Career Options is now on LinkedIn!
If you’re a student and you’re not on LinkedIn yet, you should consider creating an account. Don’t look at it as another social network you have to join; look at it as a way to significantly advance your career. By connecting with former bosses, professors, co-workers and others in your chosen industry, you can reap the benefits of this online professional network. More and more employers are using social media to assess job candidates, and LinkedIn is designed to highlight your accomplishments, skills and work experience. Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Fill out your profile: Nobody will look at you twice if you’re missing key profile elements. List all of your work experience, including the details of what you did at past jobs. Include your education and relevant courses, so employers can see the specifics of what you’ve studied. Fill in the skills and expertise section with training and experience you got in school or at past jobs. It’s a good idea to upload a profile photo as well, so the people you connect with will recognize you.
- Contact information: If you want to be contacted by potential employers, you need to make yourself easily available. Be sure to provide your email address and phone number.
- Connect: When your profile is complete, you’re ready to connect with people you know. Send invitations to former bosses, co-workers, classmates, professors and anyone else you’ve had a professional relationship with. The more connections you make, the more people will see you and what you have to offer. Import contacts from your email account to make sure you connect with everyone you can—including your friends. You never know who may give you your next break, so it works in your favour to have as many connections as possible. However, it’s generally a good idea to avoid connecting with people you don’t know, unless you plan to speak with them directly about their industry or a future employment opportunity.
- Recommendations: Go ahead and ask your former employers for a LinkedIn recommendation. This short statement will appear on your profile so prospective employers can see you’ve done good work and been a valued employee. If you were close with certain professors, you can always ask them for one as well.
- Join a group: Find one that appeals to your professional interests and start taking part in discussions. This will broadcast your thoughts and ideas to a large network of professionals in the industry.
- Search for jobs: There are tons of opportunities on LinkedIn, and better yet, they are tailored to suit to your interests. This takes some hassle out of searching the big job databases. And it’s really easy to apply—all of your information is already on your profile! All you have to do is attach a cover letter and hit submit.
LinkedIn can be a powerful resource to help you on your lifelong career path. Hopefully these tips will help you connect with your professional contacts and maybe even help you land a job!