Companies market their products every day through advertising, word-of-mouth, and social media. A product’s success often depends on how well it is marketed and presented to customers. Just like Doritos markets its flavored tortilla chips to consumers, it is important to market ourselves in order to build professional networks. We can think of ourselves as a product and begin to consider how we can market ourselves to possible future employers. With a population of over 7 billion people, it is important to make yourself stand out. We believe LinkedIn is a perfect place to start. According to LinkedIn, there are more than 40 million students and recent college graduates registered on the site. As the most prominent professional networking platform, it offers a great way to begin the process of building relationships and linking yourself with the professional world. What are your experiences, skills, and accomplishments? What distinguishes you from your peers? Just as a unique King in focus is sure to stand out in front of a row of uniform pawns, highlighting your singular characteristics can bring you to the forefront of the crowd. This is what LinkedIn allows you do. It lets you transform your relationships into concrete opportunities. Yet, in order to get the most out of LinkedIn, we must take into account the basic steps and considerations of LinkedIn, and that’s what we are here to describe to you.
Making an Informative and Appealing Profile
- Describe Your Education
- Make sure to add both your high school and university information so that your account connects to the official university page.
- Include all high schools/colleges you have attended.
- Highlight Your Experience
- Add all your relevant information, including documents and pictures if they apply.
- Add all important or prestigious jobs.
- In the descriptions, explain what you accomplished while you were at that job.
- Be sure to include all volunteer experience, as most employers value this type of experience.
- Show Your Accomplishments
- Fill out the summary field with your best accomplishments.
- Honors and Awards: include nationally recognized awards such as National Merit or AP Scholar Awards, as well as college-specific awards such as the Dean’s List or a research award.
- Languages: Make sure to include any languages you know and your level of fluency with them. Knowing a language can sometimes single-handedly land you a job.
- Demonstrate Your Skills
- Add any relevant skills you have. Later on, your connections can endorse you for these skills if they feel they can vouch for your abilities.
- Most people begin by listing some common skills like public speaking, Microsoft PowerPoint, and leadership. Make sure you put down leadership! Every student has that ability, and it can help round out your profile.
- Polish Your Brand
- Add a professional (or at least professional-looking) headshot: Photos are the first impression your potential future employer receives, so make it count. According to Forbes, profiles with headshots get 21 times more views.
- Include your location (so employers can determine if you are in their area). People will also use this as a way to confirm that you are who they think you are. There are a lot of John Smiths on LinkedIn, but there are fewer John Smiths from Columbia, Maryland who attend the same University as you.
- Determine your headline. Do you want it to say “Student at xyz University” or “Intern at xyz Company”? You have options, decide what you want people to identify you as at first glance. Make it informative, but also keep it succinct and professional.
Expanding Your Network
- Join a University Alumni Group (if applicable)
- Practically every full-time University has an extensive Alumni page that displays the profiles of Alumni using LinkedIn. You can use this page to connect with these alumni and also to see certain job openings at the actual University.
- Join a High School Alumni Group (if applicable)
- Many high schools are not large enough to justify an official alumni group, but if yours does, be sure to join it!
- Connect with people via email
- Email contacts can be easily imported into LinkedIn. Once you have these connections, LinkedIn will suggest people that you may know based on your experience, connections, education, and location. Getting these first connections is essential to starting your network.
- Ask for introductions
- If for some reason you need to reach out to a second-degree connection (someone who is connected to one of your connections), there’s an easy button that lets you ask your mutual connection to introduce you. This can be helpful for trying to get your foot in the door.
- Make Yourself Findable
- While it is extremely beneficial to connect with people you already know, sometimes random connections can provide quality opportunities. First of all, make sure your profile is public so that curious viewers are not turned away. Additionally, copy your unique LinkedIn URL and paste it in other social media sites to help gain exposure.
Now it’s your turn! Click on the link to begin on one of your largest career steps. https://www.linkedin.com
And for more information, be sure to check out http://www.leisurejobs.com/staticpages/18285/the-ultimate-linkedin-cheat-sheet/ which provides you with more tips and tricks to navigate LinkedIn.
Questions, comments, concerns? Let us know in the comments section below! We’d love to hear about your experiences as you take on the world of marketing and LinkedIn.