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Career Event

2017 April 16
by alanamg

I attended the University of Michigan’s Career Center “Are You LinkedIn?” workshop earlier this month. I actually really enjoyed this career event, since LinkedIn is something that I knew very little about prior to attending the event. I knew what LinkedIn was and had an account, but I only made it because my internship last summer required I have one, and I never used it. In fact, I honestly did not know how to use it.

This workshop was helpful, since it explained the basics of how to set up a LinkedIn account. The speakers discussed how to choose the right profile picture and what details should be included on your page in order to build a strong and competitive profile. As a beginner and someone new to the world of LinkedIn, I found this workshop very beneficial. It seemed to be aimed at beginner users, like me, and helped me understand what people use LinkedIn for. I originally thought it was just a digital version of a resume, but found that this initial belief was wrong. In fact, a LinkedIn has so much more space for specifics than a resume does.

LinkedIn prompts users to include education and work experience, like resumes, however, it also asks users to upload a photo, job summaries, and skills. You can also “like” pages like on Facebook to add Interests, so whoever is looking at your LinkedIn has a better, more well-rounded sense of who you are as a person. You are asked for more information on a LinkedIn profile than you are on a resume, and the wording and details should be varied. After this event, I came to understand LinkedIn as a more in-depth and specific version of a resume. A resume is more of a list of things you have done, while a LinkedIn is a full academic and skill-set profile.

However, the fact that more information is included on LinkedIn means you have to be more careful and meticulous when crafting your profile. Something that really surprised me was that you are supposed to have a professional headshot for LinkedIn. I really wish I knew this earlier, since my current photo is the same as my Facebook picture: a cheesy yet high-quality photograph of me smiling on my 18th birthday. Though there is nothing wrong with this photograph, there is also nothing serious about it—it’s just a normal photo, not a professional headshot. Moreover, I suppose I look slightly different now, at age 19, and should get a more recent photo to take.

There were photographers in attendance to help with students’ headshots. I wish I knew this in advance. Sadly I did not, so I showed up in rather casual attire with no makeup. I was not dressed for a professional headshot, so I did not take one. However, I do wish I had known beforehand.

I definitely have a better understanding of LinkedIn and what it is used for after attending this event. Despite this, I still do not understand why my internship required me to make an account. Why do careers require you to have a LinkedIn profile? I understand that it could only help, but I am confident with my resume and the way it represents me. I still don’t see why I need a LinkedIn as well. I also don’t fully understand LinkedIn “Connections.” The event did discuss that it’s a great idea to connect with people you know in similar fields and people you have worked for or with. However, I wish that the event discussed this aspect more, or that I had thought to ask someone about it while I was there. Currently, as I sit looking at LinkedIn’s website, I see 12 connection requests from individuals I do not know. I wonder if people finding and adding you on LinkedIn is as creepy as people you do not know finding and adding you on Facebook. Another question I have is how much your “Interests” matter. Is it better to have more interests, or to have a few focused around the kind of jobs you are applying for? I think I will definitely try to work on my LinkedIn profile this summer, and meet with someone in the Career Center next year to look it over and answer these questions for me.

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