Benefits of using LinkedIn
1. Large network of professionals at your disposal
Having a large network of professionals to connect with will be beneficial when applying for new jobs. You can contact anyone at any time and build professional relationships that can carry you from one job to the next. Connections can also tip you off when they know of job openings or even offer recommendations to employers on your behalf. Make sure, though, that you send a personalized, rather than generic, connection request, as most people will not know why you want to connect with them if you do not. Once you’ve connected, you can send out emails to say that you’re looking for a job, ask questions, get advice, or request informational interviews to learn more about a company and maybe get one foot in the door.
2. Groups offer connections among professionals of specific careers
Industry groups offer a wealth of information in addition to a more niche community of connections. If there is a certain career path that you’re interested in pursuing or that you would like to progress in, groups specific to that line of work allow you to contact other members of that profession for advice, information, professional contacts, and news within their own workplace regarding position openings, company or field practices, and more. You’ll not only have a great outlet for finding news, but you’ll also have the opportunity to comment on and discuss postings by other professionals to show off a little of what you can offer companies.
3. Readily-available résumé
LinkedIn allows you to document everything that you’ve ever done in one place for anyone to see, so your profile is essentially an online, comprehensive résumé that you can look back on at any time. If you need to alter your paper résumé for a new job application, you can easily look through your profile and see what’s worth adding for a particular job. It also allows prospective employers to see everything that you can’t fit on your résumé but may have wanted to include, as your résumé grows with your work experience.
4. Space to showcase examples of your work
When you send in a copy of a resume to companies, often times that’s all that they ask for and all that you can physically send. Unless they’re taking digital applications via email or some other medium that allows you to send work samples, there’s a chance that they may never get to see your actual work if it’s not something that can be printed and mailed. LinkedIn allows you to upload your work to showcase and market it to employers in a way that is easily accessible.
5. Ability to search for jobs
LinkedIn’s advanced search tool can be excessively helpful when you’re looking for a job near you or in any area that you choose. It also allows you to search for jobs within the field of work that you’re interested in pursuing at companies of various sizes depending on your preference. If you’ve just graduated and are therefore relatively inexperienced, you might consider using the student jobs portal, which helps you locate entry-level jobs.
6. Endorsements of your skills
You can list as many skills as you’d like on your profile, and it is also possible for other LinkedIn users to endorse those skills, or to express to anyone who views your profile that they believe in your skills listed. The more endorsements you can get, the better, as these are proof for employers that you’re not the only one who believes in your skills.
7. Get introduced through a 2nd-degree connection
It can be awkward to reach out to someone who doesn’t know you and has no idea why you’re interested in connecting with them, but LinkedIn makes it possible for you to ask a shared connection to “introduce” you to another member. This way, you can make contacts through someone whom you and the desired contact both know and who can vouch for your professional interest.
Tips for building a strong LinkedIn profile:
1. Customize your URL
Initially, your profile URL will include numbers and letters at the end that signify nothing but your existence among many other LinkedIn users. By personalizing your URL, you will have an easier-to-remember, more professional-looking link to send employers and potential connections that’s easy for them to remember and also shows that you’ve put effort into crafting your profile for their benefit.
2. Have a strong headline
Your headline should tell anyone looking at your profile who you are and what type of job you’re looking for. If you already have a job, then it may be a good idea to write your position here.
3. Add a background and thumbnail photo
Keeping in mind that these should be professional photos, try adding something that corresponds to the company that you currently work for, a cause that you strongly believe in or work to promote, or anything that is professionally important to you as your background image. It can be anything you want, but it has to be professional. As for your thumbnail image, or your profile image, choose something professional-looking that will allow people to find you easily.
4. Constantly update work samples and profile information
It’s crucial that your information be up-to-date if a prospective employer views your profile. If you have recent achievements or positions that you neglect to add, you’re displaying only part of your overall experience, and you’re putting yourself at a disadvantage because you may amass less employer interest than those who have all of their experience clearly stated and updated for easy viewing.
5. Rearrange and customize sections
On LinkedIn, less is not more. This is your chance to tell people everything that you’ve ever done without the constraints of one piece of paper. It’s an opportunity for you to list everything you’ve accomplished, and you should fill out as many sections as you can: education, volunteer work, honors and awards, projects, languages spoken, skills, experience, organizations, recommendations, and so many more. Your profile will start out very basic with the same format as every other user’s. However, it’s possible, and encouraged, for you to create a relatively unique profile crafted to your own needs. There are several options of sections that can appear on your profile that you may not know about. If you’re a recent graduate, it’s extremely important to complete the student profile section of your profile. You’ve been in school for a while, and that means that you have to show that you’ve been working toward getting a job while you’ve been doing school work.
What can high school students with no work experience add to their LinkedIn? How can you market yourself and your experiences in school?