Staying Ahead of the Curve With LinkedIn
In September 2008, I was starting my second year of graduate school in Cleveland, Ohio. After a year of graduate-level coursework, it was clear… Time would always be scarce, pulling an “all-nighter” was slightly more painful than undergrad, and if I wanted to completely eliminate distractions, I definitely needed to leave my deactivated Facebook page in limbo until holiday break or graduation. (I used to be notorious for deactivating and reactivating my Facebook page, leaving many to think that I actually blocked or defriended them.)
It was also apparent that if I was going to stay ahead of the curve and fulfill my hopes of packing up to explore, live and work in a new city, I needed to be proactive during my final year of study. So, like many other diligent Millennials, I bought expensive paper, printed a stack of resumes, and spent countless weekends mailing resumes or attending job fairs. A few paper cuts, several print cartridges, and many disappointments later, I decided to take a closer look at a social network called LinkedIn.
Over time, I learned:
If you do not have a personal website, LinkedIn can serve as your online resume/portfolio.
When editing your experience or education, you can also upload photos, videos, presentations, or links that showcase your work!
Do not leave those work presentations on your desktop or on a thumb drive, never to be seen again. Share the knowledge and showcase your expertise by uploading your work to LinkedIn. (If nothing else, it makes it easier to locate some of your best work and will save you the headache of losing this information if your computer crashes, gets lost… or stolen.)
2. LinkedIn Groups are a great way to connect with professionals in and outside of your network—especially when you are looking for a job.
When I moved to Chicago, I supplemented my income as a contractor by working retail. While I actually enjoyed my job downtown as a sales associate, it was not in line with my goal of learning new technical skills or growing my business. I decided to take my chances and introduce myself to members of the Buckeye Alumni Network. The comment section and my inbox gradually filled with greetings, well wishes, and lucky for me, an offer to have coffee with an alumna who had also made the transition from life in Cleveland to a career in digital media/marketing in Chicago. I rushed to a local café after finishing my department store shift and met with Tiffani (OSU, Class of 2004). She supplied me with what I will call a “survival guide” to working in Chicago Tech.
If you are looking for a new job or simply want to find a way to grow your network without running to every event in town, start with LinkedIn.
3. LinkedIn is an easy and convenient way to stay up to date on the latest news and trends in your profession.
I don’t know about you, but my Facebook newsfeed can get pretty cluttered with information I could do without. The beauty of LinkedIn is being able to quickly see the news, people, and information that matters most to my professional goals and interests.
My new morning newspaper is the Linkedin Daily Rundown:
If you are looking for a new morning reading routine or want to take a break from scrolling through your Instagram feed, download the LinkedIn app and stay in the know. (Don’t rule out being a contributor to the continuous flow of knowledge and information on LinkedIn, either…)
In October 2017, I had the privilege of sharing my experience and best-practices for utilizing LinkedIn at the ACT-W Conference in Chicago.
Have you been avoiding those much-needed edits to your LinkedIn page? Take a moment to review the presentation and video below for tips on how you can enhance your profile!
If you attended my workshop, don’t forget to add your unique URL to your email signature:
Did you miss the Chicago conference? I encourage you to start making plans to be in Phoenix, AZ, April 10 – 13, 2018 for the ACT-W National Conference!