Some call it FaceBook for professionals. Others think of it as an online resume. No matter how you look at it, LinkedIn can open up a whole new world of possibilities in your job search and your career development. Here's a few tips to help you get started!
Build Your Profile
- Upload a professional image (headshot) to your profile – not a selfie! If possible, consider asking a family member or friend to take your picture. Throw on a blazer, stand next to a blank wall, et voila!
- Write a professional summary outlining your skills, achievements, and strengths, with examples of relevant work related experiences. Think of this as an opportunity to share your personal mission statement. Be sure to include key words relating to the career field(s) of personal interest so that recruiters can easily find you!
- Create a custom URL with your full name. (Click on main edit button, just under the profile picture, then click “customize your public profile URL” on the right. Add the URL under the contact information section of your resume, business card and email signature.
- Keep things fresh and up to date! Review your profile as least monthly and be sure to look for new contacts to connect with. Share professional status updates regarding your upcoming activities or research.
- No work experience? No problem. Don’t forget that you can include volunteer experiences, youth groups, student leadership initiatives, travel abroad programs and education achievements.
Start with people you know (loose acquaintances, alumni, colleagues, coworkers) then gradually branch out to explore new connections. To get started, check out LinkedIn Alumni.
When adding people to your network, try to personalize your connection request with a friendly, professional note. For example:
I’ve heard great things about you from the career practitioner community in Saskatoon. I thought I would send you an invitation to add you to my professional network. I would appreciate the opportunity to connect with you.
- Join LinkedIn Groups! Start with your post-secondary institution to connect with alumni and professors, and then seek out relevant or interesting professional associations or volunteer organizations. It usually takes 1-2 business days for the request to be accepted, and then you’ll have access to job postings, group discussions and more contacts/ connections.
- Ask for recommendations to include in your profile. Target significant connections, such as people in positions of authority or clients. Ask for examples of specific achievements relating to your career history. Aim for at least 3 recommendations, or 1 for each work related experience included in your profile.
Research Career Opportunities
- Select companies of interest and add them to your network. Watch for updates on upcoming networking opportunities or job openings.
- Under the Jobs tab, customize your job preferences by location, company size & industry, and scroll down to see jobs available both within and outside of your network. Don’t hesitate to use your connections! When applying for a position, reach out to your contacts who work for the company or organization to request a referral.
- Start with LinkedIn for Students - Jam-packed with all you need to know to build a great profile and start building connections.
- Try the LinkedIn Job Search Tool, very cool!
- Explore your own school (or any other) to see where graduates live, the organizations they work for, and the types of jobs they've had Alumni LinkedIn