There is a high possibility that you are currently job searching in higher education OR you will be job searching at some point in your life. Because of this, you need to have an updated LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn can help in many ways. If you are job searching, the hiring manager and other people interviewing you will probably Google you during the search, make sure they find accurate information by providing it yourself on LinkedIn.
Additionally, job searchers should use the LinkedIn feature to be anonymous and look up the profiles of staff at the institution before interviews. I did this during my last job search and it was tremendously helpful to know background information and previous jobs of the individuals interviewing me. Prepping for day-long interviews is stressful and overwhelming but LinkedIn definitely makes the process easier. Here’s are some LinkedIn profile tips to make sure you do:
- Use a professional photo, not a cropped one. Ask a friend to take a photo of you if you need a LinkedIn headshot.
- Update your profile with positions you have held (the experience section). A description or bullet points is not necessary but the more information you provide, the better.
- Write a summary – this is a way to introduce yourself to others at the beginning of your profile and say whatever you want to say about your interests! I used Joe Ginese’s advice about storytelling when preparing mine, thanks Joe!
- Ask your previous supervisors or colleagues to recommend you, and pay it forward by recommending individuals that impressed you with their products or services. Recommendations add value to your profile and really show your worth.
- Join groups related to your professional area. This is a great way to stay updated on new ideas and ask questions of others working in similar positions. These groups are also often used to share job postings.
A few other tips
- Personalize the message when connecting with people, especially if it is someone you have never met – why should they connect with you?
- Take advantage of the “Find Alumni” feature, a great way to reach out to alumni and connect with them, especially if they are doing what you want to be doing. (Thanks for the tip, Amber!)
- Only connect with people you know. I’m torn on this one. I have not followed this advice and usually accept every invitation I receive. The flip side is when someone asks me “How do you know so-and-so or will you connect me with so-and-so” and I have to say, oh I really don’t know them.
Updating your LinkedIn profile is free and something that can be tremendously beneficial for your career. Set aside 1-2 hours and get your profile started up today! I’ve heard various grumblings that “LinkedIn is pointless” or “there is no reason to have a LinkedIn profile”. My question to the naysayers is, how will it hurt you? Drop that attitude today and take charge of your professional presence!
What are some other tips for using LinkedIn in higher education or student affairs? Has LinkedIn helped you be successful in a job search? Make sure to connect with me on LinkedIn and lets continue the conversation. Good luck in your current or future job search.