Graduate Fellow, GW Career Quest
GW Center for Career Services
Master of Public Administration Candidate
In my LinkedIn review sessions with GW Career Quest-NYC students, I was often asked if it was worth it to have a LinkedIn page. The answer I always give is, yes, yes, YES! Take a look at these tips that have helped Career Quest participants, students across the world and myself advance our professional networks:
- Add connections: Establishing connections is what LinkedIn is all about. Brainstorm a list of contacts who may not already be LinkedIn connections such as internship supervisors, peers, student group members, associations you’ve formed during networking events, even friends & family. The more connections you have, the better you are ‘linked in’ to potential opportunities. More contacts also mean more endorsements of the skills you have listed on your profile.
- Consider adding a summary: A summary is a great succinct way to present the main information you would like employers-or whomever visits your LinkedIn page-to know about you. It’s essentially a brief synopsis of your skill set. A summary functions similar to an objective on your resume. It’s the section of your profile where you can express your professional creativity and showcase your main skill set, which types of opportunities you are seeking and your professional philosophy.
- Posts & updates are your friends: Whenever you land a new internship, win a scholarship, or even finish a relevant project for a course, be sure to update your profile with the good news! Your edits get published to your network so your connections will see what you’ve been up to and can extend their congratulations. It’s a good idea also to share posts about anything relevant to your field like a blog post, an interesting article you read or a photo. Posts like these further engage your network and show you are well-versed in current affairs in your industry. Word of caution: be careful not to become an over-poster! Similar to other social media sites like Facebook or Instagram, no one on LinkedIn likes inauthentic or excessive posts. Overdoing it could also hurt your professional credibility.
- Don’t let experiences go to waste! Some people hesitate to create a LinkedIn profile because they feel they do not have work experience. I’m here to tell you it’s ok if you haven’t had your first ‘career job’ yet! Skills you acquire from volunteer experiences and internships can be transferable to a job in the future so why not include them in your profile? Reflect on some of your current and past roles. Are you an officer for your fraternity or sorority? Reference those leadership skills on your profile. Started a student organization? Under your experience section, mention your responsibilities with action words such as “lead” “developed” and “planned.” Entries like these demonstrate leadership capabilities and a commitment to community engagement and public service – qualities employers seek out.
LinkedIn is a great tool for further developing your professional network. By adding connections, summarizing your skill set, remaining current with updates and posts and maximizing all of your experiences, LinkedIn can help you land that next opportunity.
As much as the social network can do for you online, it’s important to supplement your networking by cultivating professional relationships with your connections offline as well through informational interviews, in-person meetings and other interactions.
If you have not done so already, get started on LinkedIn today: linkedin.com.
To learn more about GW Career Quest, visit go.gwu.edu/careerquest2016.