It’s that time of year again and I am so excited for all of our upcoming and recent college grads. I know that for many of you, this is both a time of pure joy in knowing that you have accomplished your greatest feat yet, College. However, it is also a time of complete fear of what lies ahead. In preparing for the future I am sure that at least 90% of you have had at least one session, class, or discussion on how to create and update your resume. I wonder, however, how many of you have been instructed on the power of LinkedIn and how creating and updating a profile on this network is just as important.
Last year I created the post, “The Value of LinkedIn for College Students and Recent Grads.” This post gives you a tactical plan to get your LinkedIn profile up to speed. This year I want to take things further and show you how you can use LinkedIn to successfully showcase your work, stay top of mind, and increase your professional brand’s visibility.
LinkedIn as an Online Portfolio
For those who have graduated or are graduating with a degree where you have produced work, (case studies, artwork, websites, business plans, etc.) LinkedIn is a great place to house all of this original content. Bring your summary, experience and/or education sections to life by taking advantage of the capability to add rich content by clicking on the “Add media” icon (the square with the + icon) located at the top of each one of these sections. Once you click on the icon you can either insert a URL from one of LinkedIn’s Supported Providers or you can upload your own file.
By uploading all of your work to LinkedIn, you are essentially creating an online portfolio for yourself. Do you understand how great this is? Let me give you an example to help you better see how this can make your life easier and help you to stand out.
If you upload your work, related to the type of position you’re currently looking for, you can then use those pieces to your advantage. For example, during your initial interviews, which are usually some type of a phone screening these days, you can direct people to your LinkedIn profile for an idea of the quality of work that you produce. You can literally walk them through each piece that you’d usually just use as a verbal example without having a visual readily available for them to view.
LinkedIn for Increased Visibility
Once you read my previous post on getting your LinkedIn page setup and you further optimize your profile by turning it into your online portfolio, you can begin to use your LinkedIn profile to get increased visibility. What do I mean by this? Well, you want to begin to build your network by connecting with past and present colleagues, friends, professors, bosses, family, etc. Once you have some Connections, you’ll want to begin to actually use LinkedIn. Get in the habit of logging on daily. When you log on there are three actions that I want you to remember to do:
- Like or comment on your network activity.
- Research and participate in groups.
- Post a piece of content, both third party and your own.
Getting into the habit of doing this helps to keep you top of mind with your network. This could lead to a professor, family friend, or old boss recommending you for a position they come across.
Increase LinkedIn Profile Interaction
There is one last tip that I want you to consider. Once you have a complete LinkedIn profile, don’t you think you should display it in multiple places – to drive as much traffic as possible to your page? After all, when constructed correctly, your profile will become the best representation of your professional brand. With this said, I recommend that you add your personalized LinkedIn URL on your:
- Email Signature
- Social Media Pages
- Anywhere else a potential employer might come across your information
I hope that you found this information valuable and that it gives you a clear set of actions to help prepare you for what lies ahead. The biggest thing to remember is that it’s going to take time and dedication to get your profile buzzing on LinkedIn. Don’t get discouraged. Just keep working at it and using the resources available to you on LinkedIn (such as the Jobs tab) to position yourself for success.
Have you had success using LinkedIn to jumpstart your career? I’d love for you to share you story. Do so in the Comments section below.