While Facebook and Twitter always seem to be the “sexy” and popular social media websites, it is important not to forget about the “third wheel” social media site, which goes by the name of LinkedIn.
LinkedIn sometimes gets lost in the noise because it isn’t as “fun” as other sites. You don’t post pictures, videos or post funny comments. Instead, you keep your professional life up to date; interact with other professionals and post articles/commentaries which you feel are worth sharing. SNOOOOZE! Right?
While LinkedIn doesn’t get all the fame and glory, it can definitely be most the most valuable to you if you utilize it correctly. Chances are, if your potential employer is searching for you on the Internet, your LinkedIn profile is probably going to be the first result. This could be their first interaction with you, so you better nail it because no matter what you think, it is very hard to overcome a bad first impression.
This is not the place for selfies or picture of you from Spring break; however, it doesn’t need to be a professional head shot. Feel free to have personality in your profile picture, for example, mine is a shot of me moments before I jumped out of perfectly good airplane, but it’s a good, recent picture of me smiling.
The next two key parts sounds pretty simple, but are often forgotten about – keeping your info up to date. That means your work history as well as your summary. Think of your summary as your bio. It should be written in third person and be accurate with a little personality. It shouldn’t be a direct copy of your work history, but rather, allow someone to get to know you a little bit. Professional doesn’t have to mean dry.
The other cool part of LinkedIn is the search tool. When I was job searching about 2.5 years ago, I came across a job through a large ad agency in South Florida and sending in my resume wasn’t going to cut it. I went in on LinkedIn and searched the agency for a connection…anyone and I didn’t have a single direct connection. Instead, I found someone who was a couple years older, had a few couple of connections and was alumni of the same college I went too, so I sent the following message:
My name is Drew Slater and I am a fellow USF PR graduate. I normally don't listen to LinkedIn's "recommended connections," but when I saw LinkedIn recommended a USF alumni, who works at XXXX I had to reach out because I recently applied for an open AC position. I was wondering if you possibly knew someone I should reach out to directly.
I know XXXX demands a lot of hard work, but I am ready to take it on and get my career going! I graduated USF with four internships: ChappellRoberts, The Crisis Center of Tampa Bay, The Tampa Bay Lightning and MOSI.
I would greatly appreciate any insight/advice you can provide. I hope you had a great holiday!!
And you know what? She responded back! She told me who to email and even helped me with what I should expect during my interviews. I didn’t end up getting the position, which turned out to be a blessing, but the fact is, LinkedIn helped me in a great way. It’s amazing how helpful people are if you are nice and ask.
LinkedIn may not be as sexy as Facebook and Twitter, but don’t underestimate its value. Use it and use it well.