By: Laetitia Meyrueix, Doctoral Student, Department of Nutrition
In the world of social media, we mainly focus on the “fun” social potential of platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. However, it turns out that social media can be used as a tool for professional development and networking, and these various platforms can open up a whole new world of possibilities. Nevertheless, figuring out best practices for these social media tools and how to best utilize them for the professional world, requires a little helping hand. University Career Services (UCS) held at the end of August a LinkedIn Bonanza to help guide students on how to best use this tool for career development. Robert Humphrey, from LinkedIn, lead the presentation and went over a few key ways to improve your profile.
- Professional pictures are important on LinkedIn. You do not want to post a picture that you normally would share with friends on Facebook and Instagram. Your photo doesn’t necessarily need to be a professionally done headshot, but make sure there isn’t anything inappropriate.
- Pro tip for the Student Budget: Groupon has deals for professional headshots through JC Penney for as little as $25 if you wait for Groupon sales.
- Under your profile name you have the option to write-up a quick headline. Think hard about the content of this headline. It needs to be something that will make you stand out, since it is one of the first things people see when you appear in searches.
- Make your headline personal. Add flair to it! Think of what makes you particularly unique or what your career aims are.
- Don’t be too wordy—narrow it down to what you want people to first know about you.
- Indicating that you are a student is totally acceptable but make sure to add something extra to it!
- This portion is under the headline and allows you to expand a bit beyond what was mentioned there. Again, this is one of the first things people will see. Make sure to really emphasize the important aspects of your training and what you are aiming to accomplish or do as your next steps, i.e. career goals.
- Less is always more with these sorts of things!
- This section is a good place to highlight your skills.
- Think of the skills you have acquired, whether that be from lab experience, from school or outside of the academic realm. Companies will search for people with specific skillsets, so it’s key to list as many as possible. Of course, make sure you possess these skills.
- Review skills sought by companies you are interested in and if you don’t have the skill, investigate how to get it! LinkedIn has courses you can take to help fill in the gaps for skills you might not have developed during school.
- Pro tip: Lynda.com, EdX and Coursera are other great resources for acquiring new skills.
- Once your profile is complete and presentable, go out there and connect! Connect with your peers, faculty, alumni and with people you meet at events. You never know who might connect you to your next job!