There are many social networking tools and techniques out there that you can use to spread your personal brand and to locate jobs. You may be wondering which ones would be most beneficial to you as you plan your job and internship search. This article will outline some of what LinkedIn can be used for as well as what it should not to be used for.
- LinkedIn has over 65 million members and many of them are hiring managers, executives, and other professionals in your fields(s) of interest
- It is pretty straightforward and easy to use. There are not many acronyms or codes you need to understand.
- You have control over what you present to employers and the professional world. Over 75% of employers are researching candidates online, so if you can control your brand on LinkedIn, why not use it?
- It is not very time consuming to maintain your account once you have set up your basic profile information
So, once you decide to go ahead and build your LinkedIn account, what should you know about it? Below are some guidelines regarding what LinkedIn is and isn’t for.
- For: Connecting with other professionals you know or would like to get connected with
- Not for: Personal socializing or being dishonest about your credentials
- For: Working on your personal brand through a polished profile, professional recommendations and engaging in group discussions
- Not for: Creating an account that just sits there and expecting employers to offer you a job.
There are few, if any companies searching for entry-level employees to hire on LinkedIn. Companies will, however, conduct research on you through LinkedIn once you have submitted your application. The more active you are in updating and engaging with others in LinkedIn, the more likely a Google search of your name will come up with your LinkedIn profile.
- For: Sharing professional and relevant information, resources, contacts, career-related news, job postings, etc.
- Not for: Linking directly to people only to get jobs from them or have them do you favors.
You should connect with others and join LinkedIn groups that pertain to your university and career field (i.e. alumni groups or groups associated with professional organizations). Joining these groups give you the opportunity to network, discuss different topics, share news, and even view job postings that are relevant to you. Don’t join a group just to try and connect directly to an employer to ask for a job or a personal contact. That is unprofessional and will hurt your personal brand. Initiating and engaging in lively discussions on LinkedIn will get you noticed for the right reasons.
These are just a few tips on how to use LinkedIn. Please go to the step by step student user guide (created by LinkedIn) to get started and to get the most from your new LinkedIn account. Once you become familiar with all that LinkedIn has to offer, you will wish you started sooner.
Please share any comments you have about how LinkedIn has worked for you.
Lori Bielek is the Marketing and Technology Coordinator at University of Delaware’s (UD) Career Services Center where she advises students in the arts and sciences through all steps of their career development. You can connect with Lori through LinkedIn or her UD Career Services Twitter account (@UDcareers).