ve found is a great way to add connections, have quick conversations or ask someone to write a recommendation for me. 

Why is LinkedIn important?

LinkedIn Learning logo

I love LinkedIn! It’s an important tool for job seekers and people who want to grow their professional presence and network. This free resource is used by millions of people each year.

With your library card you also have free access to one of the best resources around, LinkedIn Learning. You can take learning paths (a multi-lesson, multi-hour option) or a course (a single focused subject) to build skills and close learning gaps.

I’ve used LinkedIn Learning to refresh or enhance skills I need to do my work effectively. In 2020 I took a course on Office 365 when the Library moved to that product for staff. Library training professional Shari Schawo said, “If I have to learn something, I go to LinkedIn Learning. It doesn’t make any assumptions, it starts at the beginning, and it’s the best thing around. It’s like a trainer you can use anytime you need it!” 

Update your profile

I’ll bet many of you already have a LinkedIn profile. I’d also guess many of you don’t have a profile picture. It’s probably the default one, a grey circle with a white head in the middle. Here are a few steps to dust off your profile and make it more relevant and engaging. 

  1. Add a profile picture. It doesn’t need to be a professional headshot. Dress nicely from the waist up and make sure your face is clean. If you have a smart phone with a camera or even a camera, ask someone you trust to take a couple pictures for you. Choose your favorite and upload it as your profile picture. 
  2. Update your work history. Make sure the title nearest your name is your current or most recent job title. Describe the work you have done at each of your listed jobs. Write with a past tense for your past jobs and use the present tense for a current job. 
  3. Brainstorm. Make a list of any awards, accomplishments, certifications, organizations or other special things you’ve received, joined or completed. I bet there’s a spot for it on your LinkedIn. Including these things helps your profile stand out. 
  4. Ask for help! Reach out to a member of the library’s Business and Careers Team to schedule a time to review your LinkedIn profile. 

Check out our list of recommended titles on networking, job skills and connecting with others.

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Meredith is the Business and Careers Librarian. Her focus is on helping people become entrepreneurs, find a job or career they enjoy, access legal information and become financially literate, and helping nonprofits with grant research. She is passionate about eliminating barriers to access in all forms through digital equity and equitable access to information. She loves to read mysteries, historical fiction and historical mysteries. When she isn't working she loves to spend time with her family and enjoys learning new things to keep her mind fresh.