According to a Jump Start Social Media Poll, 75% of surveyed hiring managers said they check LinkedIn for potential employees.
This is my first weekend challenge for student branding readers. This challenge should take you no more than thirty minutes to an hour and will really help jump-start your online networking capabilities – not to mention that this will put you ahead of the majority of graduate students. If you have not signed up for LinkedIn yet, please do so and fill out a basic profile before attempting this challenge.
1.) Create/Update Your Summary and Experience
This is the most important part of the LinkedIn Weekend Challenge. Really focus on your summary and try to explain what your past experiences involve, what you have a passion for and what you’re interested in accomplishing in the future. You really have to sell yourself on this section. There are several advantages to having an updated LinkedIn profile – It differentiates yourself from the majority of students your age, ranks as one of the top results in Google searches and provides you with a professional online networking resource. The more time you put into your LinkedIn profile, the more you will benefit from it in the future.
2) Connect with 5 people
Once you have updated your summary and experience, find and connect with at least five people you know or have worked with. Remember to specify your relationship with the user and add a simple message if needed. In addition to connecting with at least five people, I recommend you invite a few of your close friends or co-workers who are not LinkedIn users. This will help you build your network with meaningful contacts.
3) Recommend a Friend or Co-Worker
This is where the “challenge” begins. After connecting with five users, find someone in your network and recommend them. Recommending a user shows that you dedicated a few minutes of your day to evaluate that specific user and their strengths. Why should you recommend? Recommending a user will usually result in both a positive opinion and a recommendation from that user. Many LinkedIn users seek recommendations but rarely, if ever, recommend someone themselves. Remember that in order to get the most out of social networking, you have to participate as well as listen.
4) Ask for a Recommendation
After recommending a contact, find a well known friend or co-worker in your network and asked to be endorsed. Recommendations are very beneficial – they boost your online brand and most importantly, your credibility. However, recommendations are useless if you haven’t taken the time to completely fill out your profile! Focus on really selling yourself when filling out your profile before shifting your attention to recommendations.
If you follow these steps and really critique your profile, you will begin to notice more and more networking opportunities – maybe even a job offer! If you would like to connect on LinkedIn, please leave your LinkedIn username/url in the comments section. Good luck!