You may wonder “why should I bother spending 2 hours making a LinkedIn profile?”
I had heard that LinkedIn is a stepping stone to building an online professional presence and I’d say that the 2 hour tutorial I watched to help build my profile were extremely well spent. I have so much more knowledge than, say, spending those 2 hours watching a movie, and I have now increased my chances of finding a job. An added bonus to following the course to completion is that I earned a certificate that I can proudly share on my newly created LinkedIn profile!
In order to kick start my career search I attended a workshop hosted by S.U.C.C.E.S.S. at SFU. In the workshop a mentor stressed the importance of having an online presence. The mentor, Seth Li, mentioned a useful tool called LinkedIn. I had heard about LinkedIn before and even made an account, but because it is a professional social media platform, I wasn’t used to operating it.
From Seth’s advice I learned that you can book an appointment with a Career Education Specialist at SFU’s Career Services for some 1-1 coaching on how to make your profile strong and help set you apart. It turns out that we as students at SFU, have free access to tutorials through Lynda.com. Lynda is an “online training library” which has a ton of videos for learning anything from graphic design to building a profile on LinkedIn. All you have to do to access Lynda.com is through the SFU library, log in with your student account and make a profile.
Next I searched for a course that was related to my personal interests. There are over 300 beginner courses to choose from and the one I used is called “Up and Running with LinkedIn” by Justin Seeley.
The videos I watched from his course were:
The complete basics of setting up your profile – because this is the most crucial step
Connecting with people you know on a professional level – because it is a social media site after all
The Security options that are beneficial to you – because you don’t want your current boss to find out you’re looking at other jobs
How to use the LinkedIn mobile apps – because it’s important to always be active just like all of the other social media sites
The course is presented in a series of short videos ranging from 10 seconds to just under 10 minutes. You may exit out of the videos anytime and Lynda will save your progress. Lynda was really easy to navigate once I was in the course and I found Seeley’s course to be extremely thorough and I have learned so much more about the features and opportunities LinkedIn provides. Seeley was really informative and I loved his professional yet engaging narration. Each video has a focal point and Seeley does an amazing job getting to the point in helping you to understand the nitty gritty features of LinkedIn.
What I learned is that creating and building a profile is as crucial as writing a resume because it allows professionals to view your skills and experiences – and then those skills and experiences can be endorsed by colleagues. LinkedIn is useful to me because I am able to connect with the professionals I’ve already met on a daily basis if necessary, for example, I am able to send them messages and share posts about interesting things relevant to my field or interests. I can also use LinkedIn as a career research tool and there are endless articles on interview dos and don’ts, or resume and even cover letters. I have been able to find so many resources here on LinkedIn (as well as SFU’s OLC)!
Building My Profile
My profile on LinkedIn now looks more thought-out than it was when I first opened it over a year ago! The first aspect of my profile Seth noticed at the workshop was how difficult it was to even find me with no profile picture. Now my profile has my photo (of course) – and it even has a custom URL (bet you didn’t know that you could do that).
As for expanding my network, adding fellow classmates is the difficult step for me - I can’t find a lot of classmates on LinkedIn. This is concerning not only to me because I can’t add them, but for them as well because they are missing out on the benefits to being connected to professionals online.
Having our own online profile is beneficial for employers as well because they are presented with a sample of your abilities that is easily accessible. The ease of access online will no longer limit your options to physically dropping off your resume door-to-door. Let us move beyond the traditional way of building a professional profile and LinkedIn is a great place to start!