Tips for Your Professional Digital Footprint

I am blown away by the emails that my J452 professor, Kathryn Kuttis, receives from former students of the SOJC. First off, it is a relief to hear that students who were in my position a year ago are now working at Fortune 500 companies and top firms. Students have written to Kathryn this past week about their experiences at Edelman, NIKE, Adidas, Weber Shandwick and Starbucks (wow). While their jobs vary from marketing specialists to even coordinators to public relations account executives, they all have one thing in common: they use all the skills they learned at the SOJC. "Communication and writing are so important in everything that I do," said a former student who now works at NIKE.

So how do you start preparing for that dream job? I'm sure you've heard that LinkedIn is as important as your resume – and you need to keep it current to maximize your job search. This is true, however if all you are doing is adding new connections on LinkedIn you are not taking advantage of all the benefits. More and more recruiters are turning to LinkedIn to find top candidates for available positions. This is great news for students close to entering that "life after college" job search. It's no joke that potential opportunities are literally at your fingertips. USA Today gives "6 LinkedIn tips to help maximize your job search." I think all students that are beginning to navigate their future should take a look at these. Based on these tips, and some other findings from J452 lecture, I put together some tips for making your professional footprint. These basic tips are often overlooked and require minimal effort. With these tips in hand, you can make your LinkedIn profile your best tool for personal branding. 

22 LinkedIn Secrets LinkedIn Won't Tell You describes the importance of knowing your own strengths and highlighting them efficiently. I suggest you know the top three strengths you want to be recognized for and scatter them strategically throughout your profile. If your top skill is event planning then describe your event planning proficiency in your summary and in many experience descriptions. This will help the right audience find you.

Head to your privacy controls while in edit mode. It can be annoying to people when they are notified of all the changes made to your profile that show up on their newsfeed. While editing your profile, turn the privacy setting to "Only You."

Kathryn always tells us that if we want to work somewhere, find someone who already works there and check out their profile to see their skills and experiences that got them to where they are. This has been one of the most effective ways I've found for using LinkedIn. I recently had a "Skype date" with an employee at Edelman just by doing some simple research! 

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While individual connections are great, there is a lot more to offer via "connecting" on LinkedIn. Consider joining groups to broaden your social network. You don't have to join everything in sight ( 50 is the current maximum of groups you can join), but you should consider some that highlight your interests. 

It is an absolute must to keep your LinkedIn (and all social media platforms) up to date. Kathryn tells us to be checking in on LinkedIn once a week for about 20 minutes each visit. Going beyond updating your personal profile, it is important to join the conversations happening much like what happens on your Facebook feed. Show professionals and recruiters that you are intelligent by reposting content already available. This amplifies your message and delivers brand consistency. If you are blogging, convert your posts into activity updates. 

Ask questions! I'm sure you've noticed that the students who stand out in class are the ones that are eager to ask questions. So why not give yourself a chance to stand out? Not only does it make you look great, but by asking questions you give yourself a chance to get to know an organization before you get yourself into it. You will never get more valuable feedback than that which comes from someone who actually works for the organization in question. 

Best of luck readers!

- Olivia