When it comes to career management tools, LinkedIn is one of the most effective resources for both new and experienced professionals. With your free LinkedIn account, you can:
- Connect with professionals, alumni and recruiters.
- Find jobs and internships.
- Research employers, industry leaders and potential career interests.
- Learn about industry trends, emerging issues and new technologies.
While LinkedIn is user-friendly and easy to use, there are some definite dos and don’ts that will help you maximize its effectiveness. Common LinkedIn mistakes include:
- Expecting recruiters / employers to find you; you need to be proactive and seek them out.
- Creating an echo-chamber by only connecting with people you know.
- Sending a generic / default invitation to connect rather than sending a personalized note.
- Being discouraged if you don’t get a response immediately.
- Only reaching out to recruiters at large companies.
- Being intimidated or thinking you’re imposing; LinkedIn is intended for networking!
Getting Started with LinkedIn
Create Your Profile
Your LinkedIn profile needs to be complete, professional and up-to-date. Below are the most commonly used sections.
- Include a professional-looking picture of yourself.
- Profiles with photos are 14x more likely to be viewed.
- If you’d prefer not to include a headshot, you can opt for something NC State related (photo of the Belltower or NC State logo).
- You don’t need a professional photographer; your phone is fine.
- Include a brief overview statement of your current status:
- Recent Fashion/Textile Graduate Seeking Buyer Position
- Seeking Textile Engineering Internship
- Textile Professional with 5 years Manufacturing Experience
- Open To Work
- Similar to the Objective/Summary section on a resume, you can include an overview about what you’ve done and what you’re seeking/offering.
- Problem solving Wilson College of Textiles junior seeking internship working with non-woven materials. My past experiences include product testing, manufacturing, and six sigma training.
- My professional interests lie in Visual Merchandising. I enjoy demonstrating originality, creativity and inventiveness while building collaborative relationships exceeding expectations on a daily basis.
- You can use the same information that’s on your resume.
- However, unlike your resume, you are not bound by space limitations on LinkedIn. So you can be more detailed and include more information here to help tell your story.
Make sure you list your degree, major and concentration correctly.
- You may elect to also include some of the following optional sections:
- Open to
- Licenses and certifications
- Some people also choose to include a PDF of their resumes
Growing Your Profile
Once you have your profile set, it’s time to start looking around. You can begin following companies, people, groups and professional associations in your feed. This is where you can start adding your own content, comments, portfolios etc.
Growing Your Network
- Once your profile is complete, you are ready to start growing your network.
- Begin by connecting with people that you know: classmates, professors, professionals, past/current employers, relatives, friends, etc.
- Join the NC State University Alumni Group and the Wilson College of Textiles Group so you can begin researching/connecting with alumni.
- You can look people up any Wilson College alumni by location, degree, company and job title.
- For example, let’s say you want to know what it’s like to work in Manhattan. You can search the profiles and potentially connect with every FTD graduate from the last 5 years who lives in NY. You can see when they graduated, where they worked and what roles they’ve held. All you need to do is reach out!
- When reaching out to a new contact:
- Always include a personalized note introducing yourself and the reason for the connection.
- Avoid directly asking about job openings or leads too soon.
- Instead, ask for their insights or advice via an informational interview; this is more likely to garner a response.
- Stay in touch with new contacts and provide them with periodic updates about your status.
Searching for Jobs and Internships
LinkedIn is one of the best places to search for opportunities (in addition to resources like ePACK, Indeed and company websites). Like many job search sites, there are many filters to choose from to help target your search (location, level of experience, industry, etc.). You can also see which companies employ other NC State alumni, as well as set up automated search agents to email you about new postings.
Keys to Success
LinkedIn is a tool that becomes more useful the more it’s used. Spend time each week growing your network and establishing your LinkedIn footprint. It’s a fantastic tool that can pay huge dividends on your professional development. If you need any assistance using LinkedIn, please contact Director of Career Services Jeff Sackaroff.