You already know that an internship gives you an edge for post-graduation positions. Add LinkedIn into the mix, and the possibilities for snagging your dream gig skyrocket.
You know what LinkedIn is, but do you know how to really use it?
It’s all about standing out. In a good way, of course. And getting on the radar of influential people.
What makes a LinkedIn profile really stand out:
Using LinkedIn, you can make a killer impression on peers and prospective employers, network with the connections that matter, and showcase your worth as a potential employee.
Visibility: Be an All Star
As Ray Davies once said, “Everybody’s a dreamer, everybody’s a star.”
Just as you are researching businesses, industries and people of interest, they are doing the same with you. Complete your LinkedIn profile to ‘All Star’ status. This indication will pop up on your page once you’ve filled out all sections in detail.
To reach this status, play to your strengths (as an intern or student), and build your experience sections with:
- Current and past internships
- Extracurricular leadership positions
- Volunteer work
- Relevant courses to your specific career track
- Advisor references
Adding visual examples of your work and articles you’ve written if you have them. If you don’t, write some. It shows your thinking and makes you more visible.
Do your homework.
Whether it’s on the job or on the web, the best way to stand out as a potential candidate is to do your homework. Yes, sounds like school again. When you take the time to research your employer or potential employer, the industry, or your colleagues, it shows your interest.
Here’s how: Follow company pages on LinkedIn.
When you do that, all company news, including press releases, announcements, reports, etc., will appear right on your LinkedIn Homepage. You can respond with congratulations, comments and share their content. That will keep you on their radar.
Want to go a step further?
Follow an employer’s competitors’ pages, their clients, and even their vendors. A wide network can help you master industry jargon and trends. You can do the same with others within the industry through LinkedIn Channels. Learn who’s who, their specific roles within a given company and follow them. Opportunities to meet them may happen through events.
Credibility: Writing your headline
Most people put in their job title. That’s boring. We are looking to stand out, right?
So write one with intention.
If you are Barack Obama, and yours says Former President of the United States and US Senator, that will definitely work. For the rest of us, think of what you bring to the table that’s different.
Instead of “Martha Warrington, Editor-in-Chief of The Wishington Post”, how about…
“Martha Warrington, dedicated to bringing you fresh news from Washington and speaker of the truth.” It’s way more interesting and shows some personality.
Instead of: Social Media Specialist in NY area (boring), how about...
- “Owner, Author, Social Media Strategist, Networking Fanatic, Marketing Queen”
- “Interactive Marketing Manager & a Millennial Out Making a Difference”
- “Leveraging LinkedIn & Social Selling Innovation to Build a Powerful Networks, Open Doors & Maximize Client Acquisition”
Stalking: In a good way, of course!
There may be people at companies you really want to work for. If you haven’t met someone there, it’s a little trickier to connect with high level people. Start by joining groups they are in. You can find that info in their profile.
Offer something of value to them.
- Comment on their posts
- Share an article you found useful
- Share their article
- An upcoming event they might be interested in
- A book you read that is business-related
- This is not facebook, and no place for personal sharing.
Get on their radar. Maybe they are speaking at an event you could attend and you can meet them!
Keep the conversation going.
Once you’ve completed your internship, whether it ended in a job offer or not, keep in touch with your fellow interns, colleagues, supervisors, networking encounters, HR reps, recruiters—everyone you can. This is the time to maintain the professional relationships you made while on the job. You never know where they or you will end up in the future!
About connection requests
When you send connection requests, don’t send that boring generic message.
Customize the message with something friendly and refer to how they know or met you.
For example, you can say something like, “I’ve really enjoyed working with you over the past several months. I greatly appreciate your support and guidance throughout my time at XYZ, and look forward to staying in touch.” Or, “So glad we met at that speaking event last week. Would like to stay in touch on LinkedIn.”
Then, follow through with that promise, and do stay in touch. Even if your internship didn’t end with a job offer, maintain the connection so that you stay on each other’s radar.
As an intern (and even as an industry veteran), LinkedIn is the ultimate networking tool if you work it. So, take advantage of everything this platform offers, keep it professional, and the rest will happen.