With more than 645 million users worldwide, 30 million companies and more than 20 million open jobs, LinkedIn is undoubtedly the largest professional network. If you are looking for a job, having a LinkedIn profile is the first step. However, having a profile that stands out is even more important since you are competing against the hundreds and possibly thousands of other people in your industry. Yes, having a good headshot is important as well as highlighting your experience, but many don’t know about the several other things you can do to unlock your LinkedIn’s potential.
Scroll down to the bottom of every LinkedIn page and you will see an “Interests” section where you can follow well-known leaders and companies. By following influencers you can receive updates on the latest trends and developments in your industry. Following popular publications allows you to read and share content on popular topics. In addition, this allows viewers and connections of your page to gauge your interests and your role models which may make them want to network with you opening the door to more opportunities.
Use it a little bit every day
Think of LinkedIn as your own personal PR tool; the more you share and comment, the more people are likely to come across your page. You don’t have to spend as much time on it as you do your Instagram, but maybe take some time everyday to update your job responsibilities if you took on a new task or write a LinkedIn post about your experience at your latest internship. It also is impressive if people notice you are taking time to share important articles in your industry or celebrating your connections for their accomplishments.
LinkedIn is a huge tool you can use to collaborate with others. By searching the sprawling LinkedIn database you can find groups that allow you to network as well as get other professionals help on issues and projects or answer questions. Somewhere to start would be your specific college’s LinkedIn group. For example, the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications, Penn State Alumni page boasts almost 7,000 members and is a great place to start the job search. Many successful alumni come back to their old stomping grounds to look for potential interns and full-time employees.
Be careful who you connect with
You might think it is better to have several hundred connections on LinkedIn, but it is actually considered poor form to reach out to complete strangers on LinkedIn and ask them to connect. The benefit of LinkedIn is to build a web of reliable professionals you can count on in professional scenarios. That being said, there is nothing wrong with connecting with colleagues at your internship or fellow members in a club on campus, because you never know who they could connect you with! The important thing to remember is you want to make meaningful connections, not collect several impersonal followers.
Ask for an introduction
When you make those meaningful connections as mentioned above, their LinkedIn profile might mention that they can introduce you to several others at a company. Having a mutual friend that can introduce you to someone he or she knows or can forward along your information is a powerful tool that can open several doors.
LinkedIn can be difficult to navigate because there are so many benefits of the social media platform that are not widely known. Used correctly, however, it can be the key to finding you your next job opportunity.