If you have never heard of it, LinkedIn is probably the best professional development app/social media platform that exists. I hadn’t really been into it until my friend showed how she utilized it.
I’ll start by describing what LinkedIn is! Business News Daily stated that LinkedIn is “a social network for the business community.” That just means that it’s basically a Facebook profile that lets you get ahead in whatever industry you happen to be trying to break into!
It’s great for networking with other students/colleagues, see what’s up in the business world and global economy, connect with potential employers, as well as apply to jobs/internships!
My top 10 tips on how to make the most out of LinkedIn:
1. Connect with your peers: This is an awesome tip because it allows you to not only connect with other students on your campus, but it also allows you to see what clubs they’re in that you can also join!
That right there can provide great networking opportunities as well as connections that can help you now. It can also help you in the future when you’re looking for a job. As you can see below, you can search for people and then specify by area, similar connections, and by the company they work for.
2. Connect with your professors: This is a super awesome tip because your professors are your gateway to the industry. They’ve likely been in it and/or worked somewhere that you can potentially start your career in.
An easy way to find some of them is to go to the LinkedIn profile of your school and then look for Alumni. It’s likely your professors have that listed in their bios or you’ll find previous students who are connected with your professors. If you click the “See Alumni” button all those people will pop up!
3. Connect with previous co-workers/managers: This one isn’t as important honestly. If you’re friends with them on other social media then I feel like this tip isn’t AS important especially if they don’t even have a LinkedIn account.
An easy way to find them is to search by company and location. If you go back to the search page, filter by those two things! Since I worked at LOFT in Augusta I filtered to Augusta, GA as well as Ann Inc. (our parent company).
4. Follow/Keep up with brands you hope to work for: Another super important tip! If you want to work for a brand, you need to familiarize yourself with it as well as the people who currently work there (especially hiring managers!!!!).
Since I am in the fashion industry, I chose a few specific companies to follow and then I started researching (through LinkedIn) who the main corporate hiring managers are. It lets you get your face and resume in front of them before you start applying to jobs.
As you can see below, I searched for Banana Republic on LinkedIn. I then decided to go more in depth and see the employees that are currently working there. This will show you anyone from corporate employees all the way down to sales associates.
5. Use it to stay up to date with industry happenings and world events: This is probably the easiest task. LinkedIn makes it super easy to stay in the know and even allows you to follow different topics.
As you can see on the right hand column (“Add to Feed“), LinkedIn gives you topics and/or people they think you might enjoy seeing on your feed. If you follow these topics, the news related to each will pop up when anything important or pivotal happens!
6. Use it as a second resume (with more info): Resume’s have to be super cut down with only a few places of employment. If you’ve done more than that it can mess up showing potential employers all the experience you have!
You’re also able to list relevant classes, skills, and any volunteer work that you’ve done/completed. The cool thing about this is that you can also add links to articles or previous posts you have. For me, I have done some writing gigs so I put the best samples of my work on my profile.
7. Use it to apply for jobs/internships: What’s the whole reason you made a LinkedIn? TO GET A JOB. So why not use this opportunity to search for some?! They offer the option for brands to post listings as well as for people to apply to those listings! Consider LinkedIn the middle man.
You can see the jobs tab at the top of the screen which is where you’ll click. The cool thing about this is once you’ve been using LinkedIn for a while they’ll start matching you with jobs that fit your previous searches and follows.
8. Use a close-up photo of you (SMILING) and looking professional for your profile: This is now a cosmetic tip. Nobody wants to hire a mean-looking, solemn faced person. They want someone who is happy and excited to work/be there!
Make sure to use a professional photo (or a head shot type photo) for your profile. For the banner photo, use something that speaks to who you are (nothing obscene or controversial obviously)! For me, my blog is a huge part of what I do/my contribution to fashion so I have my logo as my header.
9. For your title, always use your most current job OR that you’re a student and what college you’re at: For me, I have my current internship position listed as my title. It’s a really important position with a very amazing company and I want to display that.
When it comes to your bio, if you’re looking for an internship, put that! If you’re seeking a full-time position, put that! If you have experience in a certain field that will help you in your job search, PUT THAT!
As you can see, in mine I stated my current year in school, my major, my experience, as well as skills I have gained from classes and blogging. These few sentences help jobs to immediately know your essence and level of skill.
10. Make sure to list your skills: There are two kinds of skills: Soft skills and hard skills. Soft skills are simple ones such as customer service and retail. Hard skills are ones involving programs such as Adobe Illustrator or Adobe Photoshop (basically anything you had to take a class for).
On your resume you should only list hard skills in a separate section; however, since this is LinkedIn, it’s totally fine to list your soft skills as well. Your connections can also endorse these attributes/skills and prove their credibility.
Well I hope this post helped! I only found out about LinkedIn a few years back and only started seriously pursuing it as a method of job hunting about a year ago. If you’d like to look at my page or sign up, use the (link) here! If you already have one, connect with me!
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