LinkedIn, the largest social network for professionals, has over 80 million members in 200 countries. Naturally, job seekers and hiring managers are popular users of LinkedIn. It is estimated that between 70 and 80% of job seekers locate a position through someone they know. With networking being such an essential part of job searching, professional networking sites are a boon to the job search.
Your LinkedIn profile is a summary of your professional experience, interests, and abilities. Its purpose is to get you noticed by those people searching for you online. This carefully crafted description is your virtual business card that presents your educational credentials, career highlights, and marketable skills. It is an essential differentiator for those in the job market and can increase your visibility.
An online presence will help you to:
- Reconnect with former coworkers, classmates, and internship colleagues, and help you to make new professional contacts to request interviews
- Discover connections inside organizations to help you research potential employers prior to applying for a job
- Manage the information that’s publicly available about you as a professional by ensuring that your LinkedIn profile is the first listing located when your name is Googled
- Find and be introduced to other professionals through people you know so your network is always expanding
- Gain new insights from discussions with like-minded professionals in private group settings related to the library field.
As a student or working professional, you can expand your network by reconnecting with friends, mentors, former colleagues, internship supervisors, and classmates from undergraduate and graduate programs. And you will be able to continue to add new contacts when you meet professionals during interviews, professional association networking events, and conferences.
Employers frequently view job applicants’ profiles to screen candidates. Since hiring managers view professional and social networking sites, it is advisable to use private settings on your online accounts, such as Facebook. According to statistics from LinkedIn, 70% of employers have rejected applicants after finding questionable information online. With this in mind, it is important to Google your name regularly to make sure you maintain a positive online image. The good news is that your LinkedIn profile usually appears first, and you have control over that.
Since creating a positive, professional presence online is critical, here are some pointers for developing your LinkedIn profile:
- Create a profile headline. Promote your strong work traits and specific professional focus. Sample Headline: MLS Graduate Student with a focus on Young Adult programs.
- Build your profile. Incorporate information from your resume, including work experience, education, honors or awards, technical skills, and volunteer work.
- Develop a professional summary. Use concise statements that describe your professional qualifications and goals, as you would in your cover letter. Include keyword-rich phrases with specific words that are relevant to the type of jobs you are targeting.
- Include a “Specialities” section with key words. Fill this section of your profile page with words and phrases that a hiring manager might type in to find a professional like you.
- Join groups related to your field. To show that you are connected, locate specific groups on LinkedIn, such as the American Library Association and the Simmons GSLIS Alumni Group that includes graduates, current students, faculty, and staff.
- Request recommendations. Ask colleagues, faculty, mentors, supervisors, or other professionals who can attest to your strengths to write a brief recommendation.
For More Information
View LinkedIn’s Instructional Videos for excellent guidance for students and recent graduates:
Adapted from the following resources:
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