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Professional Networking 101: LinkedIn

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Professional Networking 101: LinkedIn

Oftentimes, many shy away from creating a professional online profile. As a future health professional, I have reaped many benefits from having an active professional profile in which I can connect with friends, classmates, teachers, and future employers. I have connected with occupational therapists from other countries as well as some in the area that have turned out to be great mentors. I have also been able to connect with old friends who are in similar areas of study as I am, which can be helpful during stressful times.When involved with a profession that consists of  conferences and other social events/meetings, sharing your professional profile can come in handy.  Social media is a powerful tool and when it is used correctly, the outcomes can be great.

Here I will discuss a few tips and benefits to creating a successful LinkedIn profile.

  • You can keep track of your accomplishments
    • Rather than shuffling through papers and certifications, you can place everything like CPR certifications and other relevant items on your profile for easy access for yourself and potential employers.
  • Future employers and educators can find your professional profile when they Google you
    • Wouldn’t you rather have a future employer find a list of your accomplishments and experiences first instead of your Facebook profile? (P.S. always keep social media cleaned up in case it does come up)
  • You can get reccomendations on your profile
    • It is almost like having a letter of reference at hand at all times. If you connect with a past professor or current boss that knows your skills and talents, it can prove useful in showing how others view you.
  • It can help kick-start your job search before you are actively searching for a job
    • This is really important because by keeping an updated  profile, you will be ready to go when it is time to update or make your resume. All your information will be readily available. If your profile is updated, it can be beneficial when you ask your connections if they or someone they know may be able to hire you. (You can even apply for jobs through LinkedIn).
  • You can follow and connect with your preferred businesses/companies/institutions
    • As a health professional student, I have followed companies that I am interested in, in order to see what new advances or topics are being discussed. Many times, companies will also post active job listings, which is a plus! (Extra credit: Gannon U is on there!)
  • Display your research and publications
    • I really like this feature because it allows others to see a glimpse of what you are really passionate about. You can also show that you worked with someone else, such as a teacher or mentor. You can also share links to publications so that others can read the work you have so diligently been preparing!

Tips:

  • Always have a PROFESSIONAL profile picture! (Users with pictures get more views!)
  • Keep it professional (We all love memes, but keep that on Twitter and Facebook)
  • Introduce yourself when adding someone you do not know
  • Only add people you think you would talk to at some point (It is not a contest to have the most connections)
  • Add professors and classmates
  • Follow companies of interest
  • Try to update whenever you have a new accomplishment
  • Be proud of your accomplishments
  • Embrace the process, it takes time, but is useful if you dedicate the time to it

I hope my tips and suggestions help and I hope you consider creating a professional profile!

Take care,
Sue Ram
RAM002@knights.gannon.edu

My name is Sue Ram and I am a current Occupational Therapy Doctorate student here at Gannon University- Ruskin, FL! I have spent most of my life down here in the sunshine state and am so excited to embark on this journey with the Gannon family- from new undergraduate students to our great alumni. I love to share my experiences with those around me in order to spread awareness on important topics while learning about those around me!

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