Today I will give you 10 ideas on how to brand yourself as an expert on LinkedIn, a professional networking site. From these ideas, I hope you glean at least 3 you can use. And I will explain why only 3 in a minute. You may be more familiar and comfortable with social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace, but as you begin to think ahead to building your career networks, this less glitzy, more straightforward LinkedIn site can help position you as a thought leader in your industry. A thought leader is someone who can think critically and thoughtfully about the trends affecting their industry. As a student at Stout, you already may be practicing your role as a thought leader when you discuss class assignments in courses related to your major. Use this to your advantage, and let potential employers know that, as a thought leader, you may be the uniquely qualified candidate they are looking for.
This is where you want employers to find you. Not Facebook. Not MySpace. LinkedIn gives you a professional presence online. It is a place to put your resume online. And a place for much more. That is what I will share with you today. How can you customize LinkedIn to put your best face forward. And that is what you want—to make a positive impression. And that’s where LinkedIn is especially beneficial. A wonderful benefit of LinkedIn is its public access. If you make the first paper cut in a stack of resumes and an employer Googles you looking for dirt, that will employer will find gold if you have a LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn ranks high in search engine results.
For instance, when I type my name into Google, my LinkedIn profile is not only on the first page of results, it is the second hit. You can rank this high too. Create a LinkedIn profile and test it.
LinkedIn is boring, you say. And, you’re right. Compared to Facebook and MySpace, LinkedIn is very conservative and mainstream. But you can spice it up a bit. Although LinkedIn does not provide fun, creative applications like Facebook does, your LinkedIn profile can link to other strategically created social media sites that will enhance the innovative, and “uniquely you” nature of your profile. LinkedIn provides a place where you can list three clickable Web sites. This is where you can stand out from the LinkedIn crowd and give viewers of your text-based resume some multimedia options.
You will place these clickable links in the Web site area under the Additional Information tab. And since LinkedIn gives you only three spots that is why I urge you in the title to choose 3.
But you’re worried. You don’t think you have three sites to link to? Think again. Yes, you do. Before we are done today, you will have a harder time narrowing down your options to 3 than building up to 3.
In no particular order, here we go. Start a career-related blog. Focus it on your chosen industry. Post at least once a week, if possible. If it is your blog, link to the main site. If you are a contributor on a blog and your posts are tagged with your name, link to all of your posts through your tag or category. If your posts are not tagged with your name, link to your favorite posting. Two popular blogging software are blogger and wordpress. I’ve used both. There are many more options out there. Use what you are comfortable with.
If you want to start a blog, but don’t know what to blog about, consider blogging about your homework and class activities in courses related to your major. Take the the popular Twitter question, “what are you doing” and turn it into “what are you learning.” Employers may be interested in your discussions. They also may be interested to learn about your thoughts on current industry trends, or books and articles you draw inspiration from. And here’s a thought: If you have one employer in mind that you know you want to work for, consider blogging about how that company positively influences the industry. A common bit of advice is to research the company you interview with; what better research is there than to have to regularly blog about a company’s activities. Since online content is conversational in tone, I do have one important bit of advice. Beware the F words. Funny vs. Friendly. Funny is bad. Friendly is good. Funny to one person may be unfunny to everyone else. Aim for a friendly tone. You have a better chance of hitting the right tone that will impress a potential employer. So choose your F words carefully. You want to make a good impression.
Do you find yourself printing out or bookmarking articles for class that give you career inspiration? Why not share those light-bulb triggering moments with others? Create a profile at the social media site, Digg, and submit interesting career and industry-related news, video and images to your profile. If you find it of value, so will others. Especially potential employers researching you.
Your classroom assignments, especially those in your academic major, can be a source for appropriate articles. You may also read through other popular articles at Digg.com, and follow profiles you like. For instance, I follow social media marketing articles at my Digg profile, and I have 3 fans following my postings. You never know when you might catch the eye of potential employer. You also can set up Google Alerts on industry terms that you are particularly interested in. These alerts will arrive in your inbox notifying you of stories out there in the news. Your LinkedIn home page also will post articles related to the industry field you say you belong in.
In addition to news articles, let others know what books you are reading. Sharing your reading list at a site like LibraryThing can help you establish yourself as someone interested and engaged in your industry and in your own professional development—two indicators of a great employee. Don’t be afraid to list your own textbooks and assigned readings. That is a great way to get started listing industry-related books.
Tape yourself giving a walk through of a work-related task that is one of your specialties. Explain each step of the process, emphasizing why your approach is advantageous. Or if you have to give a classroom presentation, tape it and post an excerpt of it online. Keep it short. Maybe 2 to 3 minutes. The point is: Don’t just tell potential employers your skills in a traditional bulleted-list resume. Show them. On YouTube.
This is similar to the YouTube idea, it’s just using Flicker or another photo hosting site. Again, the focus should be on photos that can relate to your career choice. Think classroom, lab, internship. Or work that you actually produce, such as art or packaging. Whenever possible, aim for action shots and close up shots for bigger impact. Staged shots look, well, staged. And cheesy. Use your pictures to tell your story. You can link to your photos in Flickr, or even create a slideshow using online tools such as Slideroll or Slideshare.
