LinkedIn is the electronic key to professional development and networking in today's competitive job market. LinkedIn is a professional networking service online which was founded with a mission to connect the world's professionals and make them more productive and successful. Besides acting as an electronic resume, Linkedin is also a platform for building and maintaining a professional network. Networking is essential to success in the Public Relations field, the career thrives on collaboration and teamwork. Although, networking face to face can sometimes be time consuming and restricting to the area in which you live. LinkIn allows opportunity for networking with professionals nationwide. In addition to networking LinkedIn also provides resources for career insight, job searching, publishing and more.
LinkedIn is a very useful tool, when used right. Unlike Facebook or Twitter, this platform can make or break your chance at professional development based on what you share and how you portray yourself. Professionalism is key to developing a promising LinkedIn account. Start with the profile picture. Your profile picture on LinkedIn should be just you, your goal is to sell yourself and employers may get confused with others in the picture. The picture is meant to be a reflection of how you would present yourself in a work setting, consider a professionally taken headshot. Remember that your profile photo can act as a first impression to employers.
Make sure to take advantage of the summary on your profile. Your experience may be noteworthy but without highlighting what you've gained and what makes you stand out it may limit the amount of timing an employer is willing to spend looking at your profile. Use the summary portion of your profile and explain what drives you, where you want to go, what your doing to make it happen and what makes YOU stand out.
Update your relevant skills periodically. As you expand your education and experience, you expand your knowledge and skills. The skills you put down when you created your LinkedIn profile have probably grown and your only hurting yourself if you don’t update them. Remember to ask your peers and friends to endorse them and return the favor, as it makes employers view you as more credible and might encourage them to spend more time on your profile. An entire resume and cover letter may seem like a time commitment to a busy employer but a few powerful words on a list of skills may just grab their attention.
Share your accomplishments and relevant coursework. A sparse LinkedIn profile can limit your potential, try to share some of your favorite projects or repost an interesting new story here and there. This will show employers you are staying current in the field of public relations in its ever changing landscape. Opinion and controversial topics are acceptable to share but make sure the way you vocalize your stance does not seem demonizing or unfactual.
Lastly, connect, connect, connect. You never know where a few connections may take you or what doors they may open. Connect with your peers, your professors, your coworkers your mentors, people you meet at networking events and more. Connections prove you are vocal, are not afraid to get out there and that your approachable. Don't be afraid to reach out to your connections for advice, recommendations or questions true professionals are always willing to help.
Of course there is always more to be updated, LinkedIn has endless options and opportunities for ways to make yourself stand out and show who you are as a professional. Always remember to update your profile and maintain a professional attitude. LinkedIn may just lead you to your dream job one day.