I consistently encourage students to create a LinkedIn profile and use the site as a resource for networking and searching for jobs and internships. All too often students will tell me they do have a profile, but aren’t really sure how they should proactively take advantage of their network. In the past we have covered general information about LinkedIn, as well as featured the subgroups section of our University of Richmond Career Connections group, but now it’s time to take it to the next level. Once you have a profile and basic understanding of the site, how can you use it efficiently?
LinkedIn probably has a group for just about any career interest area out there. Joining a group can be beneficial for several reasons: you will be able to learn more about an area by seeing content posted by other members, keep up with current trends, learn about internships and jobs, and also the opportunity to meet other LinkedIn members in a similar career path. Most career areas have some type of national association, so that can be a good start for a general group to join. For example, the American Marketing Association has a group and even has groups for different geographic chapters of the organization. While you’re at it, don’t forget to join our University of Richmond Career Connections group.
Once you begin to login regularly and view the news and updates on your home page, you’ll begin to see how much great information is shared through LinkedIn. Articles, resources, and questions posed by your connections are a great way to learn more about specific industries as well as general career information. Don’t just sit back and watch, but contribute to the conversation! Share interesting articles on LinkedIn and include a thoughtful comment or question to engage your network. Your connections will appreciate it.
Get Introduced to New Connections
The power of LinkedIn lies in your second degree network. Every time that you make a new connection, your network grows because it provides you with access to that person’s connections. So when you’re looking to make contacts in a particular industry or geographic area you can use the search feature to enter criteria for you who you’re seeking and then get a list of LinkedIn members in your network.
If someone is your 1st degree connection you can of course directly send them a message. However, if someone is a 2nd degree connection, you can use the “Get Introduced” feature to have the contact you both have in common make an online introduction to the person of interest.
When you hover over the arrow next to “Send InMail” on their profile, you can select “Get Introduced”.
From there, you’ll be taken to a screen where you have the opportunity to select which of your connections you’d like to introduce you to the person of interest. It’s best to select a connection that you know well. Then, you will have the opportunity to send a message to your connection asking for the introduction.
This message should be clear, direct and short. Whenever you’re asking a favor of someone, it’s best to make it as easy as possible. Consider including a message that your contact can send as part of the introduction. For example:
I hope all is well. I would enjoy catching up sometime and hearing how everything has been going for you. As you know, I’m currently a senior at the University of Richmond and am beginning to start the job search process. At this point I’m interested in relocating to the New York City area and seeking an opportunity where I can put my writing and editing skills to use. After doing a search for UR alumni working in this area in the city, I found your connection Bree D. and find her experience really interesting. I would very much appreciate being able to talk to her about her career path.
If you would be comfortable introducing me to Bree, I’ve included a message below you can feel to forward directly to her. I hope to hear from you and that we can catch up soon!
I am currently a senior at the University of Richmond where I am an English and Journalism double major. As I embark on my job search I am interested in finding opportunities where I can use my strong writing and editing skills in the New York City area. A LinkedIn search pointed me in your direction and after seeing your past and current experiences I would enjoy the opportunity to get to learn more about your career path, the landscape of writing jobs in NYC, and any advice you may have for someone seeking a similar position.
If you would have the time and interest in connecting, I could coordinate a time for us to speak on the phone in the coming weeks. I am usually free Monday, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 2-5pm. Please let me know if something in this time range may work for you, if not I am happy to rearrange some things in order to find a common time. Also, if you’d prefer you can feel free to reply via email to Kristi.firstname.lastname@example.org.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Now that you have these tips, I have a challenge for you! Within the next week, find two groups that you can join on LinkedIn, look for an article or other appropriate content that you can share with your network, and find one new person to get “introduced” to using the steps above. Remember that LinkedIn can be an incredibly valuable resource if you are proactive with how you use the site.