The Summer of LinkedIn: Let the Adventure Begin!

Career Blog

Published: May 14, 2019 by Greta Snyder

Summer break is in sight! What are your plans for the break? I plan to go canoeing, dust off the grill to try out some new recipes and to finally update my LinkedIn profile. Summer is the best time for both outdoor adventures and investing in yourself and future career. What better way than by updating your LinkedIn profile? It is time to show off all the amazing things you learned, skills you mastered and the amazing projects you completed this semester.

Last week, I began my coverage of an SJSU iSchool career workshop on LinkedIn hosted by the phenomenal Jill Klees, the SJSU iSchool Career Consultant. This post will be part 2 of my coverage as Jill’s presentation is full of fantastic, practical advice, tips and tricks for leveraging LinkedIn as a career growth tool for LIS students.

Resume 2.0

As I mentioned, this LinkedIn workshop focuses on what is new and what has changed both with LinkedIn flexibility as a tool and with how LIS professionals can best present themselves online.

LinkedIn is resume 2.0. It is a platform designed for searchability, networking and creating buzz, not just focusing on applying for one specific job. The goal should be to make your whole story of recent, relevant experience available to recruiters as this will expand your potential opportunities exponentially and make your profile much more connection-worthy.

So, how do you decide what you want to include in your LinkedIn experience? Jill shared that she goes back way further on LinkedIn then she does on her resume, as that should be concisely tailored to the specific job you are applying for. For example, on LinkedIn Jill shares her background in health, fitness and wellness. Whereas she might leave this off her resume unless specifically relevant, this background might appeal to different organizations or recruiters checking out her profile and is thus worth including on her LinkedIn profile.

As Jill incisively advises, when she considers adding something to her profile, she always asks herself: “Does this add value? Does this add value to the jobs that I want to apply for, does this add value to the direction that I want to take my career?”

Key points for the experience section:

  • Include accomplishments rather than just listing job positions
  • Be descriptive –  don’t be afraid to add detail
  • Look at job descriptions that interest you for key words to use
  • Add active links to any of your blogs, school projects, work, articles etc.
  • If you get stuck look at other LIS professionals’ profiles for ideas

Keep it exciting and interactive! Imagine you are a recruiter or hiring manager reading your own profile. For more on this, please watch Jill’s previous workshop LinkedIn Develop your Online Brand.

Should I Add Recommendations?

The answer is yes. Jill recommends one or two from each job if possible. Luckily, the process is simplified through the LinkedIn interface. Follow these easy steps.

Jill’s advice is to keep it light and simple, such as “Hey Kim, I am in the process of updating my LinkedIn profile. I would really appreciate it if you could write me a recommendation.” Then note a couple of key skills you’d love for them to mention if they felt comfortable doing so, and also offer to write a recommendation for them as well. Jill also made an excellent point to not take it personally if someone does not get back to you. Not only is everyone busy, but the benefit of this functionality of LinkedIn is you can just ask someone else and keep looking forward.

Constantly Expand Your Network

The concept of constantly expanding your network is easy enough to grasp, but actually having practical, immediately actionable steps is the work of a real professional. Thank goodness for Jill’s insight, since for some of us networking online can feel like an intimidating, intangible task.

The goal is to keep it fun, lively, and casual, but sincere. Don’t overthink the formula – keep it simple.

Tips for networking on LinkedIn

  • Attend LinkedIn Workshops; contact the speaker afterward with an appreciative comment (e.g., “Hi, I was at your workshop today. Thanks for sharing so much helpful information! I’d love to connect with you on LinkedIn if you’re willing.”)
  • Search the LinkedIn Groups page (go to the Work tab at the top of each page, click on the drop-down menu, then click on the Groups icon) to find professional LIS groups to join (no membership required; excellent starting point for finding new, relevant connections, filter by area/job type).
  • Discover LIS people whose profiles that interest you, then consider reaching out to that individual (e.g., “Hi, I am very interested in your experience and background, and would love to learn from you and connect with you.”)
  • Connect with people in jobs you want (e.g., “Hey, I am a current student in the SJSU iSchool program, getting ready to graduate. I noticed that you work at the type of organization I would be interested in, and if you wouldn’t mind, I would love to talk with you about how you got where you are today. I promise not to take up more than 20 minutes of your time.”)
  • Connect with SJSU iSchool alumni (e.g., “I see that you also graduated from SJSU with your MLIS; I’m getting ready to graduate soon. I would love to connect with you and become part of your LinkedIn professional community.”)
  • Pursue an informal interview after connecting (e.g., “So glad we could connect. Would you be willing to schedule a brief 15- to 20-minute phone call? I’d love to hear your how you navigated your career path from graduating to your current role. Please let me know at your convenience if you’d be available to chat; I’d really appreciate your insight! Thank you in advance.”)

Did You Know LinkedIn has a Job Search Tool?

Be sure to utilize the feature of the job search tool. You can search by job type, title, company, and location. Jill points out that a great way to filter results is by experience level. Once you establish your search criteria, you can set up job alerts. For more on this, check out Jill’s previous workshop LinkedIn as a Job Search Tool.

Advice for Students

For LIS students who might not have work experience in the information services field, Jill advises that you ask yourself the following questions:

  • What important experiences did I have before iSchool?
  • Why did I go to iSchool?
  • What aspects of the LIS field am I passionate about?
  • What classes pique my interest?
  • What LIS skills do I have a natural aptitude for?
  • What projects make me “come alive or step up?”

Find out more for students at University.LinkedIn.

Key Takeaways

Jill encourages us to “step outside your comfort zone and give it a shot.” It is all about networking and moving forward in your career, you have nothing to lose by reaching out. As Jill further enthused, “I have access to all these people and I can send them a message. I think that is phenomenal. I really do. I’m just blown away by that and I think that is something that most people don’t even know is an option.”

Jill is my inspiration for updating my LinkedIn profile this summer and I can’t thank her enough! Jill shared that when she was a student she used the school break as a chance to update her LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn gives you the chance to share your interests, passions, and accomplishments with the entire world. How cool is that?

If You Enjoyed My Recap…

Please watch all of Jill’s full workshops on LinkedIn:

Thank you again for reading. Please comment or email me questions or ideas for future posts!

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