It is never too early to start thinking about landing a job once you graduate from college. There are things you can be doing while you are a student to improve your online reputation and start building the foundations for your resume. By the time you graduate from college, you can be sure that part of your interview process for career positions will include your potential new boss looking you up online. That’s right, prepare to be Googled! There are steps you can take while in college to make sure that a Google search, or any search online for your name results in a page of results that will impress a potential new boss.
Optimizing Your LinkedIn Profile
Of all the social media channels out there, LinkedIn is the one for professionals. This is the one you should be concentrating on building out while you are in college. The earlier you start, the better your results will be by the time you are graduating years down the road. (If you waited until the last minute and are reading this, do not worry, better late than never, the results start to build immediately.) Follow these 7 steps towards an impressive LinkedIn profile that will impress the hiring managers at the places you apply for a job:
- Completely Fill Out Your Profile. LinkedIn guides you and encourages you to do this with alerts as to what percentage of your profile is at. This is the easy part, you know all about you, just fill in the details. Make sure that you add a professional picture along with all the details.
- Start Building Your Connections. Connect with friends from high school and college. Then start building new connections in the industry or field you are studying. When you send a connect request, always type a personal message explaining why you would like to connect with them.
- Keep in Contact with Your Connections. Post an update on your profile at least once a week, daily if possible. The updates for LinkedIn should be business related, or share articles relevant to your college experience or the industry you are studying. Another part of keeping in contact is taking advantage of the updates that LinkedIn sends you in a daily email. Send congratulations when they get a new job, a new role, or a work anniversary. Don’t be afraid to just say hi to a contact and ask what they are working on. As long as you keep things professional, pretty much anything goes with keeping in touch on LinkedIn.
- Be Generous with Recommendations and Endorsements. If you have worked with a contact and can give a recommendation about them, do it. Being in a class with someone, working on a group project, or being together in a group all qualify for knowing someone well enough to give them a recommendation. Chances are they will return the favor and help you build up your profile. Giving endorsements are the skill buttons that you can click on located on someone’s profile. If you know that a connection has those skills, endorsing them is a quick and easy way to give them a boost, and also keep in touch.
- Constantly Update Your Profile. Beyond making changes when you have a change or an event, change your profile just to keep it fresh. When you update your profile, LinkedIn automatically sends updates about your changes to your network. Staying on top of mind and in the forefront of your connections will help your networking capabilities.
- Join Networking and Special Interest Groups. LinkedIn has countless amounts of groups for all different topics. Joining them can enhance your connections, but it will also enhance your LinkedIn experience overall.
- Follow Companies in Your Industry. Following companies’ profile pages on LinkedIn broadens connections and also gives you a glimpse into the types of companies you might work for, or apply to when you graduate.
Building Your Online Reputation
In addition to having a stellar LinkedIn profile, you should make sure that is not the only thing that stands out when a potential employer looks you up online. Make sure to always keep things professional on all of your social network postings. Make sure not to post pictures or post anything that you would not want your boss to see. Even if it is private, you never know who among your friends might have an influence in securing you a job in the future. Some other things you can do to help boost your online reputation include setting up a Google Plus profile and a professional page for yourself on a free site or free blog. These types of links will fill up your results page and make you look like a professional rock star when you are applying for jobs and a potential boss “Googles” you.