One of my students at LCU recently emailed me with this question:

I hear that LinkedIn’s website is a good way to do networking.  Do you have any suggestions on how I can effectively do networking for my future career now?

First, this is a great question. While other students are watching Netflix and playing video games, she’s already working to make an impression on future employers. In my marketing classes, we say that marketing is getting people to know, like, and trust you. Everything you do–whether you’re a business or a college student wanting to get hired or start a business some day–is marketing. Start building your LinkedIn profile now and you’re marketing yourself like a boss.

For the uninitiated, LinkedIn is a social networking site for business professionals. Think Facebook but without the playground. It’s a place for people display credentials (like a resume), share content, and connect.

If you’re new to LinkedIn, you’ll need to set up a profile. What should you include? This article, “What Every College Student Should Post on LinkedIn,” will help you get started. Pay attention to the first point: get a good headshot photograph (not an Instagram selfie). Research shows that profiles with photos are seven times more likely to get viewed than profiles without a photo. Again, it’s all about getting other LinkedIn members (think: prospective employers or clients) to know, like, and trust you.

What else can you do? More important than a good online profile is strong character.

Do good work in the classroom, show up on time, pay attention, participate in discussions, ask questions, be a leader. Take risks and be willing to fail. Care about the people around you. Be the kind of person your professors want to recommend. Many of us want to do that but you need to show us you’re worth it.

That will get you started. Once you’ve got a profile set up, let’s connect.

(Shameless plug: I know where you can get a good headshot.)