Social media is a craze that has overwhelmed us all from Facebook to Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. These outlets are all updated and maintained on a daily basis. Although, these are all tools that enhance your brand and provide entertainment, where’s your LinkedIn profile? Are you connected? Do you follow companies? Do you realize the potential in building not only 1st connections, but 2nd and 3rd? These are all questions I once asked myself and now I would like to share.
Over the past few months I have not only created a LinkedIn profile, but I have discovered the numerous benefits in doing so. Once you create your own profile it is of great importance you complete the following steps before connecting with others:
- Provide a display photo as people like to see who you are. Some professionals do not even connect with those who do not provide a professional picture.
- Fill in all of your information including school, experience and skills. Your connections want to see your accomplishments and will be able to gauge your potential.
- Write a summary about yourself. Do not be shy! This is an opportunity for your personality to shine through amongst the rest and allow prospective employers and peers to see who you are.
- Lastly, request recommendations. Ask previous or current professors, employers or a mentor to provide you with a recommendation on LinkedIn. Aside from what you can tell others about yourself, allow the opportunity for someone else to provide their judgment of your character for others to see.
Once your profile is 100% complete, it is time to build connections. Start small; begin to search for fellow peers, classmates or those people you work with who will lead you to others.
Searching for a job? Begin to search for your target companies and be sure to follow them. Following companies will provide you with job openings under the “Jobs” tab at the top of your LinkedIn profile and results will update daily. Additionally, employees from your target companies can be found by using the search engine on LinkedIn. This tool provides you with all the key people you need to reach out to, just one connection away.
Let’s talk connections. Once you have connected directly with someone they are considered a “1st” connection. Through your 1st connections you develop “2nd” and “3rd”connections. Consider these connections as layers and through these layers are potential for more connections. Through your 1st connections you gain access to their connections that then become your 2nd connections. Your list of 3rd connections is then developed from your 2nd’ connections. Does this make sense? Basically it is the “I’m a friend of a friend method” online. Your connections are developed in layers, so always think who you are connecting with and the benefits that connection may bring you, if not directly, then possibly through their 2nd and 3rd connections.
LinkedIn may not be where you post about your crazy weekend or see photos of your friends at their favorite club, but that is why the site is so vital. LinkedIn is a professional profile where you will find that your friends have gained internships and new positions. This is an opportunity to build relationships with peers and those in your industry to help you along your career path. Surrounding yourself with the right people is advice many of us receive and I believe you need to do the same with your online presence. Create a profile, make connections and start building relationships with the right people today.
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