If you are not on LinkedIn yet, you need to be. If you are a prospective student, current student, alumni, looking for work or even if you are currently employed, you need to have a LinkedIn profile now. Have you heard of the book by Harvey Mackay Dig Your Well before you are Thirsty? The meaning of that title is you don’t want to wait until you are looking for a job or looking for customers and clients for your new business to start before you network. You want to look now, before you need a job and before you need the business contacts. You will find that by creating a profile on LinkedIn your name will go to the top of the search page when you or a recruiter types your name into Google. And trust me, they will!
Did you know that many jobs are found by using formal or informal networks of contacts where the job isn’t even posted yet? There are thousands of recruiters on LinkedIn who are looking every day for people to fit open job orders. By having a professional LinkedIn profile, your information will be available to recruiters to find you and connect.
So, why should you join LinkedIn if you already have a job? Well, what happens if you suddenly find yourself unemployed or realize you are just stuck in the wrong job? You will want to make sure you have all the contacts in place to begin your job search and put the word out to all of your contacts that you are looking. Hence, dig your well before you are thirsty.
If you are not on LinkedIn just follow these easy guidelines, and you will be connected in no time.
1) First, go to www.linkedin.com and set up your free account and professional profile.
2) Create your own branding headline. This will let people know who you are and what you do or want to do. When creating your summary, think of key words that will make your profile stand out if recruiters are searching. If you do not create a headline, it will default to your title.
3) Add a professional photo. Make sure you have a nice headshot. It doesn’t have to be a professional photo, just make sure the photo of you looks professional and isn’t the one of you from your Facebook page while you were on the beach this summer.
4) List any projects, honors or awards.
5) List any jobs you have worked at in the past. Don’t leave out even the smallest of jobs or community involvement, volunteer work or part time jobs.
6) Complete all sections of your profile. You also want to go back often and update your profile to keep it current.
7) Once your profile is complete start connecting. Reach out to everyone in your contact list that you think will be a good professional contact. Search for them in the search box and send them a message to connect.
8) Ask for recommendations. Try to shoot for a minimum of three recommendations. Consider asking current or ex-bosses, co-workers, high school teachers, college professors, your parent’s friends, church members, neighbors, school alumni, etc.
9) Join some groups. Search for groups that interest you, join them, and participate in discussions or start your own discussion.
10) Follow companies. Search companies you are interested in or companies you would like to work for and follow them. Check back often for openings, and search for contacts with that company who may be in your extended network.