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I Don’t Know How to Use LinkedIn

My senior year of high school, as soon as I made the decision on where to attend college, I also made another very important move: I joined Facebook. Back in my day, you needed to have an @edu e-mail address to join. Since then, Zuckerberg sold out and now everyone and their mother is on Facebook. I’m not kidding. My 12-year-old cousin, her mother, and my own mother are using the social media site. It’s sick.

Moving on.

I quickly realized that Facebook is great for connecting with people, but if you want to fool browsers of the Interwebs into thinking you have your shit together, you need to get a LinkedIn. LinkedIn, as we all know, is the virtual resume site geared toward helping people make professional connections in their field…or something. I graduated from college in 2010, and I still have no fucking clue how to use LinkedIn. I actually have a few questions about it:

1) The Picture

I know this isn’t Facebook, and there’s no need for me to make my LinkedIn picture a shot from my friend’s wedding where I’m simulating deep throat using my bridesmaid’s bouquet, but what the fuck is a LinkedIn appropriate picture, exactly? Do I crop myself out of a semi-candid shot, or do I post a professional photo? Do I want to say, “I’m professional and have a stick on up my ass?” or “This is my face?” Unclear.

2) Experience

Am I supposed to make a bulleted list, or provide an in-depth description? Am I supposed to embellish, like half of the people I’m connected to have, or should I just be a straight shooter and tell it like it is? Nobody taught me about this in undergrad, for fuck’s sake.

3) Interests

Again, am I supposed to write full sentences? Should I just list professional interests, or does LinkedIn really care that I’m a vodka connoisseur and former college cheerleader? Should I mention I enjoy a good game of tennis, but I tend to get overly competitive and drop a few F-bombs? Or does saying I’m interested in “digital media and technical writing” suffice?

4) Connections

Literally, all of my LinkedIn connections are people I either went to college with or people I currently work with. I use LinkedIn to stalk my ex-boyfriend, but only after I’m notified he viewed my profile. I suppose that originally LinkedIn was made for recruiters to have a database of potential job candidates, and as a candidate, it was useful to know who had looked at your profile. The only people who view my profile are my friends, and the only time I can even make a connection with my friends are once we have a few mutual connections. I mainly use LinkedIn as a way of stalking potential suitors, determining whether or not their earning potential is acceptable, and judging everyone else I went to school with to see how I stack up next to them, professionally.

I haven’t applied for a job based off a LinkedIn connection, and I actually think it’s fucking weird when someone in my field whom I don’t know personally adds me as a connection. I sent a semi-joking congratulatory email to my boss once he updated his profile and added his recent promotion title. About once a week, I go on LinkedIn and update my connections as I see fit. Overall, I have no idea what I’m doing or even if I’m using it correctly, and ultimately it makes me feel like even more of a failure than when I log on and see that my former college fuck buddy now has his own successful business and turned down an offer from Mark Cuban on Shark Tank.

I don’t think I’m using LinkedIn correctly. #PGP

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Alex Engelbert

Alex Engelbert is an contributing writer for Total Sorority Move (@PearlsHiltonTSM) and Post Grad Problems.

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