#HowToAdult Using LinkedIn to its Fullest Potential

You've probably heard about LinkedIn from your college advisers, family, or employers. I remember hearing about it in an Education class my Sophomore year of college. But I'll be the first to admit that I didn't feel comfortable with my LinkedIn profile until this summer. I didn't know how to use it effectively, or what to write down in each box. Was I supposed to reach out and add random connections? How do endorsements work? Whats the benefit of even having this profile? These questions swirled around in my brain for a long time - until I decided to sit down and get serious about my personal and professional brand.

If you're not sure how to use LinkedIn, start at square one - your profile. Perfecting it will take some time, but I've got some tips to help make it easier plus snag you some connections on the way to that perfect LinkedIn profile!

- Use your headline to officially brand yourself. I work at a K-8 school as a student teacher plus I run this lifestyle blog. I wanted my headline to incorporate both of those titles, so I chose "Creative influencer + Student teacher". You don't have to limit yourself to one area.

- The best and busiest times on Linked in are morning and midday Monday thru Friday.

- Not only promote yourself via status updates, but promote others as well. For example, if I really enjoy someone's blog post I'll link the article + the author in a status update. This brings people to their profile, and in return brings people from their network to mine.

- If you've connected with someone on LinkedIn and enjoy their work, make the effort to connect with them through other social media. Twitter is a great outlet to reach out and stay up to date on what your connections are doing.

- I've seen so many profiles on LinkedIn but so little updates. I didn't realize that you could publish an update on LinkedIn until recently. Try to publish an update once a week as a starting point - this gets your profile out there and will help you attract more connections. As a blogger, feature your posts on LinkedIn.

- Recommendations look awesome on LinkedIn. Reach out to your employers and colleagues for recommendations and endorsements. It's perfectly normal and encouraged to message them via LinkedIn asking for the recommendation - LinkedIn gives them all the information for doing so.

- Joining groups is a great way to network outside of your connections without paying for a premium account. Make it a goal to join 10 different groups and start interacting with the people in them.

- I've seen mixed tips on connections, so this one is coming from my own personal opinion. You need to be careful with your connections. Add people who will benefit you professionally in some way, and add people you know. BUT, also strive for 500 connections. Having that "500+" on your profile is awesome!

- LinkedIn has given us the freedom to move the order of boxes on our profile. Use this to your advantage and organize your profile. I have my summary, experiences, volunteering, projects, and education as my first few things. Decide which areas you want to show off and move them to the top!

- If you're thinking about investing in business cards, create a QR code to go on them that will link back to your profile. This shows your technological savvy personality & lets people connect with you quickly during a networking conversation.

- LinkedIn is a place of professionalism, but also an outlet to show your personality. Your LinkedIn profile doesn't have to be as stiff as a resume. Show off your personality and allow yourself to stand out from the usual LinkedIn profile.

- Avoid reaching out until you're completely happy with your profile. The people you plan on connecting with are going to view your profile once they see your invitation, so make sure you've updated all of your information before sending our the invite. 

{Feel free to check out my LinkedIn for more inspiration}