[Updated from a blog post from February 2010]
As PR students are nearing the end of their college careers and beginning their job searches, one of the most powerful online tools for them is the business networking site LinkedIn. Creating a profile in LinkedIn is a requirement in my Communication Seminar class and is recommended for ALL my PR students.
What’s LinkedIn? In the site’s own words,
“Your professional network of trusted contacts gives you an advantage in your career, and is one of your most valuable assets. LinkedIn exists to help you make better use of your professional network and help the people you trust in return. Our mission is to connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful. We believe that in a global connected economy, your success as a professional and your competitiveness as a company depends upon faster access to insight and resources you can trust.”
So far, I’ve used LinkedIn to:
- research companies we are discussing in class
- ask questions of other public relations professionals
- connect with colleagues from previous jobs
- write recommendations for current and former colleagues
- find guest speakers for classes
- share my professional background with students who only know me as a professor
LinkedIn provides some helpful advice for college students. In summary, the advice is:
I’ve embedded the Get Started video below. You can find the rest of them via the links above.
Also, soon-to-be grads should take a look at the following:
- Chris Brogan’s 19-page eBook “Using the Social Web to Find Work.” (Though it was written more than a year ago, much of the advice still holds true.) Visit Chris’ site and scroll down to his fifth paragraph for the PDF. (I chose not to link to it directly because I want you to visit his site first. ) Chris includes many, many tips on using LinkedIn and other sites.
- Gini Dietrich’s blog post “Using Social Media to Find a Job.” Be sure to read the comments in addition to the post itself.
When you set up your profile in LinkedIn, consider also doing the following:
- Create a custom URL for your profile to make it easier for people to find you (and because it will look nicer on your resume)
- Include a good headshot photo of yourself, looking as professional as possible. No pictures where you can see that you cropped out (most of) the person next to you.
- Add Applications to LinkedIn, such as a feed from your blog or SlideShare. Only add Twitter if 100% of your tweets are ones that you’d want a potential employer to read.
How do YOU use LinkedIn? How have you benefitted from it? Please share your thoughts as a comment below.