My LinkedIn profile had long been forgotten by the time I got to college. I created it on a whim sometime in high school and had not done little with it since. After being grilled about the importance of having a LinkedIn presence by countless speakers in college, I made occasional updates to my work experience and personal statement. With a hopeful heart and the flawed thinking that by having a LinkedIn account, hiring managers would be busting down my door, I let it sit.
Having a LinkedIn account is not a magic bullet for getting a job. Even having a well-designed account is not enough. Professor Herb Lowe tasked #loweclass with updating our career-search materials, including our résumés, cover letters and LinkedIn accounts. In doing so, I referenced several articles about how to use the professional social media platform to attract hiring managers and show your personality.
These articles shaped the changes I made to my account. The basic information was there, such as my work history and responsibilities, but I realized that my account lacked depth. It showed what I have done, not who I am. My revisions were aimed to change that.
The first change was crafting a more personal summary as a prologue to the work history. I adapted my mission statement from my online portfolio because I believe it serves as the best explanation of who I am and why I am doing it. This new summary statement serves to explain the "why" of my résumé, such as why I am interested in journalism or why I am drawn to issues of human rights. However, this is still not enough to advance my career.
LinkedIn does not favor passive accounts. The benefits it offers by connecting professionals and sharing valuable industry insights are only available if users take an active approach to contributing and seeking out connections. Mashable outlined what students should post on LinkedIn and I will use this as a guide. After updating my page, I sought out groups and companies as well. I am now following Human Rights Watch, the United States Agency for International Development and Amnesty International. I am also a member of the human rights resources and digital journalism groups, which offer important industry conversations. These profile updates and online communities will allow me to use LinkedIn to its full potential and move me closer to my career aspirations.
A chance to see the world from the perspective of a 6-foot-2, aspiring human rights journalist. Will include lessons learned and reflections.