Adventures in LinkedIn Part 2: How to Look Good

Written by Jesse Sannicandro

img_0061

LinkedIn can be a great way to promote yourself online. Recruiters can and will use LinkedIn to look for potential employees. To get discovered, you first have to make sure that you have a good profile page. Think of it as a detailed, easily accessible resume. Like a resume, you’ve got to be able to present your best, professional self. Looks aren’t everything, but they’re a start!

As I mentioned in my last post, I only recently started actively using LinkedIn, but I do have a couple of sections on my profile that are looking good.

Picture

The easiest and most basic piece that can make a profile look good is a professional picture, but many profiles don’t even have one. Whenever I see the gray, default avatar representing somebody, it looks boring to me. It gives me the impression that this person either has an unfinished profile, or, that they do not use, or care about, their account. Putting a face to a name is very important: without a picture, your profile can be easily overlooked. According to LinkedIn, “members with a photo get 11 times more profile views.”

I didn’t have a photo posted for a while because I couldn’t find one that made me look like the young professional I want to be. A good picture should focus on your face with nothing distracting in the background and you should be dressed appropriately for the job you want. In my photo I’m outside, smiling and wearing a dark shirt. If I do say so myself, my profile picture looks good.

img_0369

Summary

According to LinkedIn, a professional summary is “the #1 thing recruiters look at while viewing profiles,” so you have to make if effective. It should read like a virtual version of an elevator pitch; something that can be glanced at briefly to give a flavor of who you are and what you can offer in a professional environment, including your professional experience and goals.  It’s possible that a potential recruiter will only look at your summary. Even with some pretty good experience on your page, it could be overlooked if your summary does not easily draw people in.

I didn’t have a summary until I started writing this post. At the moment, it’s very basic, mentioning some brief experience. It’s still a work in progress and could be better, but it’s starting to look good.


These are just the basics of what you should have on your LinkedIn profile. A picture can be a reason for somebody to click on your profile. Without one, you may be completely overlooked. A summary can be a way to reel someone in, letting them know what you have to offer. Without a summary, you may lose someone’s attention very quickly. After your page is set up, you can start using LinkedIn to its full potential.

img_0063

Advertisements

“Vault Into the Career of Your Dreams”

Written by Jesse Sannicandro

429743daffd2e82bc55fc4e0ccb64397

Career Services and Employer Relations is hosting a Career Conference called “Vault into the Career of Your Dreams,” on Wednesday, November 30 in the McCarthy Center Forum from 1:30 PM to 4:00 PM. There are three sessions in this conference and students are encouraged to attend all three parts, but can also attend only one or two.

13599790_1281738721851357_8450680854925805997_n

The first session will be “Unlock The Vault.” Vault is a web resource that students and alumni are able to use to help with job searching. This resource contains industry statistics, overviews and advice on how to enter an industry. There are also recommendations on what career path to pursue based on your major and personal interests. Additionally, there are guides that give advice on interviewing, networking, and resumes, among other things. At first glance, it can look difficult to navigate, so this information session teaches users how to best take advantage of it.

vaultlogo

The second session is called “Soft Skills Savvy.” Soft skills are transferable across careers and industries. They are abilities that all employers look for and include teamwork, interpersonal skills, and goal-orientation. They are not something that you learn in class and are often overlooked by students. There is a gap between what skills students think they have and what employers actually need, this is called the “soft skills gap.” Students think that they have all the skills they need, but there are often many that they are missing. This session will help attendees learn all about this and more.

http://www.connectionsacademy.com/blog/posts/2014-12-01/Why-Developing-Soft-Skills-during-High-School-Matters.aspx
via connectionsacademy.com

The last session will demonstrate a new library resource, Career Spots videos. Career Spots is a resource that is new to Framingham State University this semester. This valuable resource was made available thanks to a grant that the Whittemore Library received from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. It includes many videos on everything career related. Using this resource can be a good alternative to reading information for those who learn better by watching videos. Included in the videos available on Career Spots is information about interviewing and resume writing.

imls_logo_2c

I have never been to a career conference and am excited about the opportunity to attend one. This program will be useful as a way to transition from life as a student to someone searching for gainful employment in a career. Whether you have your career path set or if you have no idea at all, we at Career Services encourage all students and alumni to attend.

