My resume is ready! What to do now? Do not know where to start? LinkedIn is a great place to start your career search. LinkedIn is the fastest growing social media career and professional outlet. With over 160 million professionals, LinkedIn is an invaluable resource at any stage in your professional development.
Here’s some things to remember when it comes to navigating and using LinkedIn:
1. Learn the Landscape
Familiarize yourself with LinkedIn. Get a feel for the platform. Check out other member’s LinkedIn profiles, see the type of information that is posted, identify the different Groups or view the discussions taking place on LinkedIn. Take a look at your options for privacy settings. And, see how you can connect with Alumni and other Professionals within your network.
2. Build a Profile
Once you get familiar with the platform, play around with LinkedIn’s profile features and settings to help customize your LinkedIn profile.
First things first, update your Profile picture. This is your first impression. Make sure its professional and appropriate for the brand you are trying to promote, but also one that compliments the type of career you are pursuing. If you are searching for a position in finance, select a photo of yourself in a business suit. If you are searching for a position at Macy’s adding an element of style to your profile picture would be useful. Read here for more tips and advice on selecting a profile picture.
Next in line…Professional Headline
This field is easy to skip over, however it is one of the most important tools to utilize on LinkedIn. The Professional Headline is located directly below your name and is the keywords that employers use when they do a search on LinkedIn.
Note: LinkedIn automatically defaults your Professional Headline to your most current job listed. So if your most recent job is listed as a Pet Groomer at the Fluffy Dog Boutique this will be set as your Professional Headline. If you are searching for a job as anything other than a Veterinarian or Animal Activist, you’ll want to change this.
Be sure to select keywords that not only summarize your current field, but also list a field or position you might be interested in. Most importantly, be sure to use “keywords,” or general words. This is not the place to be witty. For example, if you want to be a writer, list “writer” not “magician of words” or “story seamstress”.
Before we jump to the Summary, drop by the URL edit option. Here, it is a good idea to delete all the jibberish that comes after your name. Make it plain and simple: your name.
Moving along to the Summary section…this is a space where you can tell other LinkedIn members about your professional self, where you can deliver your current business objectives. Keep in mind, this section should pack a punch in just a couple of sentences.
Everything below the Summary, in the Experience section is where you will show what you said in your summary. Here, you can list you work experience, honors or awards, languages, skills and expertise, etc. Play around with this section as there are several options to customize this section.
For instance, did you know on the side bar, you can add things like Test Scores, Courses, Patents, Certifications, etc. Or, that when adding Skills and Expertise that if you hoover in the search bar for a couple of seconds, it will automatically give you suggestions of relevant skills used frequently by other LinkedIn members. Just be sure when adding these elements that your additions stay relevant to the brand, or the digital identity, you are trying to promote.
Create a profile that is detailed in past and current employment. Ask your connections such as past and current colleagues to post recommendations. Be sure to include your education and other professional experience highlights that make you a promising candidate.
3. Network Away
Search and build your network. Explore and add professional groups and connect yourself with other professionals. Try to get up to 500 LinkedIn connections to really add some muscle to your network.
Here, its important to practice networking etiquette:
When sending a LinkedIn invitation, be sure to personalize it. DO NOT use the default message.
When sending your personalized invitation, do four things: Make the connection – how are you alike? what do you have in common? Get to the point, fast. Don’t waste time with butterflies and sunshine. You are messaging Subject A about opportunity x, not the weather or recent news. Credentials. Make sure you are clear why you are qualified. Why me? Be sure to include why you are asking Subject A and not another professional. Be polite and be appreciative.
Also, networking is not stalking. It is important to know when to give up and move on when networking with any professionals.
Get to know the Alumni Network. NYU has many active alumni on LinkedIn. Use the alumni tool under Contacts by selecting New York University. Here you can minimize your search criteria to where alumni live, where they work, and what they do. This is a great way to make professional connections on LinkedIn that can really help you with your professional goals.
Have fun building relationships! Be resilient and be you!
Join us tomorrow at the Wasserman Center as we continue with Social Media Week! And, Meet the Panelists below!
Meet the Panelists!