While I confess that I tend to check my Facebook page more often than my LinkedIn page, I’m happy to see that there have been some exciting changes for students who want to expand our networking opportunities. Earlier this month, LinkedIn revealed a new section to their layout just for students which allows us to mold our profiles to showcase our accomplishments in a more effective manner. Now, you can “Add Sections” based on various categories to enhance all of the unique opportunities that we have available to us. For example, you can now add information on various projects that you’re working on, an award that you received, organizations you’ve joined, publicize your test scores, and share your course loads for the whole world to see. You may find some more helpful than others, but there’s nothing like updating your profile with new information to remind you that yes, in fact you are making progress in your program!
Another helpful area in LinkedIn is actually still in the beta testing stage and is filed under “Skills &Expertise.” This area will allow you to add certain areas of specialization to your profile while also providing you with profiles to others considered experts in that skill set. This can be monumentally helpful when you’re looking to network in that niche area of research or when looking for someone to collaborate with on a project. More than that, you get to put your name among the list of experts in the field and get the buzz going on what you have to offer.
All these new toys are a blast to play with, but don’t forget about some of the basics of the LinkedIn. Keep your profile information up to date with all of your current information. Make sure your picture is professional. Explore the apps available so that you can sync your Twitter feed or blog posts. Don’t assume that just because you’re a student that you don’t need to use LinkedIn. Networking opportunities are around every corner, so take advantage! Make sure to join the groups based on your interest.
As with all the areas in the LinkedIn page, you can rearrange the various sections of your profile page to really highlight your accomplishments. Whether you’re in an active job hunt or just starting your grad program, you’ll be able to control the information put out there and in what order. Play around with the functionality and decide what may be best for you to emphasize, especially at different points of your academic career. And don’t forget to keep it up to date! Now that you can add projects and publications, be sure to keep your profile (and your resume) full of the most current information.
[Image by Flickr user smi23le and used under Creative Commons License]
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