Adventures in LinkedIn Part 1: Too Many Connections

Written by Jesse Sannicandroimg_0057

LinkedIn has quickly become my latest obsession. I created an account after Dawn Ross, Director of Career Services and Employer Relations, visited my professional writing class to give a presentation on resumes, cover letters, elevator pitches, and LinkedIn, but, it wasn’t until recently that I started becoming an active member.

On a lark, I asked a person who conducted a mock interview with me if I could add him on LinkedIn and he said, “Of course.” After I requested him as a connection, I realized that I only had seven others in my network; two of these were my parents and another was my sister. Not wanting to look like some kind of dweeb, I hurriedly started adding as many people as I could so I wouldn’t have fewer than ten connections.

This is when I started to become fascinated with the idea of LinkedIn. I started adding people willy-nilly. Many of these people were my peers and friends from school, while others were bosses of mine. Most shocking was when old girlfriends started being suggested as “people I may know.” And so, I started going deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole that is LinkedIn.

img_0058
Walt Disney Studios / via nerdist.com

I started thinking, LinkedIn is like Facebook, minus all the social drama. While I was excitedly relating my newfound experience with LinkedIn to someone more savvy in social media than I am, she told me that indiscriminately adding people was a major red flag. I was playing the popularity game, thinking that the more connections I had, the more professional and well-connected I would look. Ultimately, she said, this could end up hurting me. She advised that I should not have random connections unrelated to the field in which I am searching.

I’m still learning. But, after getting some pointers, there are certain major aspects that I plan to focus on, so I can best utilize this professional social networking platform.

Rock STAR Interviews

Written by Jesse Sannicandro

Job interviews aren’t always easy. They can be nerve-wracking and you may draw a blank when asked a simple question. But they don’t have to be difficult, you just have to be prepared.

job-interview-stock-photo
Hopefully, this isn’t you

I recently took part in a mock interview as part of the Suitable Solutions Professionalism Program. Though I made a good impression, I drew a blank when I was asked a certain question.

“Tell me about a mistake you’ve made.”

I went silent. I hadn’t prepared an answer to this question. I immediately could think of several mistakes, but none of these would be appropriate responses in an interview. I knew that a good reply would cover certain criteria. The interviewer only asked about a mistake I made, but of course, I would have to make a positive experience out of it. It would have to show that I understand when I’m facing a problem and am able to solve it. Not only this, but that I am able to learn from the mistake. The best way to do this is mention a specific anecdote with concrete evidence by using the STAR approach.

STAR is an easy to remember acronym with four basic steps: situation, what happened; task, what the goal was; action, what I did; and result, what happened after.

star
Hopefully, this is you

After several days of mulling this question over, I think I was able to come up with a good response.

Situation

“My first year at Framingham State, I was automatically dropped from Oceanography because there was an error with my account. By the time I got my PIN so I could register again, the class had filled up.”

Task

“I hadn’t paid close enough attention to my bill, I thought that everything was taken care of, but things can always go wrong. The class was a requirement for me to graduate. I had to contact the professor to see if there was any way that I would still be able to get into the class.”

Action

“I emailed the professor for the class. He said he understood and could sympathize with my situation. He told me that he would sign an override form for me so I could take the class, even though it was at maximum enrollment.”

Result

“I got into the course after I submitted the override form to the registrar’s office. I completed the class and I was able to get the necessary credits. Though I was able to fix the problem with effective communication, it was something that could have been prevented. I should have paid more attention to my student account to make sure that everything was taken care of. From this experience, I learned that it always pays to pay attention.”

The STAR approach is useful for many interview questions. You can use it whenever a question asks for a specific situation. The best response will recall a difficult situation you had to deal with. I understand the STAR approach and was able to use it to answer several other questions.

I made a mistake once in a mock interview. I couldn’t give a good answer when I was asked something quite simple. I explained that I couldn’t think of anything to say so I told him as much. I realized that this is a question that potential employers may ask, and you’ve got to be able to think on the fly if you get a question that you’re not ready for.