By Guest Blogger Lisa Burton, CMP, LSU, Vice President, Meeting Expectations
College students preparing to enter a highly competitive job market—or Kappas in any phase of their careers—should recognize the value of LinkedIn as a powerful networking tool. Kappas are working in every industry and are always inclined to lend a helping hand as you evaluate career paths, investigate specific companies you’d like to join or prepare for job interviews. Here are some tips for using LinkedIn effectively.
- Make sure your profile on LinkedIn is complete. There is a status bar that provides suggestions on how to have a complete profile. Don’t forget about volunteer and extra-curricular activities. If you’re an initiated member, join Kappa Kappa Gamma’s members-only LinkedIn group!
- Make sure the picture you use on LinkedIn is professional in nature. This isn’t Facebook, it’s a career tool.
- Build your connections:
- Find connections from your current and previous jobs, internships and volunteer experiences.
- Look at the connections of friends and colleagues to see if you’re missing any potential contacts.
- Go through your personal contact list and Facebook account to make sure you’re connected with all contacts through LinkedIn.
- Include a comment with your connection request to inform the recipient of any mutual acquaintances and common connections (your status as a Kappa!).
- Keep in mind many people consider a LinkedIn connection an endorsement of sorts, so don’t be surprised if someone with whom you have not interacted directly does not accept a request.
- Look on profiles of friends and colleagues to see which LinkedIn Groups they belong to and join those. Groups range from professional networking forums to alumni associations to special interests.
- Once you’re a member of LinkedIn groups, monitor the weekly or daily group digest emails and participate in discussions where you are able. Does someone make a comment on a discussion that you should contact?
- Use the company search feature as a resource. If you’re interested in working for a particular company, visit their page and see if you’re connected to any of their employees. You can also follow that company’s news to remain informed in the event an interview opportunity should arise.
- If you are looking for opportunities in particular cities, be proactive and post a discussion thread on an appropriate group’s discussion board to build your contacts in those cities. Don’t be shy about asking for help and engaging in conversation.
- Be active! Look for articles in the industry you’re targeting and post them to LinkedIn using your status update. Don’t forget that LinkedIn is a professional tool. Don’t tie it to your Facebook or Twitter account.
- Keep in mind that hiring managers and HR will look at LinkedIn and other social media tools when evaluating someone for employment. Don’t put anything in cyberspace that you wouldn’t want your current or future employer to see. View your various social networking profiles as the public would see them and make sure everything is appropriate. Google yourself regularly, too.
- Lastly, think of this as your virtual résumé and treat it as such.
In the last year my company, Meeting Expectations, has hired two Kappa alumnae based on connections made from the Kappa LinkedIn group.
I was so happy that I was able to assist fellow Kappas, particularly ones that demonstrated resourcefulness by using this excellent networking tool that is at everyone’s disposal.