Getting the most out of your LinkedIn

By Allison Zullo

As aspiring PR professionals, we are a little too familiar with social media. From Twitter to Instagram to Pinterest, we know the ins and outs of both the personal and business sides. But what about LinkedIn?

If you’ve never heard of it, LinkedIn is a social media site where professionals can connect with each other and companies or businesses. In short, it is an essential networking tool that all professionals, including aspiring pros that are still in school and looking for jobs or internships like us, should be taking advantage of.

But don’t have a stress-induced panic attack if you haven’t created an account yet, or are confused as to how to gain more connections or add more information. Here are a few tips and tricks that will get you well on your way to being a LinkedIn expert.

linkedInpic

Keep it professional. LinkedIn is a networking tool, so it is crucial to keep everything as professional as possible. Use a high-quality, professional-looking picture of you (and only you) as your profile picture, and make sure anything you post is business or industry-related and is not inappropriate in any way. Also, LinkedIn will notify you whenever someone views your profile, so keep the stalking to a minimum and save it for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Highlight your experiences. Input as many of your professional work experiences with jobs, internships, and organizations as you can. Add detailed explanations of what you were responsible for and what you accomplished. This isn’t your resume, so you don’t have to worry about keeping it short and concise; you can make it as long and detailed as possible. However, do make sure that your experiences are relevant and up-to-date. For example, if you’re about to graduate, don’t have anything from high school on your LinkedIn profile. In addition, you can upload your updated resume so potential employers can print it off and have easy access to it.

Join groups. Join groups that are relevant to what you want to do and what you are interested in. LinkedIn has many public relations and social media related groups, which allow you to connect with other aspiring and established PR pros that are interested in the same things you are. Ohio University has a group for both alumni and current students, where you can connect and network with other Bobcats.

Follow companies and influencers. Follow companies that you are interested in, whether it be for a job or internship, or simply because you like what they’ve been doing recently and want to learn more about them. You can also follow “influencers,” which are people (mostly founders and CEOs of major companies) that have amassed a lot of followers and write about specific topics. This can be a great way to learn more about the industries you are interested in, or even just learn a little bit more about current events from a different opinion.

Network, network, network! You don’t have to tell Scripps PRSSA twice! Connect with anyone you can on LinkedIn, from your peers here at OU to your coworkers and mentors at your internships. Whenever you receive a business card, search the person on LinkedIn and connect! You never know where these connections can lead, so don’t be afraid to get out there and send some LinkedIn invites. Just be sure to write your own personal message when connecting, instead of sending the generic one, to ensure that you stand out and to remind the person you’re connecting with of who you are and where you met.

Happy connecting, Scripps PRSSA!

Follow Allison on Twitter at @allisonzullo

#ScrippsSummerChallenge Week 1

By: Nicole E. Spears

The Scripps Summer Challenge program was introduced for the first time last week to help Scripps PRSSA members keep in touch, as well as in tune with their PR skills, over the long summer months.

Last week’s #ScrippsSummerChallenge asked Scripps PRSSA members to connect with a professional using social media. Unfortunately, we don’t have any testimonials to share with you this week.

Instead, here are some ideas of how you can use social networks to make new professional connections:

  • Twitter: It may be the easiest way to start a conversation. Tag someone with an article you think they may be interested in, ask a question, or simply introduce yourself. Don’t forget that if they’re also following you, you can use a direct message to make a more legitimate connection.

  • LinkedIn: It’s true that it is a bit counterproductive to “connect” with people that you don’t know on LinkedIn, but that doesn’t mean that you should rule it out for networking. Joining groups and starting discussions is not only great for finding new connections, but for continuing your education outside of the classroom or office. Also, check out this post by Cidnye Weimer about using LinkedIn for networking.

  • WordPress: Reading is so important for young professionals, and a lot of great content is coming from fellow PRSSA members or colleagues. Use the WordPress reader to keep up with some blogs, and comment on posts that resonate with you.

  • About.me: If you’ve seen other’s About Me pages, you might have thought they were simply a bio. However, an About.me profile is a great complement to a blog or website. By including your keywords, it can help build your online presence and SEO results, making it easier for others to connect with you.

How else do you make connections using social media?

Scripps PRSSA’ers, don’t forget to take part in next week’s Scripps Summer Challenge! Look out for the email about each new #ScrippsSummerChallenge on Monday mornings.

How to use LinkedIn to Network During the Summer and School Year

By: Cidnye Weimer

If you’re a PR major you’ve probably been told to create a LinkedIn profile for yourself. So you create a profile, now what? It’s easy to put all of your information on a web page and add people to your network but what happens after that’s all said and done? The true purpose of LinkedIn isn’t just so you can make a nice page about yourself (that’s what Facebook is for) but it’s to connect with professionals to network in hopes of getting a job or an internship one day. The keyword here is network. Here are 5 ways you can use LinkedIn to network this summer and during the school year:

  1. Personalize your invitations to connect. When you send an invitation to connect with someone make sure to make it personal and not just the generic “I’d like to invite you to connect.” It shows that you have taken the time to connect with this person and that you have a personal interest. Make sure to include, how/when you met them, why you would like to connect and your name. Trust me this works!

  1. Ask someone to introduce you. A good way to connect with people that are out of your network is to have someone “introduce” you to tem. You can do this by look at that person’s network and seeing who you have in common and then ask that person to connect you with each other. A good example is: “Hey Cidnye I saw that you are connected with Nicole Spears from LaunchSquad on LinkedIn and I’d really love to work there one day so I was hoping you could introduce us.” LinkedIn even has this feature on their website making it easier for you. Remember, it never hurts to ask.

  1. Join a LinkedIn group and actively participate. One of the great features on LinkedIn     is the groups. There is pretty much everything you can think of, groups for sororities, organizations, an E.W. Scripps School of Journalism group and even a PRSSA National group. A good way to network on LinkedIn is to join a few of these groups and actively participate in discussions. It’s a good way to meet people and a lot of times there are even job postings!

  1. Make sure your profile info is up to date and accurate. Once you finally connect with someone and they are in your network, it’s important that all of your profile information is correct and an accurate representation of you so that they aren’t getting any surprises and so they know how great you are!

  2. Be Confident! More often than not, professionals love to connect with students and help them out in any way that they can. So be confident and go network!