How to Use LinkedIn Effectively

By Helen Hernandez

LinkedIn is great tool to expand your network and find a job, but if you aren’t using it effectively then you might as well not have a LinkedIn profile.

First thing is first add a picture and update your heading to what your current status is whether you are a student, a cashier at Barnes and Nobles, or what you want people to know you for.

Rule of thumb: Never leave or put your headline as Unemployed.

The picture must be professional and give an example that says “Hire me.” Avoid pictures that show cleavage, hats, bad lighting, standing in front of a mirror or anything inappropriate. Here is a list of examples by Linkedinsights to avoid while choosing a picture.



Sure the cat is cute, but this does not represent an individual or the chances of being hired.

Here are good examples of what your profile picture should look like a nice clean head shot with proper lighting.

Actors Headshots © Nick Gregan 2010

Next Fill out your profile all of it if possible.

The summary must be filled out and preferably written in third person. The summary is a small biography about your education, work experience, and highlighting any accomplishments.

Once your profile is complete, you can now start networking.

Adding connections is nothing like Facebook! Linkedin is not about clicking “connect” with everyone you know. Unless you know the person on a first name basis and are friends can you do just connect, but it is not good manners.

Next is adding your classmates if you have or are attending college. When adding classmates to someone you rarely spoke to in class, be sure to mention what class you were in.

If not a college student or graduate then add your coworkers, which is the next step and one of the most important things to do.

Whether you work in retail, food, merchandising or business to business and plan to move up the food chain in your career you must add your coworkers.

By doing so it shows that you are an active and involved employee of the company. Secondly it shows your interest in the company and creates an opportunity for growth in employment. Coworkers are the best way to ask for recommendations and endorsements, which I will cover in a future blog.

How to Connect on LinkedIn

ALWAYS write a person message! Do not leave it generic like this.


Here is a good example below I wrote to a former professor.

betterThe message does not need to be long. Be straight forward on how you know each other and what your purpose is for adding them.

Introduce yourself and explain how you know each other and you can leave the last part “I would like to add you to my professional network.”

The example above is basic, and there are better ways to write an invitation to connect with professionals in my field. I have connected with business people I have not met because I included a personal note explaining my interest about shadowing. I have also denied CEOs of companies that have 500+ connections because they did not include a personal note.

Connecting with people in your career field helps give you a better understanding about how a company and its employees work. I connected with public relation professionals to understand more about a companies values and how the employee reflects the same values. Don’t connect with people just to connect, make sure they post valuable content and are worth connecting to.

After connecting with people you know, become part of a group that interest you. For example the PRSA Chapter in your region, or the National Society for Hispanic Professionals, journalism, film or AD groups.

Last connect with companies and organizations by following them. Companies are constantly recruiting and looking for employees on LinkedIn. Companies you follow will post job listing online and will allow for you to apply.


Thank you for reading, and I hope these tips were helpful. Please feel free to ask questions about LinkedIn and if this was helpful or not?

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