Monday, October 1, 2012

Building Your Professional Network Using LinkedIn

If you have not yet taken advantage of all the features of LinkedIn, you may be wondering what the benefits are. While there are many benefits to LinkedIn, I want to highlight three distinct features: Contacts, Groups, and Companies.  LinkedIn offers you the ability to manage your online professional profile while connecting with colleagues, classmates, professors, community members, and employers. These Contacts are great resources for learning more about fields of study, industries, or job responsibilities. Many students utilize these connections when they want to conduct information interviews or learn more about certain industries or employers.

In addition to connecting with people, I highly recommend that students join Groups that are relevant to their career path or interests. To find appropriate groups, simply use the search feature to locate national, regional, and local groups of interest. Depending on how a group is structured, you may have to be granted acceptance before you can participate in the group. Be sure to read the description of the group before you select “join group” to ensure the purpose of the group aligns with your needs. Once you are a member of a group, you will have access to discussions, member information, jobs, and more!

The final feature I recommend to students is the Companies area. This is a great way to follow companies of interest. Locating specific companies is similar to finding groups – simply use the search feature in the companies section to see if an employer you are interested in has a LinkedIn page. To connect with a company, select “follow company.” Following companies ensures that you will receive their updates. Of course, one of best benefits to following companies is to learn about career opportunities.
For more tips and strategies on how to network on LinkedIn, click here.

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