How to Linkedin

Written by: Geneva Nodland

Maybe you’ve heard it before, maybe you haven’t—regardless, most professionals will tell you how important it is to have an updated, complete LinkedIn profile. We’re here to tell you the truth about the network, and give you some tips and tricks to creating the best profile to not only sell yourself to employers but to network with your community and to feel confident in your resume!


How to Linkedin

Your LinkedIn profile is your career storybook—write it well.

  • It’s a networking tool, not just a job search engine.
  • Tailor your profile to your career level and aspirations.
  • Keep it updated, engaging, and visually appealing. • No matter your age or career, LinkedIn i s a key player in your professional success.

Your Digital Handshake

In the ever-evolving job market, where first impressions are increasingly made online, a polished LinkedIn profile isn’t just a nice-to-have; it’s your digital handshake. Whether you’re a seasoned executive or a fresh-faced apprentice, an up-todate LinkedIn profile is a vital tool in your career toolbox. Let’s break down why it’s essential and how you can make yours stand out, regardless of your age or career path.

1. Why Does It Matter?

Over 700 million users strong, LinkedIn is where professionals mingle, recruiters scout, and opportunities knock.

First Impressions Count: Think of your profile as your online business—it’s often the first thing a potential employer or client will see.

Beyond Job Hunting: It’s not just for job seekers. LinkedIn is a platform for building a network, showcasing expertise, and staying informed about your industry.

2. Do I Really Need It?

Some argue that LinkedIn is just another social media time sink, or unnecessary for certain trades. But in a world where digital presence is synonymous with professional presence, can you afford to be the missing piece in the networking puzzle?

No matter your trade, no one is exempt from the “online stalk” that anyone with access to the internet does. When a potential employer or coworker Googles you, or really when anyone Googles you—it might make you feel better to know there’s a reputable profile highlighting your best qualities at the top of that search.

Special Tips for Different Career Paths

White-Collar Professionals

1. Showcase Thought Leadership

Publish articles or share insights on industry trends. This positions you as a knowledgeable player in your field. Participate in relevant LinkedIn groups by contributing to discussions and sharing your expertise.

2. Highlight Technical Skills and Certifications

Include any technical skills, software proficiency, or certifications that are relevant to your field and update these regularly to reflect your growing skill set.

3. Network Expansion

Don’t hesitate to reach out with personalized messages to establish meaningful connections.

4. Visual Portfolio

For roles in marketing, design, or content creation, use the feature to add multimedia elements to your experience section (e.g., presentations, videos, design work).

Blue-Collar Professionals

1. Showcase Hands On Projects

Add photos or brief videos of projects you’ve worked on, especially those where you played a significant role or learned new skills. Highlight any unique or challenging aspects of these projects.

2. Certifications and Training

List any trade certifications, safety training, or apprenticeships. These are crucial in many blue-collar industries and add credibility. Remember to update your profile as you complete additional training or renew certifications.

3. Recommendations From Supervisors and Peers

Request recommendations from supervisors, peers, or clients who can speak to your work ethic, skills, and on-the-job performance. Personal testimonials can be very powerful in industries where trust and reliability are paramount.

4. Practical Skills Listing

Be specific about your skills. For example, instead of just “welding,” list the types of welding you’re proficient in— plus, include any specialized machinery or equipment you are experienced in operating.

“Today, a white-collar worker generally refers to a professional who works in an administrative or office job, and a blue-collar worker is a professional who performs some type of skilled or manual labor. In contrast to how blue and white-collar workers were perceived in the twentieth century, in today’s society, the type of work does not define a person’s education or social class.”

from a LinkedIn News article, October 2022

By tailoring your LinkedIn profile to your specific career path and staying active on the platform, you can significantly enhance your professional visibility and open up new opportunities for career advancement!

How to: Craft a Profile for All Ages and Stages

1. Start with a Bang: The Headline and Summary

Your headline isn’t just your job title. Make it a catchy elevator pitch about who you are and what you bring to the table.

Summaries should tell a story, not just list skills. Think of it as a professional bio that highlights your journey, aspirations, and unique value.

2. Experience and Education: The Meat and Potatoes

Detail your work experience and education, but keep it crisp. Tailor it to reflect the skills and experiences most relevant to where you want to go, not just where you’ve been.