Some industries require a portfolio of work. If you fall into one of these industries, your professors usually can tell you the best way to build these portfolios online, whether they be Web sites, blogs, or other online software. Find out what works best in your industry and use it. Then link to it.
The Office of University Communications at UW-Stout is always looking for way to highlight students to put a human face on our institution. That face might as well be yours. If you think you have something newsworthy to share, please let us know. Our email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Our student stories in the past have covered topics related to class activities, volunteer work, interesting internships or study abroad opportunities, industry recognition and awards, and even unusual (or at least eye-catching) hobbies—such as a tightrope walker. So contact us with your ideas, and we’ll let you know whether we think the media would be interested. If so, we’ll write a press release and post it online. You can link to this. Better yet, some media place stories online, too. These are especially nice to link to (but check the link often to make sure it still works). UW-Stout’s link should always work. That’s a safe one to link to.
Consider writing your own article. There are opportunities to publish right here on campus and in the local area. Your hometown newspaper might be interested in having you as a special contributor for an article or series of articles. For instance, a Stout student approached the Dunn County News about writing a series of articles about her community-service trip to Louisiana with the UW-Stout chapter of Habitat for Humanity. They agreed. She wrote three articles, all with her byline, and all posted online for her to link to. This volunteer activity may or may not have been related to her major, but I’m sure it will impress a future employer nonetheless. If you are able to have an article published, but it does not include an online link to it; you create one. Make sure you retain your rights to the article, and post it on your blog or Web site or online portfolio. Be sure to use a phrase such as “as published in …” so employers know that was published in a third-party medium, which makes it even more credible.
I used the Woo Hoo phrase in this title, because this idea might actually earn you money. The site uses advertising on the side of your lens (their word for Web page), and if a sale results from someone being on your site, they share 50 percent of the sale with you. And it costs you nothing to build your site. Not bad, right? Sounds good, but what are you an expert on, you wonder? Probably a lot. Here’s a link to 49 ideas. Possible topics include: Asking others to contribute personal and job recommendations Listing your goals in life. Listing people who have inspired you and why. Favorite quotes. Favorite books. The list goes on.
And I’ve saved the best for last. If you can think of an expert topic for Squidoo, then share it with us, too. Stout is launching a student and alumni experts list where you can submit pearls of wisdom, expert advice and numbered lists on topics of your choosing (and that we approve). This can be a site that links all your other sites together. So if you’re having trouble narrowing down these ideas to 3, then let this be one of them, and we will link to the rest of your ideas for you. We will link you, and we just ask that you link back to us—to your expert entry. So we both benefit from the added exposure. Right now I’m the only entry out there, just as an example, because I’m neither an alum nor a student. So, someone quick, bump me off the island!
So there you have it. That’s my top 10 list of ideas of how you can better brand yourself on LinkedIn. And here’s a handy cheat sheet for future reference and for further brainstorming.
If you need additional help selecting three of these ideas, here are some tips. Use job ads in your field as a guideline for what employers are looking for. Which of these ideas fits in with what potential employers want? What are you already doing? What would you be comfortable doing? If writing a blog is too time consuming, but already are posting on YouTube and Flickr, then maybe you choose these ideas. And, yes, you can choose more than 3, but LinkedIn only provides space for 3 clickable links. If you want to post a fourth URL to your online portfolio under Summary or Work Experience, go ahead. If an employer is interested in you, he or she might just cut and paste that into their browser. J Just save your strongest URLs for the clickable Website section.
I want to wrap up with just a few bonus tips for LinkedIn users. Choose the personalized URL option so that your name appears in your public profile LinkedIn address. Fill out all sections, including the summary, the education section (including student organizations you are involved in), and your interests and awards. Keep it up to date as you go through your education and career. Use the recommendations feature. Whether giving or receiving recommendations, you benefit. Your recommendations will appear on other profiles, which will link back to your profile. And, of course, others recommending you is a big plus. Post and answer questions in the Answers section when you can. This feature can help brand you as an expert. Finally, see the Extreme LinkedIn Profile Makeover blog entry. LinkedIn worked with a man named Guy Kawasaki to demonstrate the best practices of LinkedIn profiles. It’s worth a look for more ideas.
Here is a final cheat sheet of links I mentioned in my presentation. Again, I hope these ideas spark even more ideas for you as you begin your career networking and job searching.
Good luck to you. I wish you much success. Are there any questions?
