This is a guest blog from our NEWEST University of Georgia Intern Queen Campus Ambassador, Katie.
As a senior in college, I am constantly stressing about finding a job upon graduation. To alleviate some of this anxiety, I am taking two classes at my college to get ahead in the job search (Career and Life Planning for Seniors and Intro to Interviewing). To my surprise, very few people in these classes have LinkedIn accounts. As a senior, I strongly encourage those of you in college or just entering college to set up a LinkedIn account, and personally brand yourself online. You will be a step ahead of the average college student, and it is important to begin building these professional connections early! Get involved, keep track of your contacts, and get connected online. Here are three easy tips to do just that through LinkedIn:
1) Create a Vanity URL: Every LinkedIn profile has a default URL that usually consists of ugly and confusing codes and numbers. To really set yourself apart, claim your LinkedIn vanity profile and feature it in your resume, blog, or business card. To do this, simply choose to edit your public profile on your main page. You will see an editing screen where you can attempt different combinations of your first and last name. For example, my LinkedIn vanity URL is http://www.linkedin.com/in/katieotto.
2) Share an update once a week: LinkedIn has hopped on board with other social media sites and has added a “share an update” section where users can share real-time information with their followers. I recommend posting an update at least once a week to keep your LinkedIn profile relevant and interesting. It would also be beneficial to post things that might interest your potential employers. For example, you could share a recent blog post you have written, or a news article that is relevant to your professional field of interest.
3) Ask for recommendations: Do not be scared to ask people to recommend you for the work you have done. While an employer loves to see all of the great things you have outlined in your resume, there is something powerful about seeing a personal message from an employer, a fellow employee, a teacher, or a classmate. I would recommend targeting specific people from each area of your resume rather than sending a bulk e-mail out asking for recommendations. To do this, go to your profile tab and select “ask for recommendations” in the upper right corner. I also recommend creating a personal message when asking for endorsements.
As a college senior, I wish that I had begun this process of personal branding on LinkedIn sooner. That is why I’m here to tell you to get connected! It is so important to build your professional network early. To do this, I encourage you to get involved in things you enjoy, keep track of your contacts, and personally brand yourself on LinkedIn.