Almost two weeks ago now, I facilitated a Social Media and Online Presence Workshop focusing on LinkedIn along side co-coordinator and WWU student Teila Evans (see her guest blog post here). It was a great experience and I wanted to share some top tips from the workshop:
- LinkedIn Photo: Make sure that your LinkedIn photo is a professional head shot, well light, and that you have a pleasant expression on your face. You do not need to pay for a professional photographer, though that is an option; the best way to achieve professional-looking photographs on a budget is by wearing a professional outfit and asking a friend to take some pictures of you.
- Headline: Tailor your headline to what you want to accomplish in your field. What is the first thing you want people to see? If you are a part-time barista, but would like to be a marketing specialist do keep the headline “Barista at Starbucks”, but rather something like “Aspiring Marketing Specialist”.
- Summary: The summary is designed to show off your qualities, values and aspirations. Let your personality show here.
- Language Choice: If you are struggling to find the write words for your headline, summary and even job experience, look at other users’ profiles in your field for ideas.
- Customized Public Profile URL: You can customize your LinkedIn URL, which is great if you want to attach it to the bottom of your email signature. The custom URL is much more professional than the default URL LinkedIn gives you.
- Groups: Make sure to get involved with at least one or two LinkedIn groups in your field. Groups are a great way to network and meet new people, learn about your field, and gain credibility as a professional.
- Applications: LinkedIn offers an array of applications that you can use to enhance your profile. Some notable applications are:
- Box.net: allows you to share files on your LinkedIn page
- Slideshare: allows you to share presentations and other documents like portfolios, resume, conference talks, PDFs, marketing/sales presentations, etc.
- Blog link: allows you to display your blog posts on your LinkedIn page
- WordPress: allows you to display your WordPress blog on your LinkedIn page (see example here; scroll down to the bottom of the profile to view the WordPress widget)
8. Etiquette: Be aware that LinkedIn is a professional tool. If it were a real world setting, it would be a networking event, business casual of course.
- Personalize invitations to connect with other users, especially they are strangers or recent acquaintances. I personalize every request I send out, even to those I know well.
- Use a formal tone, at the very least during initial interactions with another user. Being too formal won’t hurt you, being too informal can.
- Be direct, open and honest.
This workshop was a great opportunity for current students and job seekers because LinkedIn is a valuable tool for professional networking, which in the end is how most people still find job opportunities. I hope that I can continue to learn more about LinkedIn and professional networking, and share my knowledge with other students so that they feel empowered in their professional lives and/or job hunt.