Linkedin For College Students 1231796241736557 1
LinkedIn For College (University) Students: 10 Things You Can Do to Brand Yourself as an Expert (Choose 3) Presented by Laura Short University Relations Specialist [email_address] (715) 232-2384
Why LinkedIn? <ul><li>It gives you a professional presence online—your resume, and more. </li></ul><ul><li>Publicly viewable so employers and clients can find you. </li></ul><ul><li>Ranks high in search engine results. </li></ul>
LinkedIn is Boring. Yes, but… <ul><li>LinkedIn provides a place where you can list three clickable Web sites. </li></ul><ul><li>Use these three opportunities to link to other social media sites that help you put your best face forward. </li></ul>
Web site options found under Additional Information tab
Don’t think you have three sites to link to? <ul><li>Yes, you do. </li></ul>
1. Blog your work. Work your blog. <ul><li>Link to a career-related blog that you write or contribute to. </li></ul><ul><li>If you are a contributor, link to your personal tag or category, or to your favorite posting. </li></ul><ul><li>Popular blogging software </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Blogger.com </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Wordpress.com </li></ul></ul>
What do you blog about? <ul><li>Your homework and class assignments, i.e., what did you learn today? </li></ul><ul><li>Your thoughts on current trends in your industry. </li></ul><ul><li>Your thoughts on popular books or articles that you can draw inspiration from. </li></ul>
2. Digg for gold. <ul><li>Create a profile at Digg.com. </li></ul><ul><li>Digg articles that you feel are important to your chosen profession. </li></ul><ul><li>Link to your Digg profile at LinkedIn. </li></ul>
How do you find the right articles? <ul><li>From class assignments. </li></ul><ul><li>Read through other popular articles at Digg, and follow profiles that you like. </li></ul><ul><li>Set up Google Alerts on industry terms that you are interested in following. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>news.google.com </li></ul></ul>
3. Shelve your books at LibraryThing. <ul><li>Create a profile at LibraryThing.com. </li></ul><ul><li>List there the books that you’ve read that you feel are important to your profession. </li></ul>
4. Star in your own YouTube video. <ul><li>Have a friend videotape you as you demo a task you know and do well. </li></ul><ul><li>Walk and talk your resume. Demonstrate your speaking skills as well as your knowledge and talents. </li></ul><ul><li>Upload the video to YouTube and link to it from LinkedIn. </li></ul>
5. A picture is worth a 1,000 (resume) words. <ul><li>Have friends take your photo in work-related settings: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Classroom / Lab </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Internship / co-op / practicum / other work </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Industry field trip </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Or, of your handiwork (art, packaging, etc.) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Upload to Flickr, or create an online side show using Slideroll or Slideshare. </li></ul><ul><li>Link to your story at LinkedIn. </li></ul>
6. Make your portfolio portable…online. <ul><li>Some industries require a portfolio of work, i.e., art, design, education, others </li></ul><ul><li>Create an online portfolio that you can link to from your LinkedIn profile. </li></ul><ul><li>Let your work be your calling card. </li></ul>
7. Be a news maker. <ul><li>Let [email_address] know what you are doing: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Class activities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Volunteer and community activities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Interesting jobs, internships, co-ops, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>We can put your story online ( http://www2.uwstout.edu/news/ ) and possibly in the media. </li></ul>
8. Become a published author. <ul><li>Write an article for </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Stoutonia </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Journal of Student Research </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hometown newspaper </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Volume One </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Industry trade journal </li></ul></ul><ul><li>If you get a byline, link to it. </li></ul><ul><li>If it’s not online, you publish it online, i.e., your blog, online portfolio. </li></ul>
9. Woo hoo, do you Squidoo? <ul><li>This social networking site is billed as the place for experts. And we’re all experts at something. </li></ul><ul><li>You build and maintain one page about one topic…and you might earn $. </li></ul><ul><li>Here’s a link to 49 possible topics: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>http://www.squidoo.com/lensbrainstorm </li></ul></ul>
10. Become a UW-Stout expert. <ul><li>Join the student and alumni experts list at http://www.uwstoutalumni.blogspot.com/ </li></ul><ul><li>Submit pearls of wisdom, expert advice and numbered lists. </li></ul><ul><li>We will link to your Web site, blog, YouTube videos, online portfolio, book information, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Just link back to us at LinkedIn. </li></ul>
Cheat Sheet: Top 10 ideas <ul><li>Blog </li></ul><ul><li>Digg </li></ul><ul><li>LibraryThing </li></ul><ul><li>YouTube </li></ul><ul><li>Flickr / Slideroll / Slideshare </li></ul><ul><li>Online portfolio </li></ul><ul><li>Article in which you are featured </li></ul><ul><li>Article you wrote </li></ul><ul><li>Squidoo </li></ul><ul><li>Stout Experts List </li></ul>
Which 3 do you choose? <ul><li>Read job ads for inspiration. How do these ideas fit in with what your potential employers want? </li></ul><ul><li>What are you most comfortable doing? What are you doing already? </li></ul><ul><li>You can choose more than 3; but only 3 will be clickable. Save your best for your clickable moments. </li></ul>
LinkedIn: Bonus Tips <ul><li>Choose the personalized URL option. </li></ul><ul><li>Fill out all sections as completely as possible and keep it up to date. </li></ul><ul><li>Write recommendations for others where appropriate. Request others to write recommendations for you. </li></ul><ul><li>Post and answer Q’s in the Answers section to position you as an expert. </li></ul><ul><li>See the Extreme LinkedIn Profile Makeover at http://blog.guykawasaki.com/2007/01/linkedin_profil.html </li></ul>