Today, I conducted a webinar called “Graduate to LinkedIn” as part of the IPFW Mastodon Career Call series. Here’s a recap of some of the key points:
- LinkedIn is among the most underutilized tools available to professionals, and it seems to get even less attention among college students despite the fact its an excellent tool for connecting with employers, networking, and developing your reputation.
- While most college students won’t have more discretionary time as the enter the workforce, they still should consider spending more time on LinkedIn–perhaps at the expense of time on Facebook, which isn’t nearly as valuable for professional networking.
- The two factors that differentiate LinkedIn are the audience’s mindset–a clear focus on their professional lives–and the composition of the audience–which includes a disproportionately high concentration of business decision makers.
- LinkedIn has implications well beyond job seekers and recruiters. It has tremendous value for anyone who depends upon relationships for their success.
- The profile is often considered the most important part of LinkedIn, but it’s actually just a first step, a foot in the door.
- Five of the most valuable ways to leverage LinkedIn’s power are:
- By making relevant connections, understanding that a bigger network is not necessarily better and that it’s imperative you connect only with people you know and with whom you have mutual trust.
- By updating your status with content relevant to your professional life no less than once a week and as much as once a day. Collectively over time these status updates will determine how your network perceives you much more so than what you include in your profile.
- By deploying applications and plug-ins that help you share content you’re producing elsewhere, like presentations, blog posts, and white papers.
- By using advanced search to understand the relationships between those you already know and those you want to know.
- By requesting and making recommendations
I also shared some examples of LinkedIn features specifically designed for students–which I “precapped” in my blog post yesterday.
Altogether, my belief is that LinkedIn is a critically important tool for many emerging professionals. In graduating to LinkedIn, they’ll ensure that they’re in front of the right audience, and by focusing their message, they’ll ensure that they provide that audience with evidence of their skills and expertise.