Not Just for Social Media Students and Recent College Graduates
“If you’re not on LinkedIn, you simply don’t exist in the working world” (Omar, 2015). A bold statement, but truthful, especially for social media students and recent college graduates. And that’s why it resonates with so many of us. With 100 million members in over 200 countries and counting, LinkedIn is the largest and most vibrant professional social network in the world. It provides a wealth of opportunities for personal branding, networking, and recruitment (Pollack, 2011).
Social media students, your LinkedIn is who you are to grad schools, future colleagues, and the people who may be hiring you. It’s your professional brand to the world (Omar, 2015).
Recent college graduates, your LinkedIn is a living resume that’s accessible to recruiters 24/7. It’s a more complete representation of who you are and why you would be a good fit for a position (Skoplijak, 2016).
Using LinkedIn to its full capacity is fundamental to succeeding as a professional. So, here are 9 tips for making the most of this critical social network:
LinkedIn profiles with a photo alone, get 14x more views (Omar, 2015). The Good News: Potential employers are searching on LinkedIn for someone with your experience. The bad news: They don’t want to hire a gray avatar (McMullen, 2015). Use a high-quality, appropriate photo of you alone, dressed professionally, facing forward.
The text below your name and above your location is “the most important piece of real estate on your entire LinkedIn profile” (McMullen, 2015). On average, a recruiter only spends six seconds looking at your profile. Although it doesn’t sound like a lot of time, it’s just enough time to captivate their attention and keep them engaged in you as a candidate (Nash, 2015). Therefore, use that real estate as a personal branding slogan that makes you stand out from the crowd. “Recent graduate”, for instance, will simply lump you in with a group of over 3 million of your peers (Nash, 2015).
Be concise about your experience, qualifications, and goals. This is your chance to show your personality and tell your story. Your job here is to make recruiters want to listen to you (Nash, 2015).
This section is meant for listing the jobs you’ve held, a brief description of what you were responsible for, and what you accomplished. Use bullet points, they will help you use repeating phrases that make it easier for recruiters to find you (Pollack, 2011). The most important part of this section is that you’re not leaving out any critical details about your work history (Omar, 2015). Students, be confident in the skills acquired, and show them off (McMullen, 2015).
Build a strong network so it’s there when you need it. You aren’t maximizing LinkedIn unless you’re building out a network that can work for you – to look for jobs, to connect to someone who may be able to help you down the road, to share interesting content, and to connect with an influencer in your industry (Omar, 2015). The best networks begin with those you know and trust, and then grow based on referrals (Pollack, 2011). “Seventy percent of jobs are found through networking. It’s about who you know, and more importantly, who they know” (Helmrich, 2014).
As you’re building your connections on LinkedIn, stay away from using the generic, “I’d like to connect on LinkedIn” note. Rather, customize your connection request with a friendly note and, if necessary, a reminder of where you met or what organization you have in common (Pollack, 2011). A personal touch will go a long way.
Sharing (Career-Related) News:
LinkedIn provides you the opportunity to share brief updates with connections. Sharing news such as “I just read a really interesting article I thought could be beneficial, and wanted to share the link…” or “I am attending this conference, are you?” could catch someone’s attention and be the gateway into an important conversation.
The best profiles on LinkedIn have at least one recommendation for each position held. Recruiters pay particular attention to recommendations from people who have worked directly with you (Omar, 2015). If you have a strong network, you have people surrounding you who are willing to endorse you. Remember to give endorsements as often as you receive them.
This is something that is commonly overlooked. Don’t fall into that trap. Here, list volunteer work or relevant part-time or unpaid work, contracting, internships, organizations you’ve been involved with or support. Don’t be shy. LinkedIn is an appropriate place to show off your achievements, experience, courses, and GPA (Omar, 2015).
Still searching for more LinkedIn tips? Visit here for a complete LinkedIn Profile Checklist for students.
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