PR Toolbox: Getting LinkedIn For Your Future

This is the third in my “PR Toolbox” series, which offers advice on how to get ready for a career in public relations and the related fields, using all the Internet has to offer! I’ve already covered the benefits of Twitter and blogging. Next up: LinkedIn!

Surely every student by now has heard of the business-oriented social media network, LinkedIn. For those of you who haven’t (and clearly have been living under a rock for the last year or so), it’s essentially the a more professional version of Facebook. (There are status updates, but nope, no Farmville or poking – sorry to disappoint.)

Making a LinkedIn profile is relatively easy; you can sign-up, upload a picture, and edit your work experience all within a few minutes. However, utilizing LinkedIn effectively takes much more time and effort. Here are today’s tips for building up your LinkedIn profile:

My LinkedIn profile

1. Take the time to fill out every section. Make sure you enter a detailed description for each position you have listed. It takes five minutes to input all of the places that you worked, as well as your job title. However, set yourself apart by listing what your job responsibilities were, and more importantly, your major accomplishments. Just like your regular resume, use number and statistics to show job recruiters that you understand ROI and how you produce results. According to the LinkedIn Student Portal, “The more complete your profile, the better your chances of being found.”

2. Make connections. LinkedIn, like many other social networks, even makes personalized recommendations of who you should “connect” with. Whenever you view someone’s profile, you can often see how (if at all) you are connected to that individual. It’s Kevin Bacon’s six degrees of separation on steroids. Take the time to make connections and invite others to join your network…you never know when someone you know will know the recruiting manager at that agency you’ve been trying to get an interview with!

3. Join LinkedIn groups, and start networking. There are LinkedIn groups for every professional and student in almost every industry! I’m linked to a variety of groups, including PRSSA, PRSA Philly, HAPPO (Help A PR Pro Out), Social Media Pro Philly, and University of Delaware Alumni Network. These groups are a great way to participate in discussions relevant to your industry, as well as ask advice of professionals from across the country (and the world!). You can sign up for daily (or weekly) e-mail alerts from your groups so that day’s discussion topics will show up in your inbox. Many times, people will even share job openings via these LinkedIn groups.

4. Keep it professional. Now, I almost hesitate to add this because I know all of you students out there have heard the “don’t post it online unless you’d want your grandparents to see it” warning a million times. Luckily, LinkedIn doesn’t even allow you to upload photos from your 21st birthday as easily as Facebook does.

However, you still want to consider what you decide to post (or what accounts you connect) to your profile. For example, do you really want to cross-post EVERY one of your Twitter updates? Ask yourself if you really want your future employer to see that you checked-in to “Keeping Up With The Kardashians”  on Get Glue every night this week. Or, do you really want to add a website or portfolio that you haven’t updated in six months to the “personal website” section? Consider what you want employers to see, and keep that in mind when developing your profile.

5. …And so much more! There’s a lot more LinkedIn has to offer for both employees and employers. Here are a few articles about great LinkedIn features you may want to use:

– “How To Use LinkedIn To Its Fullest Potential,” PRSSA Blog
– “Why College Students Should Use LinkedIn,” U.S. News, On Careers blog
– “Introducing New Profile Sections Designed for Students,” LinkedIn blog
– “The Art of Getting LinkedIn Recommendations,” Student Branding blog
– “The Do’s & Don’ts of LinkedIn,” Vizibility blog

Are you on LinkedIn? Connect with me here!


About Abby Ecker

PR pro and healthy living blogger in the First State
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