Networking Goes Digital: 4 Smart Steps Towards Success You Can Take Today
Theresa Navarra, Bryant University ‘12
Content Marketing Specialist at Swipely
Networking. If you’re a college student – especially one at Bryant University – it probably seems as if you cannot get through a day without hearing someone reiterate the importance of networking to you.
And here I am to tell you that again… but with a twist. Take your networking online.
Consider this: Networking is still the best way to find a job. Countless surveys have been conducted and while there are job boards, advertisements, and even professional job search agencies, networking consistently reigns supreme – with upwards of 50% of people noting that they’ve landed a job through their network of contacts.
So how can you get on your networking game? Consider all of your options. Including LinkedIn.
LinkedIn & Facebook: They Are Not Equal
You’ll be surprised to learn that a LinkedIn profile, done right, can be your ticket in the door for many jobs.
Oftentimes, when you apply for a job, whoever is in charge of vetting resumes will look at your LinkedIn profile. In fact, that number is as high as 85% for hiring managers.
- Mutual connections can reveal how you work in a group
- Public endorsements can answer questions about your work ethic and personality that your resume can’t display
- A professional portfolio lets someone learn more about you before talking with you
But before you jump on LinkedIn, you need to know something: LinkedIn is not Facebook.
So how can you leverage the network? Start with building a stellar profile.
4 Steps To LinkedIn Success
- Make Yourself Easy To Find: Your photo and headline are going to be the first thing most people see on LinkedIn. Take some time to come up with something creative and appealing.
- You’re More Than Your Resume: When you craft your resume, you need to be brief and to the point. On LinkedIn, people can find you based on the descriptions you give to your jobs and professional experience. Take some time to think about how you want to be thought of and enhance your descriptions with some action-oriented industry terms.
- Results Trump Fluff: Oftentimes, we are so busy trying to describe what we do that we forget what the results of our experiences were. Since LinkedIn is a professional network, you can assume that the people connecting with and searching for you already know what your job title means. Here’s what they don’t know: how you achieved results. Showcase not just what you did, but how you did it better than everyone else. You didn’t write for a blog, you increased blog traffic by 90% with your strategy.
- Be Strategic: Once you’re happy with your profile, it’s time to connect with people that will be good connections. Alumni in your desired field is a no- brainer, but what about all of those other interns you worked with last summer? Sure they may not be able to help you find a job today, but who knows what they’ll be doing in 2 years.
Do This, Don’t Do That: LinkedIn Do’s & Don’t’s
Once you’re on LinkedIn, here’s your quick punch list of do’s and don’ts:
DO: Join groups that you believe exemplify the type of content and knowledge needed in your career path (e.g. Join SEO Marketing if you’re in Marketing).
DO: Get recommendations from past employers and co-workers.
DO: Use LinkedIn to search and apply for jobs via the website. LinkedIn can be a great resource for job titles and positions relevant to your skills.
DON’T: Add every single job you’ve ever had, especially if it can’t relate back to your desired career path.
DON’T: Connect with people you have no relevant connection with and send them a message immediately.
But don’t take it from just me, I asked Alaina Restivo, Director of Talent at Swipely, what some of the most bizarre things she’s seen are (read: things that won’t help you get the job) when it comes to searching for talented candidates for Swipely.
Here are her top 3:
- Job titles that are made up or inaccurate reflections of the candidate
- Profile photos that are not professional (e.g. someone at a club, or a “selfie”)
- Candidates that use buzzwords that they do not understand or cannot back up with experience.
Since graduating from Bryant, I have been living and working in Rhode Island. How did I find my first job? LinkedIn. But more interesting than that was how I ended up at Swipely. A post on LinkedIn from former co-workers, who were already reaching out inside the company to refer me, and they were sharing what? My LinkedIn profile.
Don’t forget, Bryant loves Bryant. Connect with me if we have shared interests and let’s network!