Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Hands on play with LinkedIn

I have had a LinkedIn account for a while now, and had filled it with some basic information such as past and current jobs and education information, but I hadn’t gotten around to actually describing any of the responsibilities of each job or even putting up a profile picture. I used this week as an opportunity to begin refining my profile, as well as explore some other features of LinkedIn outside of the profile itself.

I began by detailing the different requirements and responsibilities of each job I have had in the past as well as my current jobs. This still needs some additional information and tweaking, but it is much more detailed than before. I also changed my headline, which is an extremely important part of your profile because it tells others what you are currently doing and what you are excited about doing in the future. That along with a professional profile picture (which I have yet to add) are what employers first see when checking out your profile, so it is important that your headline is interesting enough to make them want to keep reading. Going along with that, I wrote my summary, which is the first detailed description of your background that people typically see when viewing your profile. This is another place where it is important to describe where you are currently at in your career as well as state what motivates and excites you about future career plans. The rest of my time spent working on my profile consisted of adding courses to the list of courses I have taken both at Luther College where I got my undergraduate degree as well as classes that I have taken and am currently taking here at Madison, adding a bit of volunteer experience, and listing organizations I have been involved in and descriptions of my roles in those organizations.

After working on my profile, I started exploring other aspects of LinkedIn such as locating people from both undergrad and people I have met in graduate school thus far and connecting with them. One of the things I learned from the interview I conducted with someone in the Career Services department was that a huge reason why it is important for students to create a LinkedIn profile early is because students are constantly meeting new people and making real life connections that can become LinkedIn connections. It is harder, and a bit more awkward, to go back after you have already graduated and make connections on LinkedIn with people you haven’t talked to in a year, two year, or maybe longer. Making those connections now means that you will have them in the future when you need them. I also explored groups on LinkedIn and joined some groups, including SLIS, which could prove to be useful in the future as those groups link me to people I would not otherwise have access to. I still have to play around with groups a bit more to see how many ways they can be useful, but I can definitely see them being beneficial.

There are definitely a lot more aspects of LinkedIn that I have yet to explore, but so far I have learned a great deal about the different ways this site can be used and how it can be useful for making connections and potentially finding jobs.

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