LinkedIn: The Best Tool You’re Not Using
LinkedIn: Connect for Success
When I began my career in the early 90s, social media did not exist. Professionals stayed connected over the telephone. When we needed to reach someone, we used a Rolodex, a handy flip device on our desk that included all our contacts’ phone numbers. Computers and technology were still evolving, and Excel spreadsheets and other tracking software did not exist. Land-line phones and snail mail were our primary means of communication. And if we needed to look for a job? We picked up this old fashioned thing called a newspaper and turned to classified ads. Ha! Boy, how times have changed.
When LinkedIn first came into the spotlight, I shied away. I felt I was too old for social media; best to leave these modes of communication to the younger generations. But then I read a few books that changed my mind. As I began thinking about launching my own business, I quickly realized that if I was going to be successful and help companies all over the United States, I needed to expand my knowledge of social media. And LinkedIn was a big part of that puzzle. So I embraced it and jumped on, creating a profile. I started using the site on a regular basis, implementing a solid strategy. Soon, recognition of my profile began to grow. One year after launching my business and just two years after implementing my strategy, I received an email note from LinkedIn: “You have one of the top 1 percent most viewed LinkedIn profiles for 2012.” I was thrilled! Perhaps, as the saying goes, an old dog can learn new tricks after all!
Here are a few staggering statistics about LinkedIn, the top site for connecting with other professionals.
*As of 2015, there were just 347 million users on LinkedIn. Today, that number has soared to 930 million.
*Every second, two or more new LinkedIn members join the site.
*187 million people visit the site each month.
*LinkedIn currently reaches 200 countries and territories.
*The site is available in 20 different languages.
*25 million LinkedIn profiles are viewed every day.
*39 million students and recent grads are on LinkedIn.
Are you one of those 39 million?
Recent studies show that one of the top reasons students and recent college grads do not set up a LinkedIn profile is because they do not feel they have enough real life experience to boast about. As one reluctant student lamented, “I haven’t even had one professional job. Who would possibly be interested in my profile?”
Believe it or not, a lot of people! Whether you’re still in college, just graduated or already getting your feet wet in the working world, it’s never too late to join LinkedIn. If you have yet to create a profile, fear not. It’s simple, takes only a bit of time to set up and can be life changing. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you’re new to the platform.
When creating your LinkedIn profile, make sure to include an appropriate photo. Don’t have a fancy head shot? No worries. Perhaps a good friend or a budding photographer can take some photos for you. Select a nice outfit, comb your hair, and don’t forget to smile! A definite no-no? That photo of you in a bikini on a beach in Hawaii, or a candid shot of you drinking a beer on a boat. Keep it professional, please!
Volunteer experience counts! Twenty percent of managers have hired someone based on their volunteer experience. So if you’re afraid those two weeks you spent volunteering at a summer science camp are not relevant, think again. Potential employers like to see you’re involved in your community and other places outside the classroom. Volunteer experience can be a great way to beef up your resume if you don’t have a lot of paid work experience.
Don’t skip the additional profile sections. Here, you’ll have a chance to highlight any honors you received as a student, as well as your GPA.
Take your time with the summary statement. This is your chance to shine! Don’t be afraid to boast about your skills, your accomplishments, and your goals.
Create an informative but punchy headline. Think of this as your personal mission statement. Who are you, what do you represent, and what do you have to offer? The more succinctly you can say this, the better.
Use the Keywords and Recommendations section. Key words are especially helpful for boosting your profile. If someone’s looking for, say, a proofreader or software engineer, they can simply type in those key words and narrow down the search. Recommendations are helpful too. Ask a friend, teacher or former employer to write one for you. And if they do, be courteous and take the time to write one for them too.
Build your Network. LinkedIn can feel a bit intimidating when you first join, but you’ll soon find it’s nothing but a network of friendly faces. Not sure where to start? Sift through your contacts and people you might know, or do a search to see if any of your teachers or colleagues have joined the site. Aim to connect with 50 people. Before you know it, your network will soon grow.
Stay active on the site. Most people under 30 use social media on a daily basis – Tik Tok, Instagram, and Facebook. Treat LinkedIn the same way. Check in every day if possible and engage. Post interesting articles and comment on other people’s posts too. You never know what might catch someone’s eye!
Still unsure if LinkedIn is for you? Check out College to Career and learn how to leverage this amazing site for your ultimate career success!
So let’s get started today!