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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Getting the Most Out of LinkedIn at GHC11

LinkedIn is a great way to connect with other professionals, but what if you're a student with little or no experience? I covered the basics of setting up a good LinkedIn profile last year, but some of my suggestions didn't always work for students.

Good news! LinkedIn has added some new features this year to make it easier for students to have a more complete profile than ever before.

The basics still apply: add a photo, use your full name, add your educational experience. All of those things will make your profile look more like it's owned by an actual human, and not a spam bot, which will make people more willing to connect with you and interact with you on various groups.  Also, it will make it easier for someone you've just met at a conference to know, in fact, that your profile matches up with the person they just had lunch with.

If you're a student with little experience, you can still list what type of work you're interested in doing in your summary. You can add a section that lists your favorite courses. You should expand on what some of your favorite courses were and why. You can do this in the summary.  Don't just say that you enjoyed your data structures and algorithms class, but talk about how you loved figuring out what the Big O value was for various algorithms, for example.

LinkedIn added volunteer positions and causes this year. Do you tutor high school students? Or help out in a middle school computer lab? Add those to your profile.

Did you get a patent for that work you did with a professor? There's a place for that, too.

LinkedIn has a new section for linking to papers and publications you may have written, as well as a section for honors, awards and organizations.

And don't forget about the skills section!

The more information you have on your profile, the more likely people are going to be to accept you to groups and be willing to link in with you.  I love to link up with people I meet at Grace Hopper, as it's a one stop shop for who they are, where they went to school and where they are currently working. It's just a great way to maintain your professional contacts.

And once you get everything set up, join the Anita Borg Institute for Women in Technology group and the Grace Hopper Celebration subgroup.

Did I miss anything? What new features of LinkedIn are you getting the most value out of?

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