Top 10 Tips from the Career Kickstart LinkedIn Workshop

LinkedIn Workshop

Kristina Bowman (front, left), Pam Cory (front, middle), and Alex Diaz (front, right) mentor students about how to use LinkedIn effectively.

Last week three Communication alumni returned to campus to mentor students on the ins and outs of LinkedIn. VP of Global Marketing at ProQuest Pam Cory (B.A., 1983), Product Marketing Specialist for Xbox Alex Diaz (B.A., 2012), and Communications Specialist at the UW Henry M. Jackson School Kristina Bowman (M.C., 2009) shared their wisdom – here are 10 of their top tips:

  1. Although you can use LinkedIn for personal uses (for instance, Pam said she used it to house swap when traveling to Europe), your LinkedIn profile should represent your professional side. Do not include your birthday, phone number, or address on your profile. Be sure to have a good professional photo, even if it is cropped from a larger one.
  2. If you decide to have a LinkedIn profile, you need to keep the information up to date. You can use the individual updates (similar to status’s on Facebook) to show that you are active on LinkedIn if you don’t have any informational changes. Share or post articles that align with your personal brand or professional interests.
  3. Use LinkedIn as a digital resume and as a tool to get recognized. Alex said, “A resume gets you in the room, but the interview gets you the job.” Once you can produce a great LinkedIn profile, use the interview to show soft skills that are hard to portray on paper.
  4. Endorsements don’t really mean anything, but recommendations can be good to have. Ask for recommendations from bosses and colleagues before you need them. Once they write it, read it for mistakes. It’s okay to ask them to fix spelling and grammatical errors because it looks bad for them too.
  5. Everything you write is searchable, so stuff your summary with keywords that SEO will pick up. You can use bullet points if you want, or stick with a paragraph format. Copy and paste your summary from Word because LinkedIn doesn’t have spell check.
  6. Use specific numbers when talking about your accomplishments. For instance, you increased the company’s Twitter followers by 55 percent or you managed five product launches.
  7. When you connect with someone on LinkedIn, go through all of their contacts – chances are you know several of them that you can connect to. Write a personal message when asking to connect that describes how you know them or a conversation you once had. Get your family members to create a profile – they can add to your network and find more contacts that you will know. There is always a way to connect with someone even if LinkedIn won’t let you – tweet at them, email them, or find someone that is their connection that can connect you.
  8. Take advantage of the privacy settings. If you are getting your profile ready to job search, turn off your activity broadcasts when cleaning it up and making many small changes. You can also change whether it tells people when you view their profile.
  9. Test scores aren’t that relevant when searching for a job in the Communication field. Display classes, volunteer work, projects, and awards on your profile to add focus to your studies and interests.
  10. The mobile app is not very useful; however you can use it to research people before meeting with them.