3. Skill Showcase: More Than Just a List

List skills that are relevant to your desired career path, but also include soft skills like teamwork and communication.

Seek endorsements and recommendations from colleagues, mentors, and managers. They add credibility and a personal touch to your profile.

4. Making Connections: Networking Know-How

If you’re unfamiliar, you “connect” with other profiles on LinkedIn, like you “friend” other profiles on Facebook; so when making connections, remember quality over quantity. Connect with individuals in your industry, alumni, and groups that align with your career interests.

Engage with your network through thoughtful comments and sharing relevant content. Be a contributor, not just a consumer!

5. Profile Aesthetics: The Visual Appeal

A clear, professional headshot is a must. It’s like a firm handshake in digital form. A personalized URL is easier to share and looks cleaner on business cards.

6. Keeping It Fresh: The Power of Updating

Regularly update your profile with new skills, accomplishments, or portfolio pieces. It shows you’re active and evolving in your career.

For students and new grads

Focus on internships, volunteer work, and relevant projects. Show your eagerness to learn and grow.

For the experienced professionals

Highlight recent roles and achievements that reflect your current career trajectory.

How to: Custom URL

1. Log into your LinkedIn profile.

2. Click on your profile picture or the ‘Me’ icon at the top of your LinkedIn homepage, then select ‘View Profile.’

3. On the right side of your profile page, look for the ‘Edit public profile & URL’ link. This will direct you to a new page for public profile settings.

4. In the right-hand section titled ‘Edit your custom URL,’ you’ll see a URL link that includes your name. Click the ‘Edit’ icon next to this URL.

5. Your custom URL can contain 5-30 letters or numbers. Do not use spaces, symbols, or special characters. A good practice is to use a variation of your name that’s professional and easy to remember.

For example, ( If your name is common, you might need to get creative by adding your middle initial, industry, or professional designation (e.g., JohnSmithCPA).

6. After choosing your new URL, click ‘Save’ to update your profile.

How to: Professional Headshot

Researching Local Talent: A Breeze in Fargo-Moorhead

Booking a photographer for your professional headshot in Fargo-Moorhead is easier than you might think. With a ton of local talent, your photographer is just a few clicks away— Google, explore websites, check out online portfolios, and read reviews! Social media, particularly Instagram, is also a goldmine for discovering local photographers’ work and style. Many photographers have an online booking system, making scheduling a session both convenient and flexible.

Budget Friendly Headshots

Understandably, not everyone has the budget for a professional shoot. If that’s your case, don’t fret! Taking your own headshot is a viable alternative. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when DIYing your headshot.

1. Camera Quality Matters

Use the best camera available to you. A DSLR camera is ideal, but many modern smartphones come equipped with excellent cameras that can do the job.

2. Lighting is Key

Natural light works wonders. Position yourself near a window with soft, indirect light. Avoid harsh sunlight or dark, poorly lit rooms.

3. Background

Choose a neutral, uncluttered background. A plain wall or a simple outdoor setting free from distractions works well.

4. Dress Professionally

Wear what you would for a job interview. Solid colors are typically best, avoiding overly busy patterns that can distract.

5. Camera Positioning

The camera should be at eye level and not too close to avoid distortion. If using a phone, use the back camera for better quality. Speaking of, grab a friend, a parent, or even a nicelooking stranger to help you with this—meaning, no selfies!

Tip! Many smartphones have a portrait mode that helps to focus on the subject and blur the background.

6. Natural Pose and Expression

Aim for a natural, approachable look. Practice your smile in a mirror; it should be genuine but professional.

7. Test and Review

Take several shots with different angles and expressions. Use basic editing tools to adjust lighting and crop the photo. Avoid over-editing; the goal is to look like the best version of your natural self.

Your Digital Footprint in the Professional World

Your LinkedIn profile is more than just an online resume; it’s a living, breathing narrative of your professional journey. No matter the season of your career, your LinkedIn profile is a gateway to opportunities and connections in the modern workforce. Craft it with care, keep it updated, and watch as it opens doors to career paths you’ve yet to explore!

Now, go forth and network like a pro—your future self will thank you!

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Geneva is an Editor at Spotlight Media and writes for Fargo Monthly, Trendsetters and Fargo Inc. She is also a professional photographer.