Most people think of LinkedIn as the modern résumé. Today employers are more likely to look to your LinkedIn profile to assess your qualifications, due to its accessibility and because it reflects what others think about you as well (i.e., your endorsements and recommendations). Other than that, people use it to build their network in the hopes that it will lead to employment opportunities.
But LinkedIn is more than just an e-résumé or a tool for connecting with others. Way more. It’s also a dynamic platform that enables you to share your ideas, knowledge, and unique perspective on things, which can go a long way in setting you up for long-term success in your career.
LinkedIn’s most powerful tool is its blogging feature. What? You can blog on LinkedIn? Yep. And not only is it easy, but it’s also one of the most important things you can do right now, while you’re still in school, in order to set yourself apart and grab the attention of potential employers.
If you go to your LinkedIn homepage (and if you’re not already on LinkedIn, what are you waiting for?!), right beneath your photo and name there’s a bar with three ways you can share information: “Share an update”, “Upload a photo”, “Publish a post”. Updates are for when you want to share a quote, hyperlink, or something short with your followers; photos are self-explanatory. Click on the “Publish a post” button to open up LinkedIn’s blogging feature.
The first thing you’ll see is a big grey box that says “Add an image to bring your post to life”. It’s important to find an eye-catching image that not only relates to the subject of your post but also makes people want to click on your post. A couple good sites for free images are Gratisography and Pixabay. Of course, you can also use one of your own images. Just make sure it looks professional and will intrigue potential readers.
Next up is the headline. I cannot emphasize enough how important this is! A good headline is paramount in attracting readers. (And what good is a blog post if no one reads it?) Try to be witty if possible. For example, if you’re writing a post about the power of social media, you might call it “Getting Social — How Facebook and Twitter have changed the world”. Or something like that. As with your post’s image, your headline can go a long way in driving traffic to your post and, in turn, your profile. (Tip: The headline is usually the last thing I do after I finish my post. Unless you know exactly what you’re going to write about, you might want to do the same.)
But what should I write about?
I always hear recent college grads complaining about jobs that require a certain amount of experience. But how can I have experience unless I have a job? Unless you complete at least one internship before you graduate (and I highly recommend that you do), it’s tough to come up with anything that qualifies as “experience” on your resume.
That’s where blogging on LinkedIn can help. By writing about your various activities and learning experiences while still in school, you’re not only sharing valuable information with others, but you’re also demonstrating your ability to learn and your enthusiasm for being engaged and involved. Employers love this. If you hold a leadership position in your sorority, write about the challenges of the position and how you’ve handled them. If you’re in the midst of an internship, write about the new skills you’re learning. If you’re volunteering at the local food bank, write about the people you’ve met and the effect it’s had on. Doing so will show a willingness to learn and try new things and, more important, your ability to process what you’ve learned and then communicate it to others.
If you’re the kind of person who always seems to come up with good ideas, use LinkedIn to blog about them and share them with others. People are drawn to the kind of people who always have good ideas. What’s great about the LinkedIn blogging platform is that your post doesn’t have to be very long to make an impact. Even a post that’s only 250-300 words can make a lasting impression and get others to see you as an idea person.
You don’t have to be a great writer to take advantage of LinkedIn’s blogging feature. Just write honestly and with passion about your subject, and, hopefully, it will catch the eye of someone who can help you build a successful, fulfilling career. ~