The Benefits of LinkedIn
LinkedIn provides numerous tools, for students and post-graduate professionals, enabling them to market themselves, connect to other professionals and their industries, discover jobs and internships, and much more. It is best to maintain in active role in your professional networks, and LinkedIn makes it much simpler to do so.
Extend your Network
LinkedIn is a powerful tool for maximizing the reach of your personal network - connecting with fellow students, W&M alumni, and employers is a great way to get your name out there! Use your profile to let them know about your skills, accomplishments, and what kind of opportunities you are looking for. Making these connections is key to finding jobs that aren't listed online.
Enhance your Resume
It can be helpful to browse through the profiles of W&M Alumni on LinkedIn. You can identify relevant skills, qualities, and experiences to highlight in your own resume, cover letter, and online profiles. Learning what traits employers are looking for in a given industry is the first step towards making yourself a more desirable candidate.
Setting up your LinkedIn profile can seem daunting at first, but it is not so difficult. We recommend that you start by looking over the LinkedIn Profile checklist, which provides a brief and straightforward look at each of the sections of your profile. Additionally, there is plenty of helpful information on LinkedIn University.
Getting the Most Out of LinkedIn
A well-made profile goes a long way on LinkedIn, but there is so much more to get out of your LinkedIn experience. The site provides a number of tools to help you maximize your networking potential. Join groups that are connected to the fields you are interested in, or that involve what you are passionate about. Search for alumni who are in relevant fields, connect with them to expand your network, and potentially gain access to rare opportunities. You can even directly search for jobs and internships! Below, we detail how to use these tools.
Access Alumni through LinkedIn
- Create a free LinkedIn account.
- Complete your profile.*
- Once logged in, put "William & Mary" in the search box.
- On the left of the resulting page, filter by "Groups".
- Click the "Join" button on the groups you'd like to join -- especially the larger ones.
- Once you've joined a group, you can search the "Members" tab to find the people you want to talk to.
- Roll your cursor over the list of members and you'll see a link that allows you to send a message directly to the alum requesting a 20-minute conversation (informational interview).
- Personalize that message! Explain who you are and why you want to talk to him or her specifically.
- Don't send a connection request to someone you don't know. Ask for that conversation first, then send a "thank-you" message and then ask him/her to connect to you.
- Once that person accepts your connection request, he or she will be a first degree connection to you, and all of his or her connections will become second-degree connections to you.
*You don't have to complete your LinkedIn profile before contacting an alum in Tribe Connections -- however, people are more likely to respond to you if they can see who you are. Leaving an incomplete profile up gives people the impression that you are disorganized or lazy.
Job and Internship Searching
- Research the industries you are interested in. Join Groups that are related to these industries, view the LinkedIn Today news dashboard and Influencer posts for daily headlines, and follow industry-specific Channels.
- Write a strong headline to help you get noticed. It should be concise but descriptive. For example: "William & Mary honors student & aspiring financial analyst".
- Include key words throughout your profile. Recruiters search LinkedIn for candidates, and you should use the key words and phrases that they use. You can find these by looking through job descriptions in which you are interested, or in the profiles of people who have the jobs you want. In particular, put these in the Summary and Skills & Expertise sections of your profile.
- Take advantage of the profile sections designed specifically for students. These include Courses, Projects, Languages, Certifications, amd Organizations. Fill out as many of these as you can, and be sure to include key words. Complete profiles get 40 times more opportunities than incomplete profiles!