As promised, here is my recap of the Using Social Media in Your Job Search presentation that took place on campus this afternoon in the University Union. The program, hosted speaker Nancy Thompson, a UWGB alum and partner at Signature Search, here in Green Bay.
We use social media in our personal lives. We build, maintain and rekindle friendships on sites such as Facebook and Myspace, but have you ever thought of using social media to build professional relationships?
LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking site that is based around developing those kind of professional “connections” as they call them. The network, launched in 2003, has 90 million users in over 200 countries.
Nancy began the program with a brief introduction of herself, we attendees, as well as the topic at hand, the LinkedIn network. Nancy, with a strong business background, has been working in the recruitment industry for over 15 years. She mentioned that she has seen first hand the benefits of using LinkedIn when searching for employment, and that she was excited to share this information with us. As attendees, we varied greatly. Many of the students in attendance were there to fulfill extra credit assignments, some were returning students and others soon-to-be grads. There were also a handful of faculty members that attended, which proves Nancy’s second point about how relevant professional networking and social media are to the college campus and society in general.
After introductions, Nancy walked us through the LinkedIn system. At first LinkedIn reminded me of Facebook. After logging in, there was a “Newsfeed” homepage that displayed the latest updates from your “connections”, or in the Facebook world, friends. Many of Nancy’s connections posted things resembling status’ and a large portion of them had linked their Twitter accounts to their LinkedIn, which were automatically displayed. LinkedIn also allows you to set up a profile, much like the ones on Facebook, but without all the nonsense “Wallposts” and pictures. Your LinkedIn profile is basically a less intense version of your resume with sections such as, ‘Current Title’, ‘Past Titles, Jobs’, ‘Education’, ‘Recommendation’ , and others similar. There is also a section to post an ‘About Me’ summary.
Groups are a huge part to LinkedIn. There are groups for everything imaginable, yet professional-related. The groups are used to network with others with shared interests and skills, as well as allow you to build connections through other connections–kind of like that “6 Degrees” theory. One group that Nancy recommends to students and young adults is the Young Professionals Network. This network is hosted by the local Chamber of Commerce as well as others around the state. “It is a great networking tool for young adults and new college grads,” said Ms. Thompson.
Contacts or connections rather, are truly what makes this network such a unique resource. They represent a huge part of networking and allow you to share information and learn about jobs from the professionals working in those jobs. “Networking is not about what you know, it’s who you know,” stated a fellow attendee. It is true. Networking is about making connections between people. If you meet 5 people, and each of those 5 people, meet 5 people, your connections have just tripled.
Using LinkedIn in your job search is a valuable tool, but also is a huge factor in the “Social Media Era” that our society has entered. To find more information about LinkedIn and its benefits visit our website: www.uwgb.edu/careers, give us a call at 920-465-2361, or try it for yourself, LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com. Start making professional connections for YOUR future.