February 13, 2017 by quintanillav
(Actually more important as it relates to recruiting!)
We live in the fast-paced technology age where most of us spend a decent amount of time connected to social media platforms. When it comes to interacting with your loved ones (personal network) near and far, it’s great to share things on Facebook, Instagram and even Snapchat.
But there are also several important reasons to be on the social media platform that is intended to be for your professional network: LinkedIn.
You may not have a profile yet or wonder why it is so important that you do. It’s normal that LinkedIn will evolve throughout your career. You may find yourself more active on it at certain times (job hunting) than others (after accepting a new offer). LinkedIn doesn’t have to be something that you set up a profile and are extremely active on (aka regularly post) but it is important to give it enough attention and updated information though that if a recruiter searches for you, there are able to find a strong profile that will instantly impress them.
As a student, what do I need to do?
Students should definitely review all of the resources that LinkedIn has put together (Quick Tip PDFs and videos) on www.students.linked.com and https://university.linkedin.com/linkedin-for-students but here are a few of my favorite tips and things to consider when optimizing your profile.
- This may sound like repeated advice but it must be said: consider have a professional headshot taken by a professional photographer. This means a picture that someone else took (not a selfie) and that you are wearing business casual or business professional attire. You can have tons more fun with your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat profile pictures but LinkedIn IS the main social media platform to highlight your professionalism.
- Put your “research hat” on and utilize the Find Alumni Tool underneath the “My Network” in the top tool bar. You don’t even have to reach out to anyone that you find here, but this is a great FREE tool to just see what alumni are up to: where they are working, what student organizations or volunteer opportunities that they were involved in, what are their current job titles, where did they intern, etc. It’s a wealth of knowledge that may help guide you on some action steps that you need to take.
- If you do reach out to someone on LinkedIn do conduct an Informational Interview, we recommend you personalize your request for a connection. LinkedIn has a function that allows you to personalize the request for a connection, but only if you click on the person’s profile first and hit the “Connect” button from there. This doesn’t work as easily on your phone or if you found them in and Advanced Search. If you hit the “Connect” button from those results, it will send a generic message.
LinkedIn Invitations to connect – Make sure to Personalize
Generic (Not recommended):
“I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.
– Student’s Name”
Personalized message example (Recommended):
“I’m really impressed with your background and I was hoping you may be open to connecting so that I can send you a quick message about the X position at your company.
I’m looking to work in fashion after I graduate from UT at Austin and would love some advice.
– Student’s Name”
Only a certain number of characters are allowed for the invitation to connect so it’s important to be brief but let them know why you want to connect. Most McCombs alums are open to connecting because of the UT connection. If they accept, it is then up to you to follow up with a message with what you are asking for their help with. If they do not accept, it is important to not take it personally. They may be someone that only connects on LinkedIn with people they have personally worked with.
Why would I reach out to someone on LinkedIn?
It depends. Typically it is to find out some more information related to your recruiting efforts. Think about what information you are hoping to gain by reaching out on LinkedIn:
- Informational interview
- Referral for an internship or job
- Curious about their education, career path, city they live in?
How can LinkedIn help me stand out as a candidate?
|The “norm”:||Above and Beyond:|
|Wait in lines at career fairs||Research recruiters’ backgrounds online and email them the night before career fairs (mention mutual connections if possible)|
|Submit resume online||Reach out to alumni who work in the industry and ask for advice about future trends to demonstrate knowledge to recruiters|
|Hope for an interview||Craft a compelling online presence that recruiters can view when deciding between candidates with similar resumes|
Join our LinkedIn Group:
BBA Career Services offers a group specifically for current and past McCombs students. Alumni and employers in the group are looking to connect and build relationships.
To take advantage of the benefits this group offers, do:
- Ask for advice about career paths from current industry participants
- Post relevant articles with insightful questions to spark discussions
- Connect with fellow members to gain a “virtual mentor” in a field you are interested to pursue
- List your resume and ask for an internship
- Introduce an irrelevant article or an article without posing questions
Need help with your profile?
BBA Career Services Staff and Peer Coaches are trained in reviewing LinkedIn profiles. Feel free to stop by walk-ins (BBA Career Services front office, CBA 2.116) or make an appointment in MOR to review with a Peer Coach or your Career Coach.
By Erin Wike, BBA Career Services Career Coach & Lecturer