Many young job seekers, typically between the ages of 18 and 25, are entering what seems to be a plentiful job market. As you take a closer look at the jobs available, you may find fewer opportunities in your specific field of interest. However, there are some tools that well help set you apart, especially as you begin looking for your first post-education position. Let’s touch on the networking tool LinkedIn.
LinkedIn has been an industry standard social media platform since 2002. Designed to connect established professionals, LinkedIn is also a go-to resource for the beginning job hunter. With free subscription as well as paid premium options, new job seekers have the ability to quickly build a personal presence online.
Establish your presence.
The first step is as easy as going to LinkedIn.com to create your new, free account. Typically, the site requests a valid email along with a secure password. It is a great idea to also setup multi-factor authentication. Multi-factor authentication prevents your personal login information from being compromised.
Create your personal page using your name. This is for professional purposes, so avoid nicknames and other abbreviated versions of your legal name. If you have a current position, be prepared to share your title along with a brief description of your current responsibilities. You also have the opportunity to upload and share your full working resume. Once this information has been uploaded or inputted, you have the option to limit what others see about your work history.
LinkedIn provides an “About” section that allows you to capture a brief glimpse of your working philosophy, your qualities, and your aspirations. This is a callout section that potential contacts and employers gravitate towards to get a better idea about you and your interests professionally, as well as a few that you enjoy in your personal life outside of work.
Choosing a profile picture that suits a professional presence is particularly important when determining what picture to choose or how you want to take your photo. Making sure that it is appropriate for your LinkedIn platform is key. Professional clothing should be worn rather than just casual wear. Instead of a candid, head-to-toe portrait, consider a headshot, framing the head and shoulders. Remember to cater to your field of work – dress in your photo as you would want to appear in the work setting. If your field of work is more casual wear on a daily basis, then professional wear in the profile picture may not be necessary. The quality of a picture is very essential. Blurry pictures, or group photos would not be the best option when choosing a profile picture. That brief profile picture will be what potential future employers and fellow peers notice first.
The cover photo is also a way to express yourself and make a statement that catches fellow users' attention, in turn, encourages them to spend more time on your page. Although it is not completely necessary, many people choose to create a design or graphic that stands out and compliments your profile picture. This is an excellent location to add contact information, personal logo, and any links that might correlate to work related projects.
Connect with your peers
Start connecting with people within your industry. If you are new to the workforce, look at making connections in your field of interest. If you are looking for a change in circumstances, take the opportunity to widen your network. Not every connection you make is someone you already know. There are millions of people connected through LinkedIn with the potential to be new professional contacts.
As you build a rapport with your network, consider that some of your contacts would make excellent, potential references. This could either aid you in a job search or boost your credentials in a particular field. For instance, a LinkedIn contact you made through your new company can endorse your skills as a marketing professional, a certified member of a group, or a language expert.
LinkedIn has built smaller communities of combined or special interest. Look for your alumni association to pop up in a search. Are you a member of a sorority or fraternity? Have an interest or hobby and you would like to connect with like-minded people? There are groups for that and many other areas. Not only will you find connections who share your interest, you are also building a specialized network which can benefit you and others down the road.
Maintain your presence
Now that you have established yourself on LinkedIn, take the time to manage your profile. This could be as simple as ensuring your current job and profile is up-to-date or you can make sure to like and comment on articles you find on your newsfeed. You can also share posts that you find impactful to your community of contacts. Besides sharing, you can also create original posts, share pictures, articles, or even create entire blog pieces to support a larger conversation. The more you post in your area of interest or expertise, the more you will be considered a thought leader in your industry.
Be thoughtful in the pieces you like and share. It’s not necessary to like or comment on posts just to be seen. Find where you can add value to the conversation. Make sure you “like” posts that support or even challenge your thought process. However, remember, everything you touch online reflects back on your profile. Keep your conversation professional. Just like you would be cautious on any other social media platform, be sure to avoid arguments that reflect poorly on you, your organization, or your next dream job.
Your dream job is out there. It might be your forever job, or it might be the step before the next step. LinkedIn is just one of many tools that can help you along the way.
Search Careers & Connect with Bank Independent
Bank Independent maintains a corporate presence on LinkedIn. As a local employer of choice, we use our LinkedIn profile to share company updates, messages from our leadership, highlight team members and causes important to them. Bank Independent posts career positions and answer community questions about career opportunities. Ask us about internship opportunities or visit www.bibank.com/careers.