LinkedIn is a professional networking site where you can build your online brand, research careers and companies, identify and connect with potential networking contacts, search for jobs and much more. We've found that many students know they "should" be using LinkedIn, but aren't quite sure how.
Here are tips to maximize the tool for a variety of career goals.
Build Your Online Brand
In today's digital age, a resume goes hand-in-hand with a LinkedIn profile. Employers, networking contacts, former co-workers and others are looking for you online. Make sure what they find is what you want them to find by building a strong LinkedIn profile. It appears high up in Google search results and offers a more detailed overview of your professional experience than a standard resume.
There are many sections you can add to your profile, but at a minimum, you should include:
- An appropriate photo
- A professional summary of who you are and why you're on LinkedIn. Check out the Introduction Guide for help.
- A listing of your past experiences with detailed descriptions (they can be paid, unpaid, volunteer and more)
- Brandeis University in your "Education" section with your major (if declared)
Just by looking at the profiles of professionals in your fields of interest, you can learn about their career trajectory, where they've worked, what skills they've built, what people with different majors go on to do, how they talk about themselves and their accomplishments, what groups they belong to, and more! This can give you inspiration for your own career search, help you round out your profile by mirroring what others have listed and even prepare you for an interview by getting the inside scoop on the hiring manager.
Company pages are another great research tool whether you're actively searching and applying for jobs or internships — or just exploring the possibilities. By visiting a company's page on LinkedIn, you can find out news and updates about the company, current job openings, current employees and how you're connected — and even similar companies that might not be on your radar yet.
Build Your Network
LinkedIn is a great tool to help you expand your professional network. If you're just getting started, reach out to the people you already know first. Classmates, current and former co-workers, professors and even family members make a great foundation for you to build upon.
Once you've found someone you want to connect with, keep in mind these tips:
- See if you have a connection in common. If you do, send a message to the mutual connection to ask for an introduction.
- See if you have a group in common. If you do, find them in the members list to send a message.
- If you don't have a group or connection in common, invite them to connect. Always "add a note" to say — in 300 characters or less — why you're reaching out to them in particular.
You'll likely receive invitations to connect in return. LinkedIn strongly recommends that you only accept invitations to connect from people you know. Remember that you have the option to accept, reply, ignore or report requests as spam.
Find and Connect with Brandeis AlumniBrandeis has a number of LinkedIn groups to bring students and alumni together for general networking or around a common interest. Join the groups that make the most sense for you like: Athletes — Past and Present, Waltham Group Alumni, Wien International Scholars & Wien Alumni, and more.
The LinkedIn Student Center has excellent resources and tutorials to build, grow and manage your account.
Make an appointment to talk with a Hiatt career counselor about how to use LinkedIn to achieve your own career goals.