LinkedIn is one of the largest social media networking sites with 200 million members and continually growing. Described as a way to “build your professional identity online” and “discover professional job opportunities, business deals and new ventures,” LinkedIn provides as excellent way for new graduates or any job searchers to attain a job successfully
First of all, if you have not made a LinkedIn profile, start right now. It’s fairly easy and much like any online resume. It walks you through the steps, asking you to fill out information about experiences, education, skills and details about your work experiences. After that it will have you follow at least three people, who should be within your field of interest and then three companies that you would like to follow. I follow non-profit agencies specifically dealing with homeless and public relation agencies. Again, once you have created the basic profile, you’ll want to do more activities to enhance your profile.
When you create a LinkedIn profile with a professional email (no emails like firstname.lastname@example.org), you have the ability to connect with people within your emailed contact lists. This is one of the most important things about LinkedIn, connections. Similar to Facebook, you can connect with friends and professionals within your work field. You have the opportunity to extract contacts from your personal email, which I highly suggest. When inviting people to join your professional network, LinkedIn has a standard introduction that should you eliminate and add your own personal touch. When first starting out, connect to people you know, but once you have grown your network, reach out to professionals that may help you in your career.
Tread lightly when introducing yourself to individuals you may not know. LinkedIn provides an excellent way to see if you might know an individual through another connection. Similar to the real networking world, ask if the shared connection can introduce you or at least name-drop the shared connection. Again, be professional and mention to the shared connection you are using them as a reference. Connect with people who are in your ideal job, the same industry you are interested in or work for the company where you desire to work. Your old professor might know the HR executive at a public relations firm you are trying to apply for and that professor will be able to recommend you and provide an excellent reference.
A detailed summary of your career should be short and concise. Professionals recommend 100-300 words and using keywords and phrases in the industry where you want to work or may work. You want to put quantifiable and specific achievements. Here are some great summary examples. This is a place to showcase your achievements and toot your own horn.
Similar to the summary, you have the ability to create your online profile in the “experiences” section. You may copy and paste bullet points directly from your actual resume and/or you may expand upon it more in depth. The great thing about LinkedIn is that you can now display your work via the projects section and showcase it digitally. Again, some jobs you may not want to put on your LinkedIn profile, it just depends on what you would like professionals to see. You will want to include jobs that pertain to your career.
LinkedIn has the ability for you to recommend people and people to recommend you. A little short summary of interactions with your co-workers and/or classmates, these recommendations substantiate your claims about your great worth ethic and showcases your ability to work well with others. Not only should you seek out recommendations, write out recommendations for your fellow colleagues. It serves as a pay-it-forward action and will show throughout your profile and the person you are recommending. When asking for a recommendation, it is all right for you draft up a recommendation for the person who is writing the recommendation for you. This serves as another way to show how versatile you are in your field. Ensure that your recommendations have specifics about your skills, projects, and expertise.
Skills are another important feature of LinkedIn that was recently introduced. These would be skills like HTML/CSS skills, public speaking, grant writing, fund development, AP style writing and any type of skills pertaining to your field. You also have the ability to endorse people of these skills and have people endorse you. This gives you credibility and shows recruiters and other individuals that you are talented in your area.
LinkedIn has released multiple new features you should utilize. You have the opportunities to add courses you took, especially if they’re quite advanced and pertain to your field. You also have the ability to add volunteer experiences, which all organizations seek, whether you are applying for non-profit or for-profit jobs. You may show awards you have earned, such as scholarships and any other achievements. You can also add certifications, such as if you’re a certified lifeguard or certified to use a type of software.
The most important thing about LinkedIn (or any job search) is that you remain engaged. Follow companies that you are interested in working for, join alumni groups and post in discussions. Post your own articles that you find interesting and engage within the community. Join professional networks within your city. I’m part of fourteen different groups that I’ll receive email alerts. Some of the most important groups would be alumni groups and young professional groups. Again, you may adjust how many emails you receive from these discussion groups so your email isn’t flooded with daily discussion updates like mine is. When I just started out on the job search, I posted in my alumni’s school group and asked for help. I received a couple of leads that connected me to potential job offers. Ultimately, they didn’t pan out, but had I not asked, I wouldn’t have received an offer. Again, if you have the opportunity to help others, return the favor.
If you utilize all these resources, connect to professionals and network, these skills should help you land a job. You can check out my LinkedIn profile here.