Michelle Reynolds, Staff Writer

LinkedIn is a free source that has so many perks, it’s almost crazy not to use it! So why do only 13 percent of millennials (15-34 years old) use LinkedIn? LinkedIn is like a professional Facebook: you create and share content, you like and follow others. However, while Facebook has cost many people their jobs, LinkedIn is here to help you land the job.

LinkedIn can:

  • Help companies understand who you are as a professional.
  • Give you the opportunity to network and expand who you know. You never know who might lead you to your destiny.
  • Get you internships and jobs. Seventy-seven percent of all available jobs are posted on LinkedIn, and 48 percent of those jobs are not advertised on any other social networking site. That makes LinkedIn one of the single best resources on the entire internet.

Omar Garriott, a professor who teaches students how to utilize LinkedIn, stated, “Think of LinkedIn as your resume that never sleeps. But a lot more. It’s your professional brand in the world. It’s the result you actually want up top when someone Googles you (which they will!).”

Tips to Create a Standout LinkedIn Page

  • Complete additional profile sections. Filling out all the sections helps create a fuller picture of who you are and can help make up for areas you lack in. Certain things that didn’t make it on the resume can also now be highlighted in your profile, such as publications or relevant classes you’ve taken that have helped prepare you for the field.
  • Choose your words wisely. According to CollegeInfoGeek.com, “hiring is becoming increasingly data-driven. What this means for you is that recruiters will use particular keywords to filter through LinkedIn profiles in order to find potential job candidates.” Not only is picking the right keywords important but making sure you spell them correctly is equally important. Statistics show that a grammatical error, along with bad profile picture, are key reasons why people don’t get called in for an interview. One of the biggest places to utilize keywords is the title of your profile. It is one of the first sentences people read about you, so make sure it is clear what you do and what field you want to go into. Saying you are a “Business student at UMSL” is a waste, instead put “Business major/Entrepreneur” or put your job title.
  • Share your work. LinkedIn can serve as a digital portfolio, easily storing your work and showcasing your talents to potential employers. If you’re shy about sharing your work, too bad. No one will hire you if you just say you are a great artist or writer; potential employers have to see it. Help recruiters visualize what type of talent you bring to the table. When editing your profile, you have the option to upload papers or presentations you’ve done that you are proud of and can even link attachments to a particular skill.

LinkedIn is free and easy to use. It helps connect you with old friends, business acquaintances and future employers. LinkedIn is like Facebook for the professional world, and in fact, it is the No. 1 social network for professionals. So why aren’t you on it right now?