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Seminar shows how to maximize one's presence on LinkedIn

By Brendon Field
On February 6, 2014

The Center for Career Development gave a presentation on Thursday instructing students on how to fortify their LinkedIn profiles and maximize their chances of being recognized by employers.
The presentation was given by Beth Settje, senior assistant director of the Center for Career Development, who led students through the different components of constructing a proper profile and building a reputable network of connections.
She began by saying that it is important that one's profile is current, with no outdated information such as location or status as a student. When selecting an industry, she encouraged selecting the field that one want to enter, since "Student" isn't an option.
Prospective thinking should also be applied to choosing a location, Settje said.
"I would not recommend (selecting) Storrs or Storrs-Mansfield because it is so small and does not matter to people outside of UConn," she said. It is also important that one's name and title are clear, and the profile picture should be framed so no part of one's head is cropped out.
In writing a personal summary, Settje said that there is no right way to format it. She showed different summaries that were written as paragraphs, bullet points and had a first-person or third-person perspective. She did, however, discourage turning it into a mini resume. A summary should tell an employer what one has to offer, not just what they are seeking. Students should not be afraid to include non-work related endeavors in their "Experience" section. This includes volunteer work, organizational memberships and official certifications.
When discussing networking, Settje encouraged students to be active but also discriminatory. "The point of LinkedIn is not to get connected with as many people as possible; it is not like Facebook friends," she said. Endorsements from connections on skills can catch the eye of employers; but, because there is no way to verify them, they only matter up to a certain amount. In turn, one should only grant connections legitimate endorsments. Recommendations are much more valuable, since they must be specifically requested.
"Leverage your connection to be mutually beneficial," Settje said. She drew attention to articles that can be posted and shared within LinkedIn's various groups. "If you want to become a presence in your industry, respond to articles, but have something relative to say so you are making a good contribution," she said.
To show how much impact a LinkedIn profile can have, Settje pulled up the profile of UConn alumnus Matt Duffy. She explained that he had been a history major, but due to a lengthy experience list and a large amount of endorsements and recommendations on his profile, he was head hunted by Google where he now works as an accounting strategist.
Warren Wright, a 7th-semester computer science major, said, "It gives me more confidence that this is something that people look into to find employees and jobs, than just another social gimmick."
The issue of privacy was also discussed. Settje informed students that when one looks at someone else's page, they will know you have done so. Looking at an employer's page too frequently can give the impression of stalking. In order to remain anonymous, be sure to log out first. Including one's age and marital status is unnecessary and increases the risk of identity theft. Settje also led students through the advanced settings to make it so one's profile can be edited without connections being notified.
Madison Laks, a 2nd-semester human development and family studies major, said of the seminar, "I liked the presentation because I just got a LinkedIn really recently, and now I know how to use it to my advantage. And it's not just Facebook."
Aximay Sosa, a 2nd-semester biomedical engineering major said, "I now realize I don't have as much experience of things that I've done that are related to my field, and I should get on that so I can expand my skill sets."
Settje also said any students looking for individual guidance can find it at the Center for Career Development, which is located in the Wilbur Cross building. Another session on LinkedIn will be held on April 10.

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