What should an undergraduate know about LinkedIn?: Additional Thoughts
David’s earlier articles posted ON LINKEDIN about LinkedIn:
- For the novice: My earliest advice
- First Thoughts about LinkedIn Premium
- Making LinkedIn Work for ME
- Suggested Improvements in LinkedIn
- I continue to discover new LinkedIn features
Earlier David-in-Carroll-Land Blog pieces (with Carroll students):
Rapidly growing and expanding, LinkedIn is a social network for professional collaboration that facilitates connecting with classmates, faculty, and colleagues. Users create an online profile and can provide as much information about themselves as they see pertinent. To this profile, users can add “connections” to other individuals and build their online social network. LinkedIn creates a profile comprised of an individual’s professional history, education, and achievements. Similar to a resume but in an online format, this allows other individuals to review your professional endeavors. Through LinkedIn, users potentially are more able to find jobs, locate other individuals in their field of study, and discover business and volunteer opportunities.
Individuals are able to build their image in their professional field by constructing and maintaining professional relationships. Especially for college students looking for connections in the real world, LinkedIn is a valuable tool for individuals searching for internships or for positions in one’s desired career path or to make connections with other individuals who may give them advice or guidance for their future.
To create a LinkedIn profile, an individual can go to the LinkedIn website and create their profile with an email address and password. An individual is then prompted to insert information about themselves such as a brief autobiography, past education experience, and professional work history. Additionally, individuals can enter volunteer experiences or organizations they care about, organizations they are affiliated with, certifications they have received, and a listing of their personal skills. LinkedIn will then organize all of the information onto a profile page. The user can customize where each section of information will fall (e.g. either at the top of the profile or lower down). Other individuals can also endorse the skills you have listed on your profile. This feature is a quick way for connections to validate that the individual is well qualified in the skills they have listed.
One should make a concerted effort to complete as much of their profile as possible. This includes adding a professional profile picture of oneself and even, if one chooses, adding a cover photo that will be displayed behind the profile. LinkedIn provides multiple sections of personal information that allow individuals to demonstrate and expand on who they are. Some of these sections are education, contact information, professional industry, volunteer experiences, and certifications. Completing all the LinkedIn sections both allows one to keep track of their experiences and accomplishments in their life and also helps showcase these talents and skills to other individuals. But remember, do not just throw down quick information to complete each section. Instead, think strategically about word choice and the way you want to communicate your information to others.
Once the profile is up and running, it is time to make connections. By adding connections with other individuals, others will be able to see and explore your profile. What kinds of connections should you make? Some individuals add anyone to increase their connection numbers. Others prefer to make connections only with individuals whom they personally know. The answer is really what you plan to do with these connections. If one simply has hundreds of connections but does not take advantage of what these connections could offer, it defeats the purpose. Connections help individuals stay in contact with old classmates, colleagues or friends, make professional connections for future jobs, receive advice from others in their field of study, explore connections of friends, and share information among groups. With the email address used to create a LinkedIn profile, LinkedIn will automatically suggest connections to individuals in your email list who have a LinkedIn account with that email. One can also look for connections by searching for their name, a company name, a specific industry, or a school name to make further connections. There are so many benefits that LinkedIn provides, but it is up to the individual to leverage how best to take advantage of these features.
LinkedIn also allows individuals to create a custom URL to their profile. The URL that comes with a profile is normally a group of random letters and numbers. In just a couple minutes, one can create a custom URL, such as their name. If the name is already taken, one can try to add a middle initial or add their middle name completely.
One way to get involved in LinkedIn is through groups. Individuals can join professional groups which share information, share advice among members, and post or search for jobs. Groups allow individuals to communicate between one another and to expand their knowledge. It is a great way to meet new individuals and make new connections. Anyone with a LinkedIn profile can create a group that can be customized to the topic they are interested in.
LinkedIn provides a free service but it also has an option for individuals to pay for more features. For college students, the free version of LinkedIn is a great way to put together an online resume but also get a start in exploring the professional world for after graduation.
What are your personal experiences with LinkedIn?
I have been investing some time (and money) exploring different WordPress “themes” (visual layouts), playing with a new video camera that promises better screencast quality on YouTube and Vimeo, and investigating some of the additional features available to LinkedIn users who pay for a premium account. In addition to my students writing a WordPress blog piece about LinkedIn which can be found here, I explored the LinkedIn platform blogging capabilities and published two pieces there: this piece—and a second one. My thanks to the numerous LinkedIn “connections” who viewed the posts (especially to Carroll alumnus Steve Thomas) for giving us “LinkedIn novices” some helpful guidance!
Here is a screencast of some of my (mis)adventures exploring the paid-for premium versus free versions of LinkedIn:
And here are are some additional LinkedIn resources I have found useful in getting a better understanding of how LinkedIn could serve the needs of my students and my interests:
- LinkedIn Help Center
- LinkedIn The Beginner’s Guide
- Getting Started With Linkedin Groups For Teachers
- The Complete Guide to LinkedIn Etiquette
Since I just finished introducing my students to LinkedIn, I thought that I should revisit its “InLearning” resource (formerly Lynda.com) to investigate what l might learn there. I was underwhelmed.
The screen cast below (7 minutes) documents my discoveries there.
Learning from this experience, I further documented needs for improvement of this resource in a LinkedIn article I wrote and posted last night.
Though Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn have different original purposes, they continue to become more like each other. Still, I find that I can use them to serve complementary purposes. In the screencast that follows I try to show those similarities and differences. This is a draft of thoughts for a future student/faculty book.
Here I use Camtasia3 Mac with Iglasses and a Yeti mike. I am almost ready for a comparison of Camtasia, Screenflow, and Capto.
I am delighted that I shall have a 2nd talented student joining my research assistant team in the Fall. Kristen has already successfully stepped into the shoes of Tia and Lizzie who are abandoning me for a better deal — graduate school. I need to remind myself that Kristen is “only” a freshman since she handles responsibilities so conscientiously, responsibly, and capably.
Here are Kristen’s thoughts about LinkedIn:…
Being only a freshman in college, I am progressively expanding my knowledge on how to successfully use different platforms. Dr. Simpson recently introduced me to a site called LinkedIn. Although I have heard of this networking platform in the past, I previously had no use for it. However, as I start to enter into adulthood, we thought it would be wise to start my profile this year. Dr. Simpson assisted me in the creation of my profile by sending me a video series on this platform called Learning LinkedIn for Students created by Oliver Schinkten.
Throughout this video series, Schinkten goes step-by-step on how students can successfully obtain a professional profile. He gives nice examples for the viewers on certain information employers look for in these profiles. He also gives the viewer tips on how to stand out from other users. Although this information is useful, there is copious amounts of information that he suggests that seem to be too detailed. If one wants to use LinkedIn as a resume, they should keep it simple and organized. It can also be difficult, especially as a freshman, to add skills onto one’s profile. Maybe adding some examples on what senior high schooler/college freshman could have on their profile.
Overall, I thought this video series was a good starting point for students who want to start their job networking. Schinkten gives a nice overview of the website and gives clear directions on how to add, edit, and use this platform. Even though some of the information he suggests can be quite detailed, Schinkten does give a nice overview of the platform. Not only does he give clear directions on how to use the platform, but also in how a student can successfully use this professional site for seeking future jobs.
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