By Brittany Collins, Indiana Commission for Higher Education

Missed our blog covering LinkedIn basics? Go here to check it out.

So you’ve got your LinkedIn profile set up, now what? Well, the fun and features have just begun! We’re going to use this blog to break down some more of the tools you can use to help you find connections, internships and career opportunities. But first, if you haven’t already done so make sure you customize your public profile URL. You can edit that from your profile page. It should be on the right side of your screen if you’re using a laptop/desktop or it’ll be under the contact section if you’re using the mobile app. Try your first and last name or add your middle initial if that’s taken.

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Alumni Networking

LinkedIn has this really cool feature that allows you to connect with alumni at your institution. Go to your university’s main page and click the “Alumni” tab to reveal a new pocket of your network.

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Once you’re on that tab you’ll see filters at the top. You can see where alumni/current students have worked, what cities they’re in now, what kind of industries they’re in and more. After you put in your filters, you’ll see folks you may already know or could potentially connect with for your professional network. 

Why should you use this?

  • See if there are folks who work at an organization you’re interested in to get some insight on what it’s like to be there.
  • Find out what types of jobs folks have with your same major.
  • Identify a mentor based on similar backgrounds and college affiliation.

Pro Tip: If you don’t want people to know you’re creeping on them, make sure you change your profile viewing mode under your account settings. 

Updating Job Preferences

Again, it’s very important that your profile is as full and up to date as possible. This is how LinkedIn populates opportunities under the job section, by matching them to your skills and experiences. In addition to that, you can alter preferences under the settings tab. Let recruiters know you’re looking, set your maximum commute time, and how recruiters see your profile. You’re also able to set alerts based on specific titles or organizations (like, “marketing intern”). 

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Using the Inbox

Sometimes you’re going to want to connect with someone you don’t know already, and that’s completely fine. That’s what networking is all about! Just remember to use your manners and actually provide an introductory message to accompany your connection request. Click the “Add Note” option when prompted and proceed to leave a brief message stating who you are and why you want to connect. 

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Here’s an example message:

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Image text: Good afternoon: I’m Sally and I’m currently a junior at Indiana College. I noticed you graduated from there recently with the same major. I’ve admired your career journey so far and wanted to know if we could connect here. I’d also like to follow up so we can talk more about what you do? Thank you!

Pro Tip: This is not the time or place to “slide in the DMs,” save the romantic quests for the appropriate apps and websites. Be professional! 

Join Groups

There are thousands of groups on LinkedIN across industries and professional interests that you can plug into to help narrow your networking. You can start by checking to see if your college/university has a group for current students/alumni and then branch out to joining industry association groups, new/young professional groups and more. Don’t just lurk, actually connect with people and contribute to conversations. (Shortcut: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/)  

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We know that many Hoosier students, families and educators are coping with school day closures and elearning for the next few weeks in response to COVID-19. Over the next month, our blog will be dedicated to college and career readiness activities that can be done from home. And, don’t forget to explore our classroom materials page for grade-specific college, career and cost activities.

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