Make Your LinkedIn Profile Work for You by Keeping it Current and Building Your Network

Published: Wednesday, January 13, 2016 by Allison Randall Gatt

In last week’s post we learned the important details of how to put together a professional and informative LinkedIn profile. Career Center Liaison Jill Klees gave a presentation in October 2015 entitled, “LinkedIn—Develop Your Online Brand.” I’ll include some more of her great tips on networking in this post as well as discuss more great LinkedIn advice from social media expert and California State University East Bay instructor Kim Legocki. A couple years ago, the iSchool’s ASIS&T student chapter invited Legocki to give a presentation entitled, “10 Steps to the Perfect LinkedIn Profile.” Legocki also gives us some great information about how to network and post on your profile to keep it looking current and interesting—just like yourself.

Start Networking and Building Your Profile as a Student
In her presentation, Klees was especially encouraging to students who may not have a profile started because they are still in school. “This is actually a great time for you to start to build your online brand,” she said. Internship supervisors, professors looking for student assistants, and others may check LinkedIn to learn more about applicants before they make hiring decisions, so you’ll want to make sure they can find you.

On the flip side, LinkedIn gives you an easy way to find out about the people you’ll be meeting before you go on a job interview. You can also use it to reach out to professionals in your field of interest, research their profiles and employers, and even ask them questions about what their job is like. This will help you make really good choices now, while you’re just getting started. You can even shape your coursework and internship choices by finding out more about specific career fields.

Build your network right here, right now by connecting with your professors. “Is that weird?” asked one of the participants in the October webinar. “Not at all,” Klees replied. She said that inviting your professors is a great way to build your professional network. I’ve connected with several of my professors as well as a couple co-workers, because I know that the recommendations from these esteemed professionals will be invaluable to connecting my with my future dream job. I’ve also expanded my own network by linking to people who already have substantial networks of their own.

Connect with Professionals and Connect with a Great Job
Another great source of people that Klees mentioned adding to your network is the Career Colloquia at the iSchool. Attend or listen to the presentation and then send a personal note and a request to connect. These professionals have great connections and through their profiles can serve as great role models and mentors.

Looking for more ways to connect? Here’s a hidden secret weapon Klees pointed out—the Alumni Connections section on LinkedIn. Use the dropdown menu from Connections at the top of the page and search like an excited crazy person for alumni here at the iSchool or previous institutions. There are a variety of sections to help you narrow down your search based on years attended, specialization, etc. It will give you’re a great variety of keywords you can use on your profile, or people that you can connect with.

Trading Recommendations
After all that, it’s recommendation time. To get a recommendation, go to your account settings, which is in the drop-down menu underneath your teeny little profile picture in the upper right-hand corner of the page. Then go down to Manage Your Recommendations at the bottom of the Settings column. Hard to find, but worth doing.

“But don’t use the site’s generic form,” Legocki counseled in her presentation. Be respectful of the person’s time and be specific in your request, for example “Please discuss my ability to write insightful and helpful blog posts,” or “I would appreciate your recommendation that speaks to my excellent skills as an innovative web programmer.” You get the idea, right? And always write a recommendation in return—do unto others, scratch my back, etc. Note that recommendations are not the same as endorsements, which don’t really carry a lot of weight. Recommendations are a great way to reconnect with past professors and employers and solidify working relationships. Use some of the pointers from the iSchool’s informational interviewing page to help you craft a brief but polite request for a recommendation.

Keep it Current and Know What’s Going On
“Post updates!” said Legocki. This keeps your profile current so it will appear higher in search results as well as give you a place to promote any blogs or online articles you may have written (note to self). Find and link research articles that relate to your field, or articles that reflect your interests. This proves that you’re staying current, in-the-know and actively engaged in your field. Legocki recommended posting one to two times a week and liking or commenting on articles that others have posted, too. Like Facebook, only it’s for your job. Again, remember your keywords! Thanks Info 202! You can even tag and connect with someone you’re linked to—just another way to strengthen connections. Klees also recommended joining some LinkedIn groups to keep track of what’s going on in your field and to connect with others.

Legocki advised linking Twitter and LinkedIn together, and you’ve killed two birds with one stone… ooh, pardon the pun. This will also help prove that you’re an expert of sorts at finding and sharing interesting content. After all, you are in school to make that your profession.

This is your homework until classes begin. It will be well worth every minute you spend, even if your professor’s not grading it. 

Check out more of the iStudent blog's posts about social networking:
Make Your LinkedIn Profile Look Amazing and Help You Land that Dream Job

The Here and Now—A Closer Look at Social Media, Open Courses and Innovative Library Programming at the Library 2.015 Spring Summit

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