Are you about to graduate from a training program and ready to look for your first job? Are you considering a job change? Are you looking for a way to stay up-to-date on what's going on in your profession? Do you want to connect with other people who work in your field? Then, LinkedIn is the social media networking tool for you. Professionals in all types of industries create LinkedIn profiles to highlight their work experience, look for jobs, connect with people in their professions, and share knowledge, timely news, and information. It can really widen the path of opportunities and possibilities for you. So, what's the first step you should take? Keep reading to find out.
It's time to create an account!
If you don't have an LinkedIn account, create one. It's simple to get started, and the basic account is free. There are options to upgrade to several different types of premium accounts, which start at $59.99 per month. You can probably stick with the free account, but if you want more detailed information on who is viewing your profiles, you want more job searching tools, or you are in a hiring position at your current job, you may want to review the premium options here.
If you already have a LinkedIn profile, you're a step ahead in the process. But, if you haven't updated your profile since you joined or if you never got around to completely filling in your profile, you might want to devote some time to refreshing it. Once you do, schedule time periodically to review your profile to see if additional edits are needed. It might also be a good idea for you to commit to reading and commenting on posted articles as well as endorsing and connecting with individuals in your field on a regular basis.
Now that you have an account, what's next?
Of course, as with just about any other topic, you can find a seemingly unending stream of information about LinkedIn online. Take some time to research and read about it, but avoid diving too deeply into the sea of information. Try sticking with articles written recently, maybe in the last year or two. The key is finding timely information that you can then use to build or edit the best profile you possible can.
While this article by Bernard Marr was published in 2015, it still contains simple, relevant suggestions that can be helpful as you work on your profile. Here's a quick recap of some of his suggestions:
- Write your profile in the first person, but keep it professional. You need to write about your professional experience in ways that will make the person viewing your profile want to learn more and possible connect with you.
- Include a professional-looking photo. This doesn't mean you need to spend a lot of money on a professional photographer, but make sure you are dressed in work-appropriate clothes in the photo. Do not use a picture of you hiking on a trail or sitting on the beach during a vacation.
- The default headline is your job title and current company. You might want to ditch that for a catchier headline that is 10 words or less that describes you as a professional.
- List your accomplishments (stick with the biggest ones) in the summary section of your profile.
- Include previous work history experience that matches your current professional goals. For example, if you're looking for a job in the nursing profession, you don't need to include your summer grass-cutting job in high school.
You might also want to check out this additional Bernard Marr article that you might find useful as you begin to use LinkedIn more often. If you find his article interesting, do a Google search on his name, and several more will pop up.
If you are still unsure as to what to include and what not to include in your LinkedIn profile, but you are seeing the importance of creating a strong one, and if you are currently enrolled in school, you might want to stop by your school's career services office. They will most likely be able to get you started down the right path and answer the questions you may have.
A common-sense reminder
When you are writing the content for your profile, be honest. Don't make up experience you don't have or list jobs you never did. LinkedIn can truly be a helpful tool. Don't ruin your reputation or your chances of landing your dream job by being dishonest. Your profile should reflect who you are and your high standards of professionalism. Whenever you are connecting and engaging with other professionals, be polite and courteous. It will put your best foot forward in the professional world, and that can lead to success!
Get and stay actively engaged
Once you're confident that your profile presents you in a professional light and that it is as complete as possible, you will want to start connecting with friends and current and former coworkers. You can do this by sending them invitations to connect. You can then recommend and endorse your connections for their expertise and knowledge. They can do the same for you.
You may also want to get involved in conversations about the latest news in your industry as well as comment on posts and updates shared by others. This can help you build strong professional relationships and possibly bring positive attention to you. This may help you find your way to potential employers.
Good luck as you venture out into the professional world of your choice, and remember that LinkedIn is a great place to start growing your professional connection circle and keep current on what's going on in your field!
This post is part of the weekly blog of the Salter School of Nursing and Allied Health, located in Manchester, NH. Find out more about our career training programs or visit us online to schedule a campus tour.