LinkedIn. Ugh, you probably tense up just reading that word. Is it a social networking site or job search platform? (both) Do I really need one? (yes) How can I better utilize it when searching for a job or updating my personal brand? (so many ways)

I promise, having an active LinkedIn presence doesn’t need to be overwhelming. Try these five tips to get your LinkedIn to a place that is presentable and professional. You can do these on your way to the subway, in between happy hours or right before you go in for your first round interview (better late than never!):

Download the App

The trick to getting good at LinkedIn is to – ahem – use it. Download the app, get familiar with the functionality and just start poking around. You can also sign up for updates. When people look at your profile, message you or a new job comes along, you have it right at your fingertips to pounce. I promise, it’s worth the phone space.

Pro tip: If you’re stressed about notifications, you can change them in your settings. Personally, I only get notified when someone Direct Messages me.
Total Time Invested: 30 seconds

Get a Solid Picture

You don’t need a professional studio shot to have a solid LinkedIn profile picture. Just please don’t use a photo that was taken at a social gathering, with your iPhone 4 or is reminiscent of your high school senior photos. This photo should have you – just you – in it. Don’t have one? Enlist a friend or spouse to take one of you on his or her iPhone before you head to work one morning. Then, upload that picture via the app you just downloaded.

Pro tip: Take your picture in front of a solid color wall – the simpler the better!
Total Time Invested: 2 minutes

Connect with your College Friends

I’m always amazed when people have less than 100 connections. If you have less than 100 connections on LinkedIn and I’m a recruiter, I’m going to think that you A) are not an active user B) don’t care about your professional life or C) have no professional connections and therefore are not as valuable to my company. Harsh, but true. Do you feel weird about making connections with people you don’t know? Totally understand, but you probably have friends from college right? Request them and watch your connection count go from a measly 50 to upwards of 250.

Pro tip: LinkedIn makes it really easy and prompts you to connect with “People You May Know”.
Total Time Invested: 5 minutes

Update your Experience

You have a resume, right? Take the bullets under each job title and copy and paste that right into the Experience section of your LinkedIn. This will help recruiters find you because of the SEO capabilities built into LinkedIn.

Pro tip: When you have more time, you should expand the content, upload media and provide links to your work. Just sayin’.
Total Time Invested: 3 minutes

Share Something Valuable

Found a cool article on Forbes? Or Grit & Virtue? Reading something that’s relevant to your current position or the industry you want to get into? Cool. Share that with your LinkedIn community. Similar to Facebook, the more activity you have, the more likely your profile will be popping up on other people’s news feeds. Great for networking and great for getting your personal brand out there.

Pro tip: Set a reminder on your phone to do it 3x a week. Get in the habit now.
Total Time Invested: 1 minute

Whether you’re searching for a new job or just want to improve your online presence, these tips will start moving you in the right direction. Remember, even small changes can create big impact.

Are you on LinkedIn? If so, how are you leveraging it for your career? Have more questions? Let us know in the comments below!

Jena Viviano

Jena is an ex-Wall Streeter turned career coach and entrepreneur who helps go-getter professionals articulate their personal branded career story to land their dream jobs. For fun, you can find her mulling over faith & work theology, exploring Nashville and the checking out the best wine bars in town.

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