Professional development series: Getting ‘LinkedIn’

Category:  Opinions
Wednesday, November 8th, 2017 at 5:05 PM

In this week’s entry of the Professional Development Series, we’ll be tackling the concept of online networking. More specifically, we’ll be looking at the application of LinkedIn for your professional life and its uses for finding a job.

First off, if you aren’t on LinkedIn, go ahead and do yourself a favor by signing up. Even if you’re an art major, it will help because of newly added features that allow you to add media to your profile.

If you aren’t aware of what LinkedIn is, just imagine Facebook with more of a focus on business and zero NSFW content. It’s visually similar, but it has a far more professional use behind it.

Have you ever seen a Rolodex? More than likely, if you’re a millennial, then you haven’t, so take a moment to do a quick Google search — I’ll wait.

So now that you know what one looks like, their use was generally to keep all the business cards you had collected over time in a single location. Now, imagine if you also had access to every one of those people’s directories and their friends’ as well, and you can see where this may be useful. 

Now, seeing as you have followed my advice and made a LinkedIn account, you should make sure that everything of substance you have ever done is on there. This essentially is like having a resume with unlimited space, and you should use that to your advantage.

You can add classes you’ve taken, philanthropy events you have taken part in, awards you’ve received and much, much more. While a resume should stay within a couple pages, your LinkedIn should read more like a long-form professional biography.

If you meet someone at a conference or even somewhere as mundane as a coffee shop, inquire about their LinkedIn and try to connect with them. Simply being connected to one person, regardless of their field, can open you up to an even bigger circle of people who they know and possibly the hiring manager of a company you’re looking to get into.

Connections are everything, so it’d be remiss of you to not take the opportunity given to you for the low, low price of free. 

If you want your profile to stand out amongst others, there are a few things you might want to pay attention to. 

The first would be your profile picture, as this is the first image of you many people may see. Make sure it’s a nicely lit headshot, in which you don’t look like you just crawled out of bed; minimal effort here shows minimal effort professionally.

Second, add lots of metrics and statistics that you have had a part in. It looks far better saying you averaged $1,700 of sales daily than saying you made multiple transactions daily. 

Finally, you need to be constantly updating your LinkedIn with the newest and most impressive things you’ve done. Can’t think of new things to add? Philanthropy and donating your time to a good cause is always a good thing to add to a resume; it shows you’re worried about others more than yourself and companies love that.

Be prepared to use this as a research tool for your first job interview and make sure that you’re always talking to new people, because this is the way of the future. Beware though, because much like Facebook, if you aren’t interacting in person with your connections, the platform can soon turn to a useless phone book of half-hearted connections with little real world use other than proving how popular you are. 

Stay tuned for next week’s part of the Professional Development Series where I’ll be talking about how to design your business card and the importance of thank you letters.

Roman Sabella can be reached at voices.spectator@gmail.com.

Tags: voices, opinion

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