If you are a student, you have probably heard the term “networking.” This means building professional relationships with people in which you share things in common. At Averett Online, we make networking accessible when you enroll, and automatically become part of a community of peers and professionals from all over. However, it can often be difficult to discover the best platform for your specific networking needs. Even though you can meet fellow Averett students through classes, you may still be searching for ways to reach a broader audience.
A simple way is through LinkedIn, a social media platform designed for students and professionals. Whether you realize it or not, your presence on social media is important to your peers and future employers. How you present yourself virtually is just as important as how you present yourself in-person!
When evaluating you as a potential job candidate, an employer needs to know who you are, what skills you have and your level of professionalism. When you create a LinkedIn account, you can create a profile that is perfect for displaying what makes you worth hiring.
Not only can you reap benefits from LinkedIn when it comes to job searching, but it allows you to build connections in your community and even around the world! On LinkedIn, you can add and message friends and when you begin at a university or place of employment, LinkedIn automatically recommends other profiles to you. Some of these profiles are of people who were formerly or currently in your shoes. You can get to know peers in a quick, easy manner. Just a simple “Thanks for being my friend!” message can expand your network and begin professional relationships.
Here are a few tips that will help you get the most out of LinkedIn.
1. Create a free LinkedIn account. Download the LinkedIn app, available on the Apple and Google Play store, or visit www.linkedin.com.
2. Enrich your profile. Don’t leave any section blank, if possible. It is not enough to make a profile with only your name displayed. Other LinkedIn users need to know who you are, including your job experience, education, awards, publications, endorsements, certifications and other professional achievements.
3. Add a professional profile picture. You need to put a face to your name, but forgo the duck-lip or bathroom mirror selfies. Instead, use a professional headshot picture. If you don’t have one, put on a business, work-friendly outfit and have a friend take your picture. Remember that your employer wants to see a profile that exudes professionalism, and a nice picture is one way to do that!
4. Connect with those you know (and those you don’t). If you see someone you know on LinkedIn, feel free to add them to your network. Maybe you see users that are also Averett Online students, but you have not met them yet. Add them too! Whereas social media accounts such as Facebook and Instagram are more personal, LinkedIn is only a professional platform. You are not adding someone with the intention of finding out about their family or dating history. You are adding them because you share in their educational and professional experiences. Being LinkedIn friends with Averett fellows is a great reminder that you are part of a wonderful, supportive community.
5. Stay active! If you want to make the most out of your LinkedIn experience, it is important to keep your friends updated and learn about others’ accomplishments. There are a variety of ways to be active on LinkedIn, including sharing others’ posts, congratulating friends on a new job and sharing your professional updates. If you want to show off that Averett Online degree that you worked so hard for, do not be afraid to post about it! Your LinkedIn friends are there to support your goals and achievements every step of the way.