On November 7, I served as a guest speaker in the professional development lecture series at Cheyney University of Pennsylvania.
As an alumna, I was very pleased to have been extended an invitation to discuss the benefits of LinkedIn with the young minds at Cheyney and thank Rev. Elisha Morris of the University College program for inviting me to share my expertise with the campus community.
My one-hour “Using LinkedIn to Get Ahead” session identified the differences between the “big three” social media platforms i.e. Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, and suggested various techniques young professionals could utilize to promote a professional presence online.
The session focused on three main points: The Who, The What, and The Why. If you keep these three items in mind as you build your professional presence online, you should be able to utilize LinkedIn’s networking options better than your competition (i.e. other current college students looking for internships or entry-level positions) and increase the worth of your network without ever having to pay a dime.
Initially, I started my LinkedIn account as a means of networking with public relations and marketing professionals in the Philadelphia area. A junior in college, my goal was to hopefully meet someone who worked for a good PR firm and get tips on how to advance my young career. At first, I gave my profile little attention. I copied the information from my resume into fields and sent connection requests to every professional I could find online. Many accepted my uniform and often haphazard invitation–many more declined.
It wasn’t until I came to understand that that LinkedIn is a give-and-take environment that my network truly started to grow. My network grew from only being a few colleagues and communication professionals in Philadelphia, to become 500+ connections across the U.S. who interact with me in almost 50 different groups that cater to individuals interested in public relations, small business, marketing, and entrepreneurship.
All of my suggestions are based on my personal experiences, articles from respected websites, and the LinkedIn’s company blog (links are provided below and in my previous LinkedIn post). I’m writing this blog post to not only share the PowerPoint presentation from my session at Cheyney, so undergraduate students that missed the live session can still benefit from the material, but to also share this information with any young professional who is currently in college, has recently graduated, or is in the transitional stage of their career and is interested in using LinkedIn to network with influential professionals in their industry.
If you read my previous post on how to make your LinkedIn account “recruiter-friendly,” the following presentation and YouTube video should build upon the knowledge you gained by offering additional statistics and tips for standing out on LinkedIn.