Entering the job market can sometimes feel like you’re rolling the dice. You send out applications to your top companies, follow up with emails and phone calls, and wait patiently hoping for an interview, and ultimately, the position you’ve been working towards. At a certain point, your future is out of your hands. But what if you could change that? What if you could increase your odds of success? With LinkedIn, you can. NC State students had the amazing opportunity to learn this first hand at the LinkedIn Workshop, hosted by the American Marketing Association. After last year’s record-breaking turnout, LinkedIn executive Rob Humphrey returned to Raleigh to teach the Wolfpack why LinkedIn is the winning lottery ticket in all of our pockets.
Unlike the lottery, there’s a lot you can do with LinkedIn to increase your odds of hitting the jackpot, or in this case, your dream job. “It’s the little things that make a huge difference” according to attendee Julia DiCenso. She’s right – building your profile can be a lot like picking the right numbers for your ticket; it’s a crucial step that can dramatically influence your outcome. To increase your chances of winning big, focus on these six areas:
We’ve all heard that first impressions matter, and on social networking sites like LinkedIn, that statement is especially true. In a world of fast scrolls and few clicks, you’ve got a short timeframe to make your mark. When one sentence can be the difference between a connection and a missed opportunity, you need to stand out, and the simple truth is “Student at …” does not. Instead, try highlighting your strongest qualities, like NC State student Yusuf Mahmoud, who’s a “Passionate leader that dreams big and has a growth mindset”. With a simple sentence, he’s made an impression that’s hard to forget. Your background is interesting, engaging and unique – write a headline to match.
Your profile picture.
Visuals play a key role in bringing traffic to your profile. A professional, high-quality headshot increases the chance that someone will view your profile by 18 percent. Those are odds worth playing.
Now that someone’s clicked on your profile, make sure they stay a while. Your summary should tell employers that you have the skills they’re looking for. Research what’s in demand and align these trends with your experience. Most importantly, connect your passions to the job market by linking your skills and aspirations to what companies will hire you to do.
You’ve been increasing your chances for success for years by investing in an education. Here’s where you make it shine. Feature a colorful image of your school on your profile to attract alumni and capitalize on campus nostalgia. Most importantly, always include your graduation date to let employers know when you’re ready to join their team.
Your skills are the most important tool you have. Increase their value with endorsements to let employers know that you can deliver on the skills they need most. Want to add to your skills? You’re in luck. NC State students have access to LinkedIn’s learning library, Lynda.com, in MyPack Portal. Pick a skill you want to learn, watch comprehensive videos, and strengthen your profile for free.
It’s the largest opportunity to differentiate yourself, and no one is doing it. Status updates, articles and photographs are all a great way to increase engagement and demonstrate your talents. You may even catch the eye of a recruiting officer or hiring company that appreciates your message.
Mahmoud applied these tactics for a live audience, and we watched as his lottery ticket grew in value. But are there ways you can reduce that value and hurt your odds of reaching your goals? Yes. There are simple mistakes that will bury your profile in the deck of names, like not having a picture or graduation date. Try not to get too focused on jobs either. Instead, follow 20 companies, some you admire and some that you’ve never heard of. Before you know it, the opportunities will stack up.
In just a few short steps, you’ve played the odds and propelled yourself closer to the career you want. Make sure to create connections, start conversations, publish often and connect with alumni to get an exclusive glimpse into your future as an NC State graduate. In my favorite segment of the night, Humphrey taught everyone in attendance to use the “Find Nearby” Bluetooth feature and connect with each other through the app. As NC State Students, we’re part of a passionate and wide-reaching network of professionals. We share experiences, memories and a love for the Red and White that spreads across the world. We’re each other’s greatest allies and assets when it comes to reaching our career goals. LinkedIn is there to connect members of the Wolfpack wherever we go.