BY ALEXA CHERRY
For the UAS Whalesong
You know how, on that one show, that one guy probably says some other stuff, but is best known for saying “winter is coming?” This is like that, except that it’s a completely different season and I’m not Sean Bean.
Summer is coming, and that probably means that you’re looking for employment – whether it’s seasonal, “hoarding cash for next school year” employment, or “I’m graduating in 2 months and people won’t stop asking me what ‘my plans are’ and mostly they are to make money I guess??” employment. We all know that in order to get a job, you need a résumé – but that’s not what this article is about. Well, sort of – it’s about the online companion to your résumé, that you should probably start working on while you are busy being a good student, making future professional connections, and gaining job experience.
I’m talking about LinkedIn – a website that’s been around since 2003, and which employers are starting to take closer looks at, especially as the internet becomes more and more useful and prevalent in the job market. Their mission statement is as follows: “To connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful. When you join LinkedIn, you get access to people, jobs, news, updates, and insights that help you be great at what you do.”
Okay, sounds great. But how do you use it? A good question – and one that I asked during a meeting I had with Deborah Rydman a couple weeks ago. Deb Rydman is the Career Services advisor here at UAS, and she had some great things to say about how to use LinkedIn. Since her advice helped me out a lot, and perhaps someone else out there is looking to start working on their LinkedIn profile, I decided to write an article and share some of it with you!
Don’t upload your résumé. Deb suggested putting a link to your LinkedIn page on your résumé, but not vice-versa – they should be two separate things. A better idea would be to build your LinkedIn profile as a résumé; it’s like the cooler, online version.
There’s a section for miscellaneous information/interests but don’t get carried away. The idea behind LinkedIn is that it’s your online face that you present for the kind of job you want – and no job cares about when your birthday is or whether or not you’re married. This section is where you should post something that catches the eye of people you want to employ you; for example, if you’re looking for a job in the traveling carnival industry, this is where you might include that you’re proficient at contact juggling. (Labyrinth, anyone?)
Include a link to your online portfolio. Whether you’re a writer, an artist, or anything else, it’s worth having a place you can direct future employers to look at examples of your best work. Again, make sure it’s related to the kind of job you’re after; if you are trying to get hired as a career chef, you want to link your cooking portfolio with pictures of your work and recipes you’ve created, not your art portfolio.
Use groups – Groups are a part of LinkedIn that I haven’t yet fully explored, but which seem like an extremely useful resource. One good example of how they can be useful is the UAS Alumni LinkedIn page, which I think Deb mentioned you can join after you graduate. Once you join, you can search the page to see what other UAS graduates got a degree that’s the same as or similar to yours, and from there you can see what kind of jobs they have and even what groups they’re in. This is a great way to make connections and see what career opportunities are available to you with your degree.
Be discreet – One thing that Deb highly recommended is going to the privacy settings in your LinkedIn profile and choosing what others can see when you view their profile. Some settings make it so that people are notified whenever you look at their page/group/etc., while others make you invisible. The latter is good for if you’re just being curious and surfing, but on the other hand, if you’re genuinely interested in the person or company and want them to notice that you’re checking out their page, it might be worth it to have your profile in “high visibility” mode.
I hope that you find all of this information helpful! I certainly did. If you want more of the same, I highly recommend making an appointment at the SRC desk to meet with Deb. Now that I’ve told you all about LinkedIn, maybe you want to know about résumés, and she knows those inside and out.