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LinkedIn: Not Just for Your Job Search

LinkedIn: Not Just for Your Job Search Header
I’m always curious about new ways to spread the digital leadership love, and this year brings a brand new way to connect technology and higher education: Facebook Live Video! 

January 30th marked the premiere of Dr. Josie Live, and I wanted to start with a topic that could benefit everyone from students to professionals. Inspiration hit as I was browsing through my LinkedIn feed, and I immediately started jotting down my top tips for using LinkedIn! If you missed the livestream, you can watch it here. I’ve also written out my checklist for LinkedIn success below!

Why LinkedIn?

Everyone is probably telling you to join LinkedIn, but you may be wondering if anything is actually happening on the platform. I may be a little biased since I was named a LinkedIn Top Voice in Education, but I love LinkedIn as a platform. But it wasn’t always this way.

If you’re already happy with where you’re at in your career, it can be tempting to brush off LinkedIn as unnecessary. The culture of work is changing though, and having a LinkedIn is no longer just a signal that you’re job searching. It’s a great way to connect with the folks who you’ve met at conferences and to find professional wisdom that you probably won’t find on your Facebook feed.

The first piece of advice most job searchers get when starting their career search is to build out their LinkedIn profile. Easy, right? Unfortunately, building a profile isn’t in the curriculum of most college classes. By the time students are seniors or need internships, they’ve got to throw something together and FAST. Employers are disappointed with what they find, and many job seekers don’t find value in the platform as a result.

There is good news! I’ve compiled a list of simple steps that you can use to get more value out of your LinkedIn. The best part is that these tips work no matter where you’re at in your career, whether you’re a student or a c-suite executive.

LinkedIn To-Do List

  • Sign up: This one may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how many people haven’t set one up yet. By not signing up, you’re missing out on a chance to connect with other industry professionals, recruiters, and potential job leads. According to Omnicore Agency, there are 500 million LinkedIn users, and 40% of those users are daily users. To put that into a broader perspective, 28% of all male internet users and 27% of all female internet users are on LinkedIn. Luckily, LinkedIn makes it easy to set up the initial profile and find connections.
    • One caveat to this: there’s an option to invite your entire contact list to connect with you. DO NOT select it! It comes across as spammy and will send an email to everyone on that list whether they have a LinkedIn or not.
  • Add a profile picture: The goal of your profile picture is to convey who you are, but professionally. There is zero chance I’ll accept a connection request from someone without a photo. It should be a picture where we can clearly see your face face with a clean, organized background. While you might look like a total boss in a full-body shot, it’s best to keep profile pictures from the shoulders up. Since looking professional is the goal, you want to avoid selfies; however, that doesn’t mean the picture has to be from a professional photo shoot. Grab a friend to take a quick snapshot of you!
  • Plug in content: One of the worst things that you can do on LinkedIn is leaving your profile blank or sparse. Your name and picture don’t tell your story the way that things like work experience, projects, and your summary do. If you’re stumped on formatting certain sections, take a look at other profiles that impress you. Don’t be afraid to be inspired by others for what works! Just don’t copy it word-for-word. 😉
  • Customize It: There are two main ways to really make your profile yours: organizing the sections on the page and editing the URL.
    • Sections: One easy way to customize your profile is to change the order of the sections. If you are trying to get a job and are currently finished or just finished education (bachelor’s – to doctorate) put that close to the top. Make it super easy for someone to see that you check whatever box they need to recruit you!
    • URL: The default URL when you set up your profile is a random string of numbers. Not exactly great for your personal branding! Be sure to update your profile’s URL to include your name. Here’s an example: www.linkedin.com/josieahlquist
  • Show & Tell: Some people keep their job descriptions minimalist, but that’s not the way to stand out. Every job, experience, and project should have text and a visual. Include photos, articles, videos, powerpoints and more! For a comprehensive guide to adding and organizing work samples to your profile, check out PC World’s guide here.
  • News Feed: LinkedIn isn’t just a home for your online resume. It’s also a great way to connect with your professional network, which is where the newsfeed comes into play. Post something every day for a week OR comment on something everyday. Don’t be afraid to ask a question. The LinkedIn newsfeed is becoming more and more like the FB or Twitter newsfeeds, and I’m finding people are digging it.
  • Create original content: One of the things I appreciate about LinkedIn is their blogging platform. Publishing your own long-form posts is a great way to show off your industry knowledge and perspective. Here’s a great list of tips for writing LinkedIn blog posts that expand your influence.
  • Photos: Most highly engaged social media posts have a visual attached to it, and LinkedIn is no exception! Go to a conference? Receive an award? Post it on LinkedIn! You can also use it to give exceptional students or your colleagues a shoutout. People love to be appreciated.
  • Next Level Video: Feel like you’ve got this whole LinkedIn thing down? LinkedIn video is one way to take your presence to the next level, whether it’s a quick talking head perspective or a full-on video resume. Here’s a list of five creative ways people are using LinkedIn’s video features.

People to Follow

Need a little inspiration? Check out this list of pros who are consistently putting out quality content and engaging genuinely on the platform. 

You are also welcome to find me on LinkedIn, either by adding me to follow or request to connect.
If you’re ready to connect with your campus, you’ll love this BRAND NEW resource that I’ve created called Get Connected: The Social Media Guide for Campus Leaders.

This guide shares the latest usage of young adults of social media and how campus leaders can genuinely connect with their campus community.
[button link=”https://www.josieahlquist.com//getconnectedguide/”]Request your free copy[/button]

About Josie

I’m Dr. Josie Ahlquist—a digital engagement and leadership consultant, researcher, educator, and author. I’m passionate about helping people and organizations find purposeful ways to connect, engage, and tell their unique story. I provide consulting, executive coaching, and training for campuses, companies, and organizations that want to learn how to humanize technology tools and build effective and authentic online communities.

My blog and podcast have been recognized by EdTech Magazine, Inside Higher Ed and the Chronicle of Higher Education. My book, Digital Leadership in Higher Education, was published in 2020 and was listed as a #1 new release for college and university student life. I have been growing my consultancy since 2013 and am based in Los Angeles. When I’m not helping clients lead online, you might find me training for a triathlon, spoiling my nieces and nephews, or exploring with my husband and our rescue dogs in our new RV called Lady Hawk.

I’d love to connect! Find me on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

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Rebekah Tilley

Assistant Vice President, University of Iowa Center for Advancement

Rebekah Tilley is the assistant vice president of communication and marketing for the University of Iowa Center for Advancement (UICA). In that role she supports fundraising and alumni engagement efforts for the university, including its CASE Gold winning Iowa Magazine, and serves UICA in a variety of strategic communication efforts.

Previously she was the director of strategic communication for the University of Iowa Tippie College of Business, and the director of communication for the University of Kentucky College of Law. She is a Kentucky native and a proud alum of the University of Kentucky.

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