Let’s get down to business: LinkedIn is the hottest social medium for networking and career-building. Instead of sliding into your dream employer’s Instagram DMs, you invite someone to become a part of your network. As millennial/Gen Z students, the vernacular of Instagram and Twitter comes easy to us, but a professional social media site like LinkedIn can come across as daunting.

Have no feartoday we’ll break down in five simple steps how to make the best LinkedIn profile. Let’s get networking!

Post your best headshot

As cliche as it sounds, a picture can say a thousand words, and we want those words to scream employable. A nice professional headshot gives a face to your profile. It also makes your profile much more likely to be clicked on as opposed to a profile with no photo. Pictures allow for us to convey parts of our personalities that may be hard to articulate, like soft skills. And just because LinkedIn is a professional networking site doesn’t mean you can’t express yourself. Match the energy of your photo with the energy of your industry (The ad world is full of fun people, so show the world you’re fun, too!)

Don’t forget about the summary

The summary in our profile may seem daunting, but treat it like a fusion of a dating profile and a resume: You want your future employer to be impressed by your skillset, but also want to have a beer with you. Summaries should be about three to five paragraphs long, with an optional inclusion of a bulleted list. Other summaries are shorter, with just a basic outline of who the person is. Let the experience section speak for itself. Ultimately, the choice is yours. Pro-tip: Make sure to include keywords about what position you are looking for, such as your craft (media relations, art direction, accounts…) or even a general location you are looking for work (East Coast, West Coast, etc). These keywords are how recruiters can find your profile!

Use effective language throughout your profile

Nothing is worse than sounding like everyone else, especially during a job hunt. You want your voice to shine throughout your profile, whether it be from the summary to the experience section; if you worked an internship over the summer, don’t give vague descriptions such as “assisted manager with projects”. Give details. How much did you contribute to the project? Was it just one project, or three? What industry was the client in? On the other hand, if you are using LinkedIn to search for an internship opportunity, capitalize on your school involvement with clubs and student organizations. If you are a leader within an organization on campus, say how you contribute to it, whether it be through being a copywriter for advnt or working on strategy for Elevate

Add all of your experience

Even if it may not directly pertain to the career you may be going into, showcase all of your experience to portray your versatility and ability to mold into many different fields. Any experience (whether it be volunteer work, non-profit projects, school involvement, and beyond) can show recruiters unique skills that stand out from the rest.

Browse around and look at other profiles for inspiration

Find role models within your industry and have a look at how they structure their profiles. Their pages may be a bit more sparse considering often their names speak for themselves, but peep at how they portray themselves. Imitation is the best form of flattery, after all (just don’t copy their summary word-for-word; that would be a bit too much). Pro tip: LinkedIn alerts you of who looks at your profile, so make sure you don’t start stalking everyone from your high school class if you wouldn’t want them to know you were checking up on them. 

While LinkedIn is much more than just creating your profile, it is a large part of what makes new users nervous about the platform. We may be pros at Instagram captions and Snapchat stories, but it is time we stake our claim on LinkedIn as we make our way out into “the real world”.

Don’t forget to add me on your network and send me a message saying you found me through this post!

Written by Sandra Salvatierra