Starting Your Online Network-Get Out Your Pen Pt. 2

By Lisa Correu, Principal/Job Search Advocate AfterSchool Career Workshops

This is the second of an ongoing series. You can find Part One here!

So your fledgling network is off the ground and humming. You’re adding people as you go and learning how LinkedIn works.  One of the really useful parts of LinkedIn is that it will continually guide you on building your profile. Listen to it and do what it says, paying close attention to the headline and summary sections.

The headline is in the section by your photograph (which you will have taken professionally, just go to one of the local photography chain stores, it’s not expensive and be sure to get a digital copy, both high and low resolution). The average view of a resume or online profile can be as little as 30 seconds so make this a priority. Stay away from tired and over-used verbiage. Detail-oriented and results-driven are profile killers. In fact, avoid anything with a hyphen. Be enthusiastic and emphasize your eagerness to start your career.  The more fleshed out this part is the better. Having a good Personal Marketing Statement will give you a strong foundation for this section.

Keep your status updated. This is an opportunity to post links to articles, industry news, job hunt stories or successes and don’t forget to post any kind of learning experiences you’re having. Employers will be impressed that you aren’t just sitting around waiting for your big break.

Groups. This is huge. There are alumni groups, professional groups, special interest groups, hiring related groups and more.  To steal from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off: There are groups for the sportos and motor heads, geeks, sluts, bloods, wastoids, dweebies and another I can’t say in good company but you get the drift. LinkedIn has a top-notch groups tutorial for in-depth info.

Join the groups that apply and appeal to you but don’t just let them sit. Watch and read at first but then begin to engage. Be a presence on them, ask questions, provide informed opinions, contribute meaningfully. Don’t just ask for job leads, or favors,  this is off-putting to the community and paints you as selfish and unwilling to help. LinkedIn groups are a great source of information, advice and even support when you feel adrift. And a little side note: you can send messages to fellow group members whereas you can’t to connections out of your 1st tier.  Mouse over the far right side of the name of your fellow group member to locate the “Send Message” selection. Shhhhh...

Keeping a current LinkedIn profile isn’t just good for job hunting. It’s fabulous for business intelligence, resource building and contributing to a greater community.  It will be invaluable for the length of your career and who knows, a great job may also find you there!

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