Why LinkedIn, Why Now?

Career Blog

Published: April 29, 2019 by Greta Snyder

I have to admit that 5 years ago or so when more of my friends and co-workers started using LinkedIn, I thought “oh no, not another Facebook!” While my initial cynicism was understandable, this service has evolved into a powerful niche platform. LinkedIn is now the ultimate online destination for connecting professionally, expanding your network, and marketing yourself in a concise, transparent and fluid way. In fact, LinkedIn has become a key tool for LIS students seeking to find jobs and build relationships that will lead to a wide range of career opportunities. Now is the time to diversify your job search and let LinkedIn do the hard work for you!

On April 3, 2019 the amazing Jill Klees, SJSU iSchool Career Consultant, hosted a workshop on LinkedIn about how you can better utilize this essential social media tool. In fact, Jill’s presentation is so invaluable and chock-full of insights that I will be splitting my coverage into 2 posts.

Starting with the Basics

This LinkedIn workshop focuses on what is new and what has changed. Jill generously shares her expertise with the social media platform and provides helpful examples and strategic ideas for taking your profile to the next level.

Danielle shared with me that the private tour gave her the chance to view exclusive collections donated to the library and to hear first-hand from the archivists at work processing these collections. She and the other SJSU iSchool MLIS students in attendance viewed lithographs, original screenplays, postcards, and immigration paperwork. In particular, Danielle was interested in the collection of immigration paperwork and coaching papers from an exclusion-era Chinese-American translator and lawyer, You Chung Hong.

Jill started out by explaining that 5 years ago she would have said that LinkedIn was optional, but that now she considers it a recommended tool. However, according to Jill, in order to make LinkedIn work for you and not against you, you have to commit to updating your profile so that it can be marketing you “in the background.” An additional value of the platform is that it allows you to share out in real time your current and recent achievements, work, projects, passions, and interests. LinkedIn provides a way to share a dynamic, interactive resume and connect with potential career opportunities 24/7, which is where that “marketing you in the background” comes in.

Increasing your Visibility to Potential Hiring Managers

In particular, LinkedIn is a fantastic way to exponentially increase your visibility to nation-wide and international employers and to diversify your job search. (She noted that 95% of recruiters use LinkedIn.) The brilliance of LinkedIn is that instead of having to do all of the job searching on your own, used to full potential, this tool does the searching for you. LinkedIn empowers you to be seen by recruiters from multiple industries, such as health care, non-profits, businesses, and education simply based on your robust presence on the platform.

Making the Most of Your Profile

Jill emphasizes three aspects of your profile crucial for appealing to potential employers:

  1. Photo
  2. Headline
  3. Summary

Your photo

 A photo used to not be expected. However, now if you do not have a photo of yourself, people consider that a bit of a a red flag: instead, take this opportunity to show the real you. No need to hire a professional photographer, just use a smart phone or computer to take a headshot with a solid or neutral background and your wonderful smile. If you have a real photo your profile is 21 times more likely to be viewed (now that is worth smiling for.)

your headline

Your profile headline is essentially your call to action:  describe yourself in motion. Jill emphasizes that this is an opportunity for branding and sharing not just your current work, but what you are excited about. The headline is limited to 120 characters, so think of it as a Tweet. Are you a life-long learner, researcher, activist, club leader, MLIS student or an avid reader? Let potential hiring managers know!

Your summary

The third key component of your profile is the summary. The summary enables you to share your voice and highlight what can you add to the organization. Jill’s fantastic tip is to focus on using key search terms and industry verbiage that recruiters or human resources managers might use. She recommended that you can look at job posts through Handshake or LinkedIn to see what key terms are used to describe jobs you might want and integrate these words into your summary. Ask yourself:  what skill words can I use to highlight my strengths? If you use key words, recruiters are 13 times more likely to view your profile. I had an a-ha moment when I realized that keyword skills are essentially hyperlinks or hashtags that connect you to the job posting. Jill shared some helpful examples including this excellent summary posted by Kim Dority, an LIS career development professional I previously blogged about.

Key Take-Aways

Jill reiterated that in your LinkedIn profile’s headline and summary you always want to make sure to highlight your passion, strengths, and what is special about you. To have your LinkedIn profile marketing your amazingness 24/7, it’s important to keep that profile up to date as a reflection of your most current interests, passions, and areas of expertise. Finally, Jill emphasized the importance of embedding relevant keywords throughout your headline and summary to make it as easy as possible for potential hiring managers to find you.

Ready for a Deeper Dive?

To explore further, please check out Jill’s past workshops on LinkedIn:

And keep an eye out for next week’s post, part 2 of our LinkedIn workshop coverage.

Bottom line: Jill’s workshops are a must-listen for any SJSU iSchool students and Alumni looking to build a career and seek out opportunities. Check out her upcoming Graduating? Now What? on May 1, 2019.

Thank you again for reading and please comment or email me any ideas for future posts!

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