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LinkedIn becoming more important for students and alum

Cell phone with instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn Icons

By Zachary Flynn

After a year of limited in-person networking opportunities, LinkedIn has become a platform for continuing education, networking, recruiting and job applications, and showcasing your best self in an online environment.

Melissa Myskiw is an Academic Advisor with NAIT. She and her team work with students to provide resume reviews, interview prep, and LinkedIn profile reviews.

“Right now, LinkedIn is pretty vital, and it’s hard for anyone to ignore LinkedIn in our current market,” said Myskiw.

“I think it comes down to reaching out, creating that network, interacting on that platform, and ensuring that you are making professional connections, so you’re not just emailing for jobs, but you are getting information and insights.”

LinkedIn allows users to showcase their educational, professional, and volunteer experience, among other things. Users can connect with other professionals, build their network, engage in a Facebook-like news feed with business news, personal-professional updates, and more.

“We consider it like your professional Facebook. You need to have it clean and professional; lots of interaction and networking are best. That is how you’re going to get noticed and how you’re going to find people to connect with,” said Myskiw.

Myskiw said that active engagement on other peoples’ posts is an easy and effective way to build a professional relationship with somebody and begin networking.

“It might be something like an informational interview where you’ve been commenting on someone for a while, and then you can say, ‘I’m interested in your field. Can you tell me a little bit about how you’re in COVID? What types of people or what types of skills does the industry look for?’” she said.

When it comes to making your profile stand out, Myskiw recommends a clear, professional-looking headshot as a good starting point. She also noted that a LinkedIn profile could come across as a daunting thing to set up. She recommended taking it step-by-step and adding information incrementally as you work in new positions, complete achievements, and gain new experiences.

She also provided a few tips for filling in the different areas in a LinkedIn profile.

“[Have] a headline describing your experiences, skills, or different titles and have the section be really clear and direct in what [employers are] looking for. And highlight three skills or values that [you] have,” said Myskiw.

“And for educational or volunteer experience, we encourage that [students] have accomplishment statements that highlight some skills and details or examples.”

Myskiw said that a LinkedIn page can be seen as a holistic resume and that students should pick and choose specific work experience when they put together their resume when applying for jobs. She also highlighted the importance of including a link to your LinkedIn profile so employers can gather more information or see other experience that wasn’t able to fit on the applicant’s resume.

NAIT is hosting several workshops in March to help students prepare for interviews, learn how to network on LinkedIn, write targeted cover letters, and more.

Click here to see a complete list of events.

Students can also book one-on-one sessions with career advisors through the MyNAIT portal here